$5m-fists up against viruses
Date: November 06, 2003
Washington - In an attempt to stamp out cybercrimes Microsoft launched a reward fund with US$5m.
Rewards will go to those who help track down creators of viruses and other types of malicious activity on the Internet.
For starters the software giant is offering $250 000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the authors of the MSBlast.A worm, designed to attack Microsoft's windowsupdate.com website.
It is offering another $250 000 for information on the author of the Sobig virus, which attacked individual machines running Microsoft operating systems.
The rewards are being offered worldwide, in an acknowledgement of the global nature of cybercrimes, the company said.
The announcement was made in Washington by Microsoft representatives, flanked by agents of the cybercrime divisions of the Federal Bureau of Investigations, Secret Service and Interpol.
"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."
Peter Nevitt, Interpol's director of information, systems, acknowledged it may be difficult to track and arrest some hackers or virus creators in countries where there may be no laws on computer crimes and few extradition treaties.
But Nevitt said the agency is encouraging countries to use conventional laws such as those covering criminal damage to property to prosecute hackers and virus creators.
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