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
80,258 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:

IDG UK Sites

Acer Aspire R11 review: Hands-on with the 360 laptop and tablet convertible

IDG UK Sites

Apple Watch release day: Twitter reacts

IDG UK Sites

See how Framestore created a shape-shifting, oil and metal based creature for Shell

IDG UK Sites

Apple Watch buying guide, price list & where to buy today: Which Apple Watch model, size, material,?......