Microsoft has been hunting after large botnet networks, together with security firms such as Kaspersky, for quite some time. Last year, Microsoft was able to disrupt the Kelihos botnet and filed a formal case against at least two miscreants over it. Now, the case has been settled with one of them.
Normally, when a botnet is disrupted and its origins are identified, it is really hard to identity the person or persons behind it. Therefore, it becomes difficult to launch any kind of legal activity against it.
However, in the case of Kelihos, Microsoft was able to identify one defendant in a civil case over the botnet. Later, the company added yet another defendant, namely Andrey N. Sabelnikov. Sabelnikov is a Russian programmer who, it was revealed, wrote the code for the botnet.
Eventually, though, it transpired that Sabelnikov only wrote the code for Kelihos but had no role in operating or running the botnet. This much was reached by a joint statement released by Sabelnikov and Microsoft after both parties reached an amicable settlement.
The statement read, “Microsoft and St. Petersburg software programmer Andrey Sabelnikov have entered into a Settlement Agreement in the matter of Microsoft v. Sabelnikov. During the negotiations, after reviewing the evidence provided by Microsoft and engaging in discussions, the parties have come to an understanding that Mr. Sabelnikov wrote code that was used in the Kelihos botnet code, but the programmer is not the operator of the botnet or involved in its activities. After a review and understanding of all of the details of the case, the parties were able to enter into a confidential settlement agreement in this matter, which resolves the dispute between the parties.”