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Microsoft offering $250k for info about Rustock Botnet

Posted by on 19/07/2011

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Looking to make some serious cash? Maybe you could put that knowledge you have about the Rustock botnet to use.

Microsoft is continuing the fight against cyber spam, this time going after the infamous Rustock botnet which is responsible for about 30+ billion daily spam emails. While they’ve already taken down half of the botnet, the other half still dumps too many emails to consider acceptable. While they are working with the courts and various ISPs, they are also shelling out some cold, hard cash to hopefully get faster leads on the situation, and maybe about the masterminds of the network.

Today, we take our pursuit a step further. After publishing notices in two Russian newspapers last month to notify the Rustock operators of the civil lawsuit, we decided to augment our civil discovery efforts to identify those responsible for controlling the notorious Rustock botnet by issuing a monetary reward in the amount of $250,000 for new information that results in the identification, arrest and criminal conviction of such individual(s).

This reward offer stems from Microsoft’s recognition that the Rustock botnet is responsible for a number of criminal activities and serves to underscore our commitment to tracking down those behind it. While the primary goal for our legal and technical operation has been to stop and disrupt the threat that Rustock has posed for everyone affected by it, we also believe the Rustock bot-herders should be held accountable for their actions.

Email spam has been on the rise lately, because it’s so easy to control a farm of zombie computers, making it somewhat difficult to track the original source. While most hackers used DDoS tactics, they are short-lived and easily traceable. Email spamming is much easier, considering how easy it is to sign up for Hotmail, Yahoo and Gmail accounts. Since most sites whitelist those providers, it is hard sometimes to classify the good from the bad. A lot of the times, the good emails get filtered out because of the generally higher level of heuristics.

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