In the middle of March this year, Microsoft effectively killed the Rustock botnet. But the company is not content with that, and wants to dig deeper into how it came about.
To that end, the company is putting up a $250,000 prize to anyone who can bring it fresh information. The company, in typical corporate speak, claims that the bounty “stems from Microsoft’s recognition that the Rustock botnet is responsible for a number of criminal activities and serves to underscore our commitment to tracking down those behind it.”
While the botnet itself has been taken down, there are still hundreds of thousands of infected machines around the world.
Rustock, when it was operational, sent some 30 billion spam messages a day, and was, according to Microsoft, “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.” Yes, Pfizer is the company behind Viagra, but we assume that you already guessed that.
What you might not know is that Microsoft has a ‘Digital Crimes Unit.’ While in practice its job is likely mundane, it’s hard to not to conjure up a mental image akin to the war rooms in the Bourne Identity.
The take away from this story is that Microsoft is managing to make measurable progress against the biggest spam networks and infection threats. What would be interesting to know is the operating system break down of the remaining Rustock infections; are the newer versions of Windows more resilient?
Whatever the case, if you have Rustock information, go try to grab a quarter million dollars by sending an email to email@example.com.