Microsoft recently announced a $5 million reward fund earmarked for people who help law enforcement officials track down computer virus authors. Currently, the company is offering $250,000 each to anyone with information regarding the authors of the SoBig virus and Blaster worm that reaked havoc earlier this year. Other rewards will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Hopefully, the reward will make a difference. A September 2003 IDC survey of 325 U.S. firms revealed that 82% of respondents have experienced attacks, and over 30% of these firms reported that the attack was detected but not removed immediately. With that kind of infiltration, and with virus writers getting more sophisticated, one can only hope that members of the virus writing community will start to turn on one another to collect the reward. On the other hand, it just might create a more competitive and challenging environment that could feed some authors desire to make harder to detect, and get rid of, viruses.

Technofile writer Anne Stuart outlined a number of steps business owners could take to protect their business systems from viruses back in March, complete with a list of resources you could tap for more information. What steps have you taken to ensure your systems aren't crippled by more viruses?