FBI Awards Microsoft for 'Exceptional Service'

The Federal Bureau of Investigation on Monday awarded nine Microsoft employees certificates for "Exceptional Service in the Public Interest," the agency announced. The recognition relates to Microsoft's help in tracking down those responsible for the Mytob/Zotob worm.

The FBI launched an investigation 2005 to discover who was behind the Zotob attacks, which utilized a mass-mail attachment to copy itself into the Windows SYSTEM32 directory. From there, it would launch a process intended to preclude users from accessing certain Web sites, mainly from anti-virus vendors.

Zotob affected over 100 United States companies, the FBI said, most notably hitting CNN while it was on air. At one point, reporters in the network's own Atlanta headquarters were able to capture live images of their systems continually rebooting -- a product of the buggy Zotob code -- without ever leaving the main studio.

Three individuals were arrested for launching the attacks, Farid Essebar and Achraf Bahloul in Morocco and Atilla Ekici in Turkey. 19 year-old Essebar was sentenced to two years in jail earlier this month, with Bahloul receiving a one-year jail sentence. The FBI says charges against Ekici are still pending with Turkish authorities.

"What happened in this case is a textbook example of the cooperation necessary in this new era of globalization to be successful in addressing computer intrusions and other computer-supported criminal operations," said FBI Assistant Director James E. Finch. "In Microsoft, we have an excellent partner and today we acknowledge them in this small way."

Microsoft senior counsel Brad Smith, who was among the nine honored Monday, said, "The result of that collaboration is an excellent example of how the public and private sectors can and should work together to fight cyber crime. Microsoft will continue to support law enforcement worldwide to identify and hold responsible those who engage in cyber crime."

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