Microsoft puts a bounty on Rustock makers' heads

Adopting a self-appointed role as policeman of the Interweb, Microsoft has placed a bounty on the heads of the makers of the Rustock botnet.

The software outfit said it worked with partners to take the botnet offline back in March, but that's obviously not enough and so a Microsoftie blogged that the firm wants to take its "pursuit a step further".

"We decided to augment our 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)," wrote Richard Boscovich, senior attorney at Microsoft's Digital Crimes Unit.

Microsoft said 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," Boscovich wrote.

Microsoft reckons the "bot-herders" are based in Russia and has placed notices in Russian newspapers aimed to informing those responsible that it wants to sue them. The firm reckons the botnet was capable of sending some 30 billion spam mails per day.

It said that although its March take-down has halved the size of the botnet, "there are still hundreds of thousands of infected computers around the world yet to be cleaned of the botnet malware."

To be in with a shout of bagging the quarter of a million dollars, email avreward(at)microsoft.com and spill the beans.