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October 09, 2003

Virus Rewards

Those of you who write blogs (as well as read them) would be aware that sometimes ideas just don't make it out the door. In this case I saw a news item about the Microslosh reward being posted for catching those responsible for the recent virus attacks. I immediately thought to myself: "Cool, turn in Billy Boy and make some money". I even chatted at work about it. Then I sat down to write and got distracted by NetNewsWire (bad NetNewsWire!) and found that someone had beaten me to the punch (and done it far more professionally than I could):

See, as faithful viewer Jason Nieckar pointed out, CNET reports that Microsoft has launched the Anti-Virus Reward Program by tossing a $5 million fund at international law enforcement agencies and posting a $250,000 bounty for information leading to the arrest, conviction, and subsequent execution of the rapscallions who unleashed the Blaster and SoBig viruses that ran roughshod over Windows networks earlier this year. (Need some walking-around money? Consider the exciting and rewarding life of a Cyber-Criminal Bounty Hunter! You get to pretend to be Boba Fett and make money while doing it!)
A quarter of a million dollars for fingering the SoBig and Blaster perps? Considering that experts estimate the damages from each of those viruses to be in the billions of dollars, does anyone else feel that Microsoft is, well, cheaping out? $250,000 is probably roughly what the company spends on Twizzlers for the candy dishes in the break rooms every month. Even that $5 million total that Microsoft is turning over to law enforcement to fund the crackdown on virus writers probably doesn't even come close to the company's budget for routine weekly soul removal treatments for its staff.
But there's another reason why Microsoft's reward program is unseemly: arguably the most important ingredient in any of the big viruses is the Microsoft security hole it exploits to get down and funky in the first place-- and Microsoft's responsibility for Blaster is even more apparent, since that particular worm only existed to illustrate and protest the very Swiss cheese security that made its spread possible. (Blaster's code contains this message: "Billy Gates why do you make this possible? Stop making money and fix your software.") So, as faithful viewer Ryan Hoysuggests, does that mean we can turn in Microsoft's own programmers and score up to half a mil? Ka-ching!!

You can check the whole story here (scroll down to the third story).

Posted by Peskie at October 9, 2003 12:00 PM


Cyber-Criminal Bounty Hunters
As the Apple Turns writes in a recent post, Smile for the Cameras, about the Microsoft Anti-Virus Reward Program. A snippet: "... and Microsoft's responsibility for Blaster is even more apparent, since that particular worm only existed to illustrate...

Posted by: Dusting My Brain at November 7, 2003 01:11 PM