Virus writers dismiss bounty fund

Friday, 7 November 2003, 1:11 PM EST

Virus writers wonít be deterred by Microsoftís $5 million bounty fund to help capture and convict them. Thatís according to two virus writers who have said that the fund may cause cyberspace outlaws to be more vigilant, but wonít stop them launching a computer virus or worm.

Applying Wild West-type bounties to modern Internet crimes, Microsoft on Wednesday put two $250,000 rewards on the heads of the individuals responsible for unleashing the Blaster and Sobig worms that wreaked havoc in August. Another $4.5 million was set aside for future bounties.

Microsoft hopes the money will make ill-intended code slingers think twice. "They should think 'uh-oh, there is somebody who knows what I am doing and they have an incentive to turn me in because there is a reward,'" said Hemanshu Nigam, a Microsoft corporate attorney.

However, two virus writers dismissed the bounty fund as a marketing stunt and said it will have no deterrent effect.

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