Sunday, April 11, 2010

Microsoft v. Waledac

This is a site that all lawyers working in the area of computer security should be aware of and visit. It's a page which contains all the pleadings from Microsoft's current case against John Does 1-27 (aka the "Waledac" botnet). This page is important for two reasons. First, Microsoft's efforts against the botnet are on the cutting edge of legal efforts to shut down hacking operations, and so should be seen as examples of legal theories that can be used in that area. Second, it has some interesting (and probably useful) examples of rhetoric and explanations which can be used to sway a (presumably) technologically unsavvy judge to your side. For example, on pages 3-9 of the PDF of Microsoft's motion for a temporary restraining order against the botnet, there is a non-technical tutorial on what a botnet is, and how issuing the TRO would shut it down, complete with pictures. Similarly, in making the arguments in support of the TRO, Microsoft repeatedly seeks to establish the harm the botnet is causing by explaining how it harms Microsoft's customers. E.g.:
Once customers' computers are infected and become part of the botnet, they are unaware of that fact and may not have the technical resources to solve the problem, allowing their computers to be misused indefinitely. Thus, extrajudicial, technical attempts to remedy the problem alone are insufficient and the injury caused to customers continues.

While this might not be the most relevant argument legally (after all, one is generally not allowed to bring suit based on injuries to third parties) from an emotional standpoint, it almost certainly made the judge more likely to grant Microsoft's requested relief.*

In any case, there's too much there to succinctly summarize here. Further, there's no reason to want to read a summary. The information is valuable enough to be worth the time to read in the original.

*Yes, I am aware that harm to third parties can be used to establish that issuing an injunction is in the public interest. However, Microsoft invoked its customers' interests essentially everywhere, not only when arguing that the public interest would be served by granting a TRO.

1 comment:

e signature said...

Thanks for sharing such a informative blog with a detailed analysis on microsof vs waledac.I was also searching for non-technical tutorial on what a botnet is, and how issuing the TRO would shut it down, complete with pictures which I got in PDF link that you gave.