Antiviral ‘Scareware’ Just One More Russian Criminal Intruder
John Markoff writes in The New York Times:
How much money can criminals make scaring naïve computer users? Try $5 million a year.More here.
That is how much a marketing associate of one Russian operation appears to be earning from its sales of fake antivirus software through an elaborate scheme that relies on e-mail spam and indirectly controlling thousands of unprotected PCs, according to internal company files posted online by a Russian hacker.
The company is Bakasoftware, a clandestine effort based somewhere in Russia that markets what it claims is an antivirus program strictly to English-speaking computer users.
The program, whose name has recently been updated from Antivirus XP 2008 to Antivirus XP 2009, lodges itself on a victim’s computer and then begins generating a series of pop-up messages warning that the user’s computer is infected. If the user responds to the warnings, he is urged to buy a $49.95 program for disinfecting the machine.
Although tens of millions of Windows PC users have seen these irritating programs that purport to warn against malware infections, there are few details about the operators who develop and distribute the software, known as scareware.