‘Wanted — Alive: The guy(s) behind the Conflicker worm.’


Microsoft (MS) has made a rare move, publicly offering a bounty of (US$250,000 for information leading to the apprehension of those responsible for the Conflicker worm, which has infected an estimated 12 million computers worldwide since it started circulating last October.

Unlike some viruses and other bugs MS and security researchers come upo against, MS considers Conflicker a criminal bug and considers its masters outlaws.

“People who write this malware have to be held accountable,” George Stathakopulos of Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing Group told the BBC. “Our message is very clear: Whoever wrote this [virus] caused significant pain to our customers and we are sending a message that we will do everything we can to help with your arrest.”

Conflicker can be spread via the Internet or by infected USB devices. Once in a Windows computer, researchers say it hides itself very effectively and is hard to remove.

Infected machines can then be configured to steal personal information from users or recruited as ‘zombie’ machines in worldwide criminal spam networks

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