A virtual posse is forming to go after the author of a recent worm:
Beset by malicious worms after failing to convince enough server administrators to take its out-of-band Security Bulletin, MS08-067, seriously, Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) is taking computer security to the streets: It has formed a cybersecurity posse to dismantle the Conficker/Downadup worm’s infrastructure and has offered a $250,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the outbreak.
Microsoft warned last October that a vulnerability in its Server service could be exploited by a worm. Cybercriminals heard that warning and made the threat real, infecting as many as 9 million computers by mid-January. At that time, Qualys CTO Wolfgang Kandek estimated that between 25% and 30% of vulnerable systems remained unpatched.
So it is that on Thursday, Microsoft announced a partnership with technology companies, academic organizations, and Internet infrastructure companies to fight the worm in the wild. Its partners in this worm hunt include ICANN, Neustar, VeriSign, CNNIC, Afilias, Public Internet Registry, Global Domains International, M1D Global, AOL, Symantec, F-Secure, ISC, researchers from Georgia Tech, Shadowserver Foundation, Arbor Networks, and Support Intelligence.
Together, the coalition is working to seize Internet domains associated with the worm.
It will be interesting to see what comes out of this effort. If this effort is successful it could become a new model for the big vendors to become more proactive in battling malware authors.