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Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Microsoft Offers $250K Reward for Information on Rustock Botnet

Microsoft on Monday announced that it will offer a $250,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the hackers who controlled the Rustock malware.

Rustock botnet has remained inactive since Microsoft and its partners took it offline on March 16th. However, the company take the pursuit a step further. After publishing notices in two Russian newspapers last month to notify the Rustock operators of the civil lawsuit, Microsoft decided to augment its 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).

Microsoft?s believes that the Rustock botnet is responsible for a number of criminal activities.

"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," said Richard Boscovich, Senior Attorney, Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit.

The legal action Microsoft has taken in civil court has already been successful, helping Microsoft take down the Rustock botnet and disrupt its operations. Rustock was notorious as a spam giant, with a capacity for sending 30 billion spam mails every day. It was responsible for a number of other crimes as well, including advertising counterfeit or unapproved versions of pharmaceuticals, and violating the trademarks of the pharmaceutical manufacturer Pfizer and Microsoft. Additionally, although the Rustock botnet infection base has been cut in half in the short time since the takedown, there are still hundreds of thousands of infected computers around the world yet to be cleaned of the botnet malware.

More information about the reward can be found in this reward document. The total maximum amount eligible for reward is $250,000.00 (USD value). Residents of any country are eligible for the reward pursuant to the laws of that country, because the Rustock botnet affected the Internet community worldwide.

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