Microsoft announced the creation of the Anti-Virus Reward Program, initially funded with US$5 million, to help law enforcement agencies identify and bring to justice those who illegally release damaging worms, viruses and other types of malicious code on the Internet. Microsoft will provide the 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.
As part of the Reward Program, Microsoft announced the first reward in the amount of a US$250,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for unleashing the 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 this summer remain at large. 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 offered a second quarter-million-dollar reward for information that results in the arrest and conviction of those responsible for unleashing the Sobig virus. This virus, the first variant of which was detected 10th January 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.
"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."
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:
- #urlhttp://www.interpol.int' target='_blank'>International/Interpol: via the Interpol National Central Bureau in any of Interpol's 181 member countries
- FBI or Secret Service: via any local field office -- The Internet Fraud Complaint Center