The software purveyor behind AntiVirus XP, a fake anti-virus package, has been sued and will hopefully be put out of business. There has been plenty of information available on this organization for some time, yet unsuspecting consumers continue to hand over their own money for what amounts to malware. Alex Eckelberry at Sunbelt Software has been tracking the fake software epidemic for some time, documenting some of the unmitigated gall these badware purveyors have displayed. They have even gone so far as to take out Google AdWords to push their malware. A solid breakdown of the legal events is available here.
The important thing to take away is that evaluating the quality of security products is incredibly difficult. Even independent agencies find it challenging to determine the relative effectiveness of different anti-virus products. The sad fact is that the only individuals who stand a chance of acquiring security software based upon merit alone are those of us who are in the security industry. The remainder are forced to rely upon word of mouth and marketing, and that leaves an inherent gap for badware vendors.
For those of you who have either bought AntiVirus XP or know someone who has, I recommend you remove it immediate and install a real anti-virus package from any number of reputable firms, such as Norton (Symantec), McAfee, AVG, Kaspersky, Sunbelt, Panda, and the like. If you are unsure regarding whether or not your software is classified as badware, you should consult groups such as the Berkman Center's Stop Badware initiative.