Microsoft has announced a reward of worth $250,000 for any information resulting into the arrest and conviction of those who authored the infamous ‘Conficker’ worm that has infected several millions of Windows PCs around the world over the past couple of months.
In a news release on Thursday, Microsoft said that it has joined hands with a number of prominent organizations and companies across the industry to check the spread of the worm, which infects machines running different versions of Windows operating systems, primarily those that haven’t been patched with the emergency update released by Microsoft in October last year.
The reward is the most common recognition of the damage caused by the ‘Conficker’ worm, some antivirus firms also referred to it as ‘Downadup’, which enters into users’ PCs largely via a security hole in Windows operating systems.
First noted in November over the web, the worm affects the Windows security capabilities and makes the victim’s machine a part of “botnet” of other infected machines that can be controlled remotely through different servers on the web.
Citing the importance of the reward scheme, George Stathakopoulos, general manager for Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing Group, said in a statement, “As part of Microsoft's ongoing security efforts, we constantly look for ways to use a diverse set of tools and develop methodologies to protect our customers”.
According to Symantec Corp., the maker of the popular Norton antivirus, as many as 2.2 million IP addresses have been infected by two variants of the worm so far.
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$250,000 is a small price to pay for getting the author of Conficker. The malware has caused considerable damage but it is likely that criminal gangs will offer more to the author(s) of the worm to come up with an even more lethal version of Conficker.
(The Washington Post)