Wanted: Virus Writers Responsible For SoBig.f, Blaster - US$250,000 Each

Remember the 60s TV show Wanted: Dead or Alive? Steve McQueen played a bounty hunter whose weekly, serialized task was to track down the bad guys with a very cool sawed-off rifle he carried in a holster at his side. That was 1958, and times have changed. Todayis bounty hunter has a new face, and itis a bit geekier. Bill Gates-geeky, in fact.

CNN is reporting that Microsoft has established a new reward program to be used to help track down the bad guys. In this case, the bad guys are the miscreants who create those troubling Windows viruses that plague Windows users, corporations, Microsoft, and even Mac and Linux users that get caught in the crossfire of bogged-down Windows networks. Big Redmond has put up US$5 million of its US$51 billion cash horde to establish the program, and the first two bounties have been established for the creators of SoBig.f and the MSBlaster worms. Those responsible now have a quarter of a million dollars on their head. From CNN:

But will a bounty actually work? Some tech observers were skeptical.

"This could totally backfire," said Richard Williams, strategist for Summit Analytic Partners, a research firm that focuses on software. "Virus writers are very much driven by the same motivation that makes people climb mountains. To put a bounty on their heads will just increase their notoriety and increase their ego."

Still, others thought that the lure of riches could spur more hackers to give out information to law enforcers about those responsible for the most nefarious worms and viruses.

"This could increase the likelihood that virus writers will get caught," said Joe Wilcox, an analyst with Jupiter Research. "The Web is like the Wild Wild West. Back then they had iWantedi posters and rewards. In a way, this is kind of like that. The virus writers are the gunslingers of the modern age."

Thereis more information in the full article at CNNis Money site.