We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
80,259 News Articles

Half a million dollars up for grabs

Microsoft sets reward to capture virus writer

Microsoft has taken the unprecedented step of offering a $500,000 reward for information relating to the capture of two virus writers.

The authors of the SoBig and MSBlast viruses, which caused havoc to businesses' and individuals' computers running on the software company's Windows operating system during August and September of this year have never been found. Instead only a handful of virus writers who produced variants of MSBlast have been charged.

Collaborating with the FBI, US secret service officials and international crime force Interpol, Microsoft pledged a $250,000 reward per virus writer. It is the first time the company has ever put up money for virus authors.

"These are not just internet crimes these are real crimes that hurt a lot of people," said Brad Smith, Microsoft's general counsel, in a press statement.

MSBlast, also known as the LovSan worm, spread via email. Once installed the virus searched for other vulnerable machines to infect, causing heavy traffic problems across hundreds of networks. No individual culprit or group has ever been found.

The more traditional SoBig virus was immediately blamed on a group, although the organisation responsible has never been found. Transferred via email, the virus hunted for contact details in address books and sent itself on to the ones it found.

Microsoft hopes the reward will spark a media fury and encourage anyone with information to step forward.

Related links:
Microsoft


IDG UK Sites

Windows 9 release date, price, features: Videos leak as Microsoft sets 30 September unveiling

IDG UK Sites

Why local multiplayer gaming is rapidly vanishing: we look at the demise of split-screen and LAN...

IDG UK Sites

IBC 2014 news: video post, CG and VFX news from Adobe, Blackmagic, Eyeon and more

IDG UK Sites

Retina MacBook Air release date rumours and specs: Gold 12in Retina MacBook Air almost 1cm thinner...