Microsoft Offers 250K Reward For Virus Author

February 16th, 2009 at 12:00 am


Microsoft is offering a cool US$250,000 reward for the any information on the identity of the creator of a virus that has compromised millions of PC’s running on the Windows operating system. The virus known as Conficker or Downandup has the ability to hijack infected PC’s through a vulnerability in the Windows Server service of the said operating system.

Although the virus has not yet done evident harm to computers that are infected by it, it certainly is considered as one of the most widespread infections in recent years. Consider this, from the time the virus surfaced on October of last year, reports as of January state that it has already infected from 9 to 15 million computers worldwide.

The Conficker virus infects a PC and then spreads itself mostly through corporate networks. Once infected, the virus can disable a number of system services including the Windows Security Center, Windows Automatic Update, Windows Error Reporting and Windows Defender. The real threat however is that the virus has the ability to reconnect back to its point of origin where it can receive further orders to inflict other forms of damage.

Microsoft has since issued a patch available for download to fix the bug exploited by the said virus. But a large network of computers may not always be totally free from the risk of reinfection since a single infection of a PC in the network can infect all the other PC’s in the network.

Before any considerable damage can be done, Microsoft has teamed up with other organizations in the technology industry in order battle this recent worldwide infection. That is why the software giant has offered the $250K reward for any knowledge and information concerning the virus author and his or her whereabouts.

This is not actually the first time that Microsoft has offered a reward for information about computer worm creators and their subsequent arrest. It has also previously offered a similar reward for information leading to the identity of the person behind the Sasser worm which eventually led to the worm author’s arrest and sentencing.