Microsoft is giving out $250k reward for the arrest and conviction for the person or persons who wrote the Conficker (Downadup) worm. The Redmond giant is hoping that by using a reward for the arrest of the writer[s], that they may not actually activate the worm payload.
In an article at the Register it also states that:
Conficker has infected 10 million computers, going by recent estimates, so it’s no great surprise to find that Microsoft has reactivated the program. Even if it doesn’t lead to any arrests, the possibility of betrayal will give the authors of the worm pause for thought before they activate the monster botnet their malware has established.
In related news, Microsoft is partnering with security researchers, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), and operators within the domain name system to disable domains used by Conficker. Infected machines are programmed to dial into a constantly varying pre-programmed range of servers every day in order to obtain instructions.
It should be interesting to see if the reward works or not.