Russian Fake Antivirus Software Firm Rakes in $5 Million

According to veteran IT security writer John Markoff, Bakasoftware, a Russian operation that `markets' its `anti-virus software' on the Internet, has posted claims it is making around $5 million a year from its Antivirus XP 2008 software - recently renamed Antivirus XP 2009.

Writing in the New York Times, Markoff reports that the fake anti-virus software generates a number of pop-up messages warning users that their computer is infected. If the user clicks on the messages, s/he is asked to register the software for $49.95.

The $5 million a year income claim comes from a hacker called NeoN posting messages on a Russian forum and discovered by Joe Stewart, a computer security researcher with Atlanta's SecureWorks.

The marketing program was revealed, Stewart says, after NeoN broke into one of the computers used by Bakasoftware for accounting purposes.

Interestingly, the fake software is designed to terminate in the event it is loaded on to a PC with the Russian language option selected under Windows.

According to the New York Times, Moscow-based Bakasoftware "did not respond to telephone and e-mail requests for comment."

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