Microsoft offering US$250,000 reward for botnet information

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) has offered a US$250,000 worldwide reward for new information on the operators of botnet Rustock, the company said in a statement.

The Russian botnet network had been sending spam to users all over the world, including countries like Brazil, until it was shut down earlier this year.

"Microsoft Corporation is offering a US$250,000 reward for any new information that results in the identification, arrest and criminal conviction of whoever is responsible for the control of the Rustock botnet," the statement said.

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Richard Boscovich, senior attorney of Microsoft's digital crimes unit, said in his blog that after publishing notices in two Russian newspapers last month to notify Rustock's operators of a civil lawsuit, the company has decided to increase efforts to identify those controlling the botnet by issuing a monetary reward.

"We believe the Rustock bot-herders should be held accountable for their actions," Boscovich said.

Rustock was able to send some 30bn spam messages a day, including advertising counterfeit or unapproved versions of pharmaceuticals, and violating the trademarks of the pharmaceutical manufacturer Pfizer and Microsoft.