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Microsoft Offers Reward For Worm Authors

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_____Press Release_____
Microsoft Offers $250,000 Reward for Information Leading to Conviction of MyDoom.B Perpetrators (Jan. 29, 2004)
_____Cyber-Security_____
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By Brian Krebs
washingtonpost.com Staff Writer
Thursday, January 29, 2004; 6:33 PM

Microsoft Corp. today pledged a $250,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the author of a newly emerged e-mail worm that directs infected computers to attack the Microsoft Web site and prevents them from gaining access to anti-virus Web sites.

The Microsoft reward will draw from a $5 million fund that the company established in hopes of luring people to come forward with information that could lead to the arrest and conviction of the authors of viruses, worms and other online threats. Microsoft first announced the program in November in a joint press conference with the FBI, the U.S. Secret Service and Interpol.

FBI officials did not return telephone calls seeking comment on the latest reward offer. An FBI spokesman said yesterday that there is an investigation into the origins of the MyDoom worms.

MyDoom.B is the second version of the MyDoom worm that appeared on the Internet on Monday. The first worm, which came inside an e-mail attachment, spread quickly across the Internet until it was responsible for as many as one in nine e-mail messages sent on Tuesday.

Microsoft spokesman Sean Sundwall said that the company chose to focus its reward on MyDoom.B because it sees it as a more serious threat.

"We decided that Mydoom.B was most egregious not because it attacked Microsoft but because it prevented users from reaching the very Web sites that would protect them from this," he said.

The worm prevents victims from getting on Microsoft's Windows Update page, which hosts the company's latest software fixes and patches, as well as more than 60 other sites that contain anti-virus software. It also blocks Web site advertisements that are provided by Internet ad firm DoubleClick Inc.

MyDoom is expected to attempt a denial-of-service attack against SCO's Web site on Feb. 1. MyDoom.B is supposed to launch the same attack against the Microsoft Web site on Feb. 3.

Earlier this week, The SCO Group offered a $250,000 reward for the authors of the first version of MyDoom, which specifically targeted SCO's Web site. SCO, a Utah-based software developer, claims ownership over portions of the Linux open-source operating system. The company is pursuing legal action against IBM Corp. and other companies, asserting that Linux includes portions of the Unix operating system over which it claims copyright ownership. The open-source community disputes SCO's claims.

Microsoft already has rewards out for the capture of the authors of the destructive "Sobig" and "Blaster" worms, a pair of Internet bugs that surfaced in August and infected hundreds of thousands of computers running versions of the Windows operating system.

Federal law enforcement officials have arrested three individuals thought to be responsible for launching variants of the Blaster worm, but the author of the original and most destructive version of the worm remains at large. There have been no arrests in connection with any of the six Sobig variants released since January 2003.

The Microsoft reward announcement comes a day after the Department of Homeland Security debuted an online network to alert the nation to Internet threats against computer systems.


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