Microsoft has announced today that it has dismissed its own lawsuit against a man and his company who Microsoft originally suspected of helping to run the Kelihos botnet. Microsoft announced in September that it had helped to take down that particular botnet which was used for "sending out billions of spam messages, harvesting users’ personal information (such as e-mails and passwords), fraudulent stock scams and, in some instances, websites promoting the sexual exploitation of children."
At the time, Microsoft filed a lawsuit against Dominique Alexander Piatti and his dotFREE Group SRO. It was the first time Microsoft had decided to take legal action against suspected botnet organizers. However, today Microsoft said, "Since the Kelihos takedown, we have been in talks with Mr. Piatti and dotFREE Group s.r.o. and, after reviewing the evidence voluntarily provided by Mr. Piatti, we believe that neither he nor his business were involved in controlling the subdomains used to host the Kelihos botnet. Rather, the controllers of the Kelihos botnet leveraged the subdomain services offered by Mr. Piatti’s cz.cc domain."
Microsoft has entered into a settlement with Piatti and as part of the deal Microsoft said that Piatti "agreed to delete or transfer all the subdomains used to either operate the Kelihos botnet, or used for other illegitimate purposes, to Microsoft." Microsoft still has a lawsuit against "John Does 1-22", the unnamed and currently unidentified people who Microsoft believes were the real operators of the Kelihos botnet.
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