Microsoft Posts $250K Bounty on Rustock Botnet Operators, Where's Wyatt Earp?

It's like the wild west all over again, only this time we have the Internet, modern technology, and plumbing. Oh, and Microsoft isn't asking anyone to bring back a head on a platter.

The Redmond sheriff is simply asking for "new information that results in the identification, arrest, and conviction" of those responsible for propagating the Rustock botnet. The reward for assisting Microsoft with its hat trick is a cool quarter of a million dollars.

That's a lot of coin. The offer "stems from Microsoft's recognition that the Rustock botnet is responsible for a number of criminal activities and serves to underscore our commitment to tracking down those behind it," the software giant said in a blog post.

Microsoft says that it doesn't want to stop at simply putting Rustock out of commission, it wants to hold the bot-herders accountable.

"Microsoft has already been gathering strong evidence in our ongoing investigation and this reward aims to take that effort a step further," the company said. "We will continue to follow this case wherever it leads us and remain committed to working with our partners around the world to help people regain control of their Rustock-infected computers."

According to Microsoft, the Rustock botnet at one point was sending out 30 billion spam emails every day. It was also responsible for a number of other crimes, including advertising counterfeit pharmaceuticals and trademark violations.