Last week, I brought us all up to date on Microsoft's recent seizure of domains hosted by DNS provider, No-IP. If you remember, Microsoft secretly won a legal matter to take control over the domains in an effort to rid the electronic world of specific types of malware that had infected millions of computers over a year's time. No-IP took objection (obviously) to being back-doored by Microsoft and the legal system, suggesting that if someone had just contacted them about the issue, they could have handled it. Arguably, the company had a year or more to take care of it on its own, but nothing happened.
But still, through it all, like you, I was left with one, single burning question: Was it worth it?
In response to this, Microsoft has stated that its effort, despite 1.8 million No-IP customers caught in the crossfire and becoming collateral damage, was able to free around 4.7 million unsuspecting PCs from the clutches of the criminal malware. That's a big number, and in many ways a success. And, there's no question that number would have continued to rise had something not been done.
So, yes, there was more value obtained through the effort than the perceived loss. Once the service was restored and the domains handed back to No-IP, customers came back online and six months from now, the situation will be just a memory.
Microsoft is relatively new to this area (only officially unveiling the focused Digital Crimes Unit (DCU) in February of this year), and just like it's done with every other aspect of the business in the last few years, it has the opportunity to learn from the mistakes here. Processes and procedures will get better, I'm sure.
But, I'm curious. What's your take on the operation? Did Microsoft do the right thing, but take the wrong tact? Are we safer today because of it?
"The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few – or the one." – Mr. Spock, 1982