Microsoft Offers Bounties for Virus Outlaws
Stung by brutal virus attack after brutal virus attack on its core products, Microsoft is fighting back with a $5 million reward fund for those that turn in virus authors.
Stung by brutal virus attack after brutal virus attack on its core products,
Microsoft is fighting back with a $5 million reward fund for those that turn
in virus authors.
Already half a million dollars is earmarked for the arrest of the authors of
the MSBlaster and Sobig viruses.
Microsoft first hinted of such a fund at last month's Microsoft Worldwide Partner
Conference in New Orleans. An audience member proposed the fund to Microsoft
CEO Steve Ballmer, who liked the idea, and suggested that it was something Microsoft
might very well be working on.
These viruses are a big black eye for Outlook, the world's most popular e-mail
client and a popular haven for viruses, as well as Microsoft applications and
operating systems targeted by a crafty and morally bankrupt array of virus mongers
who hide behind spoofed IP addresses and mail relays. These criminals have been
loathe to turn on their own, an attitude Microsoft plans to change with some
cold, hard cash.
Microsoft hopes that other concerned parties find similar ways to hunt down
virus authors, but the company so far is backing this fund.
At the partner conference, Ballmer stressed that Microsoft would only offer
a reward in conjunction with law enforcement. And indeed, at the press conference
this week Microsoft executives were flanked by FBI and U.S. Secret Service officials.
"It's a partnership approach: we present a reward to draw out information,
and law enforcement agencies then use those leads in their investigations. Persons
with information should go directly to the law enforcement agencies by calling
their local FBI or Secret Service office or the Interpol National Central Bureau
in any of Interpol's 181 member countries or by going to the FBI Internet Fraud
Complaint Center Website," explained Hemanshu Nigam, corporate attorney
in the Digital Integrity Group within Law & Corporate Affairs at Microsoft.
To qualify for the reward, you must provide "information that results
in the arrest and conviction of those responsible for illegally launching malicious
code on the Internet,' Nigam said.
For now, all rewards are for virus authors who target Microsoft products, Nigam
Microsoft will set rewards based on the potential destructive impact of the
virus or worm, and will not offer rewards for all 200 to 300 new viruses found
Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.