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Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

July 18, 2011 at 9:45 AM

Microsoft offers $250K to catch malware ringleaders behind Rustock

Microsoft is offering $250,000 to catch the ringleaders behind malware called Rustock.

The company will give the money to anyone who provides new information that leads to the identification, arrest and conviction of the people behind the Rustock malware known as a botnet. Information should be sent to avreward@microsoft.com.

Botnets implant software on people’s computers. The Rustock operators used the software to spend spam email from the computers, Microsoft said.

Microsoft sued the people behind Rustock in civil court, but has been unable to find them. The company took out ads in Russian newspapers in June to notify the Rustock operators about the lawsuit.

“This reward offer 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,” said Richard Boscovich, senior attorney for Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit.

Here is more information about the reward from Microsoft.

The last time Microsoft offered a reward to catch a malware operator was in 2009.

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