∞ Microsoft claims credit for disabling huge spam network

Microsoft claims it has helped disable a “botnet” network purportedly responsible for sending billions of spam e-mails daily – at its peak, nearly half the spam afflicting computers worldwide. Microsoft worked with law enforcement officials to disable the computers responsible for controlling the network.

[ad#Google Adsense 300×250 in story]The network, known as Rustock, is known for distributing “fake Microsoft lottery scams and offers for fake – and potentially dangerous – prescription drugs,” according to Richard Boscovich, senior attorney with Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit (DCU).

Microsoft also worked with Pfizer, the pharmaceutical company, network security provider FireEye and University of Washington security experts to identify to the courts how exactly the Rustock spam presented a public danger. According to court documents submitted by Pfizer, for example, Rustock spam offered unapproved knockoff drugs based on Pfizer products.

Rustock malware infects Windows-based PCs and turns them into bots – systems able to be remote-controlled by “bot-herder” computers. Bot-herders then use the remote systems to send large volumes of spam e-mail to unsuspecting recipients.

Individual PCs infected with Rustock malware remain untreated, but Microsoft’s actions have rendered those machines inoperative … at least for the moment.

  • Gustav

    Ha ha – funny how Microsoft claims credit for stopping the spam network, but it’s flaws in the design of Windows that led to it in the first place.

    • You beat me to the punch.

      I’d like to thank Microsoft for having sold so many millions of consumer PCs running an operating system that, by default, gave malware writers the perfect opportunity to create an entire industry.

      And then, years later, for admitting defeat by recommending nuke & pave over any solutions that wouldn’t require users to reinstall everything. Brilliant and innovative: make remediation someone else’s problem.

  • Joe

    The spammers use credit card companies like Visa and MasterCard. Why are the CC companies not implicated as accessories to these crimes? If the credit card avenue was cut off, the spammers couldn’t make money!

  • Peter Cohen

    Yes, Microsoft done effed up. I don’t disagree with a single fact presented here, but I think there’s an almost poignant undertone of redemption to this story.

    • I’d agree with you if I thought the management night-blindness that led to the release of XP was now cured. I don’t see evidence of more than token remediation for high-profile clients here.