This announcement is notable in that Microsoft’s active contribution was key to the arrests. This is a good thing. Doubtless (and predictably) Microsoft will be criticised for taking so long to become proactive. Delayed or not, this does not by any means take away from the significance of this announcement. Microsoft has the resources, skill, and interest in assuring the security of Windows products and protecting Windows customers. This is the first public mention I have seen of Microsoft playing a primary role in this sort of investigation.

Zoteb worm writers arrested Brad Smith, senior vice president and general counsel at Microsoft, said the company’s ongoing partnerships with global law-enforcement authorities help ensure that when malicious code such as Zotob and Mytob is released, that information is shared rapidly to help law enforcement identify and hold cybercriminals accountable for their actions and help protect customers.

“We congratulate the Turkish and Moroccan authorities and the FBI for finding and apprehending the alleged authors and distributors of the Zotob and Mytob worms so quickly,” Mr Smith said.

“This arrest demonstrates the value of public-private collaboration — the first-class investigative work by the authorities and round-the-clock technical and investigative support provided by our Internet Crime Investigations Team here at Microsoft. The results show clearly that cybercriminals will be identified, apprehended and held accountable for their actions.”

Microsoft’s Internet Crime Investigations Team supported the investigation with law enforcement immediately following the release of the two worms, the company said, by providing technical information and analytical support to the FBI, which was then shared with Moroccan and Turkish authorities.

Credit is due to Microsoft for doing the right thing - and at least in this case - doing it effectively. Hopefully this is the first of many such announcements - one for every such threat launched against Windows.