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Fact check clears Czech in botnet case

Redmond removes dotFREE from defendant list

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Microsoft has announced that it’s dropped dotFREE from its ongoing lawsuit over the Kelihos botnet.

In a blog post dated October 26, senior attorney of Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit Richard Boscovich says neither dotFREE nor its owner, Dominique Alexander Piatti, were involved in Kelihos.

Piatti’s case was unusual, in that his naming in the lawsuit was the first time Microsoft had identified a specific defendant associated with a botnet.

Rather than controlling the subdomains that hosted Kelihos, Microsoft now believes that “the controllers of the Kelihos botnet leveraged the subdomain services offered by Mr. Piatti’s cz.cc domain” – making the cz.cc domain a victim rather than an offender.

Redmond now says its case against 22 “John Doe” defendants – identified by IP address only – will continue, and Piatti has agreed to either delete subdomains used by Kelihos, or to transfer them to Microsoft.

Microsoft is working hard to establish itself as a security hero in the world of botnets, having shut down the Rustock botnet in March, and the Waledac botnet last year.

As part of the settlement with Piatti, Microsoft says it will help dotFREE prevent future abuses of free subdomains and establish a secure TLD. Boscovich also notes that control of the botnet domains will give it insights into the operation of Kelihos. ®

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