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Kelihos botnet suspect 'surprised and shocked' at Microsoft accusations

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Andrey Sabelnikov says he is "surprised and shocked" at accusations from Microsoft that he operated the Kelihos botnet.

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Microsoft named former antivirus worker Andrey Sabelnikov as a suspect in its Kelihos botnet case earlier this week, leaving him surprised at the decision. Sabelnikov, a 31-year-old Russian, insisted in a blog post today that he is "absolutely not guilty," and plans to prove his innocence in court after being "surprised and shocked" at the accusation. Microsoft presented evidence on Monday, in an amended complaint with a US District Court, that Sabelnikov "wrote the code for and either created, or participated in creating, the Kelihos malware."

Kelihos, a network of compromised machines, used to send over 3.8 million spam emails a day at its peak, and Microsoft alleges that Sabelnikov used malware to control and operate the botnet, tricking random web users into joining the network unwittingly. Sabelnikov is said to have worked at Russian antivirus firm Agnitum between 2005 and 2008, making this an unusual case. "We look forward to seeing Mr Sabelnikov in court so we can continue this discussion," said Richard Boscovich, Microsoft's senior attorney for the company's digital crime unit, suggesting that the company is confident it has the right man.

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