FBI agent receives first J.D. Falk award

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   Oct 26, 2012

Thomas X. Grasso praised for starting DNSChanger working group.

The first annual J.D. Falk award has been given to FBI agent Thomas X. Grasso for establishing the DNSChanger Working Group. The award ceremony took place at the M3AAWG general meeting in Baltimore.

The annual award was set up last year by M to "recognize people who are committed to a better online world" and is named after J.D. Falk - a well respected researcher who passed away last year. Falk was well known and much loved within the online anti-abuse community and took an active part in many collaborative efforts to fight online abuse, including M3AAWG, CAUCE (of which he was a founding member) and the IETF.

The DNSChanger Working Group was set up to deal with the problem of the DNSChanger malware, which modified computers' DNS settings and made money for the crooks behind the malware through a clickjacking scheme. Following extensive cooperation between law enforcement and industry partners, in November last year the botnet was taken down and six individuals believed to have been running the scheme were arrested.

However, the working group's efforts did not stop there. They ensured legitimate nameservers replaced those used for the click-fraud so that the malware's victims would not lose their Internet connectivity and would receive warnings about their machines being infected.

Virus Bulletin congratulates Thomas X. Grasso both for the success of the working group and for winning this award. The Working Group is an excellent example of how cooperation can lead to great success and we look forward to seeing similar initiatives being recognized by this award.

More at M3AAWG here, with further comments at CAUCE here and at Falk's former employer Return Path here.

Posted on 26 October 2012 by Martijn Grooten

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