Microsoft Appoints Itself Sheriff of the Internet
“Microsoft contends it seized domains to stop distribution of two widely used malware tools”
It was 7 o’clock in the morning when the knocking on Dan Durrer’s front door woke him up. His dog started barking, and Durrer thought he was getting an early morning package. But when he opened the door, he wasn’t greeted by the FedEx man. He was face-to-face with a process server, a messenger from the courts, who handed him a stack of legal documents—three inches thick. Somewhere in that stack—buried in all the legalese—was the news that Microsoft had taken control of his company, but Durrer didn’t have time to read it. Almost immediately, his pager lit up with messages saying the company’s internet services had stopped working.
For the past 15 years, Durrer has worked as the CEO of a small internet service provider called No-IP. Based on Reno, Nevada, the 16-person company offers a special kind of Domain Name System service, or DNS, for consumers and small businesses, letting them reliably connect to computers whose IP addresses happen to change from time to time. It’s used by geeks obsessed with online security, fretful parents monitoring nanny cams in their toddler’s bedrooms, and retailers who want remote access to their cash registers. But it’s also used by criminals as a way of maintaining malicious networks of hacked computers across the internet, even if the cops try to bring them down.