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Virus bounties no longer effective ! - 7/18/2005 10:44:11 PM   

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Paying bounties to track down and prosecute writers of computer worms no longer works, according to security experts at Symantec.

Microsoft has stated, however, that it expects to continue the reward programme that helped to convict Sven Jaschan, the author of Sasser and Netsky.

Symantec believes that the shift is a result of the changing hacking landscape. Worms and viruses are increasingly used for identity theft or to create zombie PCs used to launch distributed denial of service attacks or send spam.

Microsoft recently paid $250,000 to two individuals for information that led to the arrest and conviction of Jaschan. The German teenager wrote the Sasser and Netsky worms that caused billions of dollars worth of damage worldwide.

The reward was considered instrumental in Jaschan's arrest. Microsoft launched the programme in 2003 and Jaschan's was the first case closed as a result of the initiative.

Microsoft offered three additional rewards in November last year for large-scale worms including Sober, and the bounties proved helpful in gathering information, according to Lou Gellos, a spokesman for Microsoft's online safety programme.

"The reward programme has dramatically increased the flow of information to law enforcement agencies," Gellos told

But the number of large-scale worm outbreaks that qualify for a reward is rapidly decreasing. Jaschan's case was considered as child's play that got out of hand, and he was eventually turned in by two friends who decided to cash in on Microsoft's reward.

Today's biggest internet threats do not come from Sasser-like worms, however. The number of so-called 'category 3' internet threats like Sasser is declining, according to data from Symantec.

Full story...

Source : VnuNet
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