Microsoft has announced today that it is offering a reward of $250,000 to anyone who can provide information that can help arrest the creator of the Conficker worm. They stated that this worm is a criminal attack and that citizens from any country can receive the bounty.
Conficker, also known as Downandup, has infected millions of computers around the world since last year. It is difficult to stop because spreads through USB thumb drives or the internet and takes advantage of Windows machines that are missing newer security patches. Once it infects a computer, it can halt automatic updates and security scans, block access to security-related websites and even lock users out of their accounts.
Microsoft has experience with fighting large virus outbreaks like this. Back in 2004, they offered $250,000 for information about the Sasser worm. They later paid out the reward in 2005. They said that this time they are teaming up with security companies, and internet companies like AOL to stop the outbreak. Better late than never, I guess.