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Microsoft announces rewards for those that help catch cyber criminals

6 November, 2003 | Archived Post
Microsoft Teams With Worldwide Law Enforcement To Stop Internet Worm And Virus Distributors With US$5 Million Reward Fund InitiativeSYDNEY, Australia, 6th November, 2003

Abstract:
Microsoft Corp. today announced from the U.S. that they will provide monetary rewards for information resulting in the arrest and conviction of those responsible for launching malicious viruses and worms on the Internet.

Press Release:
Microsoft Corp. today announced from the U.S. that they will provide monetary rewards for information resulting in the arrest and conviction of those responsible for launching malicious viruses and worms on the Internet.

Residents of any country are eligible for the reward, according to the laws of that country, because Internet viruses affect the Internet community worldwide.

The Anti-Virus Reward Program, will be initially funded with $5 million (U.S.), and aims to assist law enforcement agencies identify and bring to justice those who illegally release damaging worms, viruses and other types of malicious code on the Internet.

As part of the Reward Program, Microsoft announced the first reward in the amount of a quarter-million dollars (U.S.) for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for unleashing the recent MSBlast.A worm.

Although two arrests were made in connection with the B and C variants of the MSBlast worm, those responsible for releasing the original worm remain at unknown.  The worm was designed to attack Microsoft's www.windowsupdate.com Web site, which provides fixes for vulnerabilities and helps protect users against malicious attacks.

Microsoft has offered a second quarter-million-dollar reward for information that results in the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the Sobig virus.

This virus, the first variant of which was detected Jan. 10, 2003, attacked individual machines and e-mailed itself to each e-mail address in the computer's contact list. The Sobig.B and Sobig.C variants of the virus made messages appear as if they had come from official Microsoft e-mail addresses. No arrests have been made in connection with the Sobig virus.

Individuals with information about the MSBlast.A worm or the Sobig virus, or any other worms or viruses, should contact the following international law enforcement agencies:

  • International/Interpol: via the Interpol National Central Bureau in any of
  • Interpol's 181 member countries or at :www.interpol.int/
  • The Internet Fraud Complaint Centre at: www.ifccfbi.gov/

"Malicious worms and viruses are criminal attacks on everyone who uses the Internet," said Brad Smith, senior vice president and general counsel at Microsoft. "Even as we work to make software more secure and educate users on how to protect themselves, we are also working to stamp out the criminal behaviour that causes this problem. These are not just Internet crimes, cybercrimes or virtual crimes. These are real crimes that hurt a lot of people. Those who release viruses on the Internet are the saboteurs of cyberspace, and Microsoft wants to help the authorities catch them."

Representatives of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Secret Service and Interpol, joined Microsoft at the National Press Club news conference in the U.S. where the company provided details of the reward program.

"The malicious distribution of worms and viruses, such as MSBlast and Sobig, are far from victimless crimes," said Keith Lourdeau, Acting Deputy Assistant Director of the FBI Cyber Division. "Such attacks on the Internet cost businesses worldwide millions - some estimates claim billions - of dollars and wreak havoc on individuals by ruining files, hard drives and other critical data. We intend to vigorously pursue the perpetrators of these crimes, and we hope to see additional industry-government collaboration to identify these individuals."

"Not only are we concerned with apprehending those individuals who commit computer crimes but also in limiting the damage done by these criminals to private industry and the public," said Bruce Townsend, deputy assistant director of investigations at the Secret Service. "By working together, the public, the private sector and law enforcement can combine their resources to effectively combat computer-based crimes like the MSBlast.A worm and Sobig virus."

"Interpol is particularly interested in fighting the malicious spreading of viruses because this represents truly borderless crime that requires a truly global response, a global collaboration between police and private industry," said Interpol Secretary General Ronald K. Noble, at the organisation's headquarters in Lyon. "This Microsoft reward program is an opportunity to continue building effective relationships between the world's police and the private sector in order to prevent and prosecute cybercrime."

Microsoft has made security a top priority and is committed to developing the most secure software possible and making it easier for customers to protect themselves against attacks launched by malicious law breakers. Over the past year, the company delayed several product development projects to provide intensive training for more than 18,000 developers on how to write more secure code. The company has taken numerous steps to alert users to possible vulnerabilities and steps they can take to protect themselves, including the recent "Protect Your PC" campaign. This information is available at http://www.microsoft.com/protect/. While working hard to improve the security of its software, Microsoft also cooperates with international, federal and state law enforcement to help bring the perpetrators of these attacks to justice.

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Microsoft is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries. 

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

For more information, press only:

Microsoft (U.S.): Rapid Response Team, Waggener Edstrom, (503) 443-7070, rrt@wagged.com
Microsoft (Europe): Shaun Wootton, Waggener Edstrom, 44 (0) 2072694770
Microsoft (Hong Kong): Bridget Yau, 011-852-2804-4220, bridgety@microsoft.com
Microsoft (Asia regional): Charlene Chian, +6564335672, cchian@microsoft.com
Microsoft (Australia): Samantha Herron, 02 9870 2316 or 0412 589 951
Interpol: press@interpol.int or http://www.interpol.int/
Federal Bureau of Investigation: Office of Public Affairs, Paul Bresson, (202) 324-3691
Secret Service: Office of Government and Public Affairs, (202) 406-5708

Samantha Herron
Corporate Communications Manager
Microsoft Australia
02 9870 2316
sherron@microsoft.com

Amanda Millar or Peter Sertori
Howorth Communications
02 9904 2618
howorth@howorth.com.au

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