Friday, 26 February 2010

BBC News - Microsoft's foiling of botnet gets mixed response

Security experts are split over the effectiveness of Microsoft's efforts to shut down a network of PCs that could send 1.5 billion spam messages a day.

The firm persuaded a US judge to issue a court order to cripple 277 internet domains used by the Waledac botnet.

Botnets are usually armies of hijacked Windows PCs that send spam or malware.

"We aim to be more proactive in going after botnets to help protect the internet," said Richard Boscovich, the head of Microsoft's digital crime unit.

"We will do whatever it takes to look out for our customers and our brand. We hope it will spur similar actions," Mr Boscovich told the BBC.

Many saw Waledac as a devastatingly active botnet. Microsoft cited one 18-day period in December when the botnet sent more than 650 million spam e-mails to Hotmail accounts for everything from online pharmacies to fake designer goods, jobs and more.

"This was a worldwide problem and we scored a big, big victory," said Mr Boscovich.

Despite Microsoft's bullishness, some security industry figures were sceptical saying Waledac did not make a big contribution to global spam levels. Others were more impressed with the shutdown.

"Microsoft has taken a bold move in addressing this problem and it will be interesting to see how it develops," said Sandra Toms LaPedis, general manager of the RSA Conference, the world's biggest gathering of security professionals.

BBC News - Microsoft's foiling of botnet gets mixed response
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