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By JOHN MARKOFF
The New York Times
October 29, 2008
SAN FRANCISCO =E2=80=94 How much money can criminals make scaring na=C3=AFve computer
users? Try $5 million a year.
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=E2=80=99s computer and then
begins generating a series of pop-up messages warning that the user=E2=80=99s
computer is infected. If the user responds to the warnings, he is urged
to buy a $49.95 program for disinfecting the machine.
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