Software piracy costs billions in time, money for consumers and businesses
- Lebanon: Thursday, March 07 - 2013 at 11:59
- PRESS RELEASE
Although some computer users may actively seek pirated software in hopes of saving money, the chances of infection by unexpected malware are one in three for consumers and three in 10 for businesses, according to a new study commissioned by Microsoft Corp. and conducted by IDC.
The global study analyzed 270 websites and peer-to-peer (P2P) networks, 108 software downloads, and 155 CDs or DVDs, and it interviewed 2,077 consumers and 258 IT managers or chief information officers in Brazil, China, Germany, India, Mexico, Poland, Russia, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States. Researchers found that of counterfeit software that does not come with the computer, 45% comes from the Internet, and 78% of this software downloaded from websites or P2P networks included some type of spyware, while 36% contained Trojans and adware.
"In Lebanon, the rate of pirated software stands at 71%, compared to 50% in Qatar and 42% worldwide, according to the latest BSA Global Piracy study", said Valerie Bassil, Anti-Piracy Manager, Microsoft Lebanon. "Consumers risk money, time and the loss of personal data when they use pirated software, while for businesses the losses can be immeasurable; trade secrets, business, critical data and corporate reputations are all on the line", added Bassil.
The IDC study, titled "The Dangerous World of Counterfeit and Pirated Software," was released today as part of Play It Safe campaign, Microsoft's global initiative to bring awareness to issues related to software piracy.
"We support and encourage this Microsoft initiative that raises awareness to threat and consequences of counterfeit software. Customers should always play it safe when buying software. They should ask the right questions, investigate packaging, and always demand genuine copies. At the end of the day, counterfeit software are not only illegal, but also can lead to serious security breach and damages of strategic data", said Mr. Wissam Al Amil, IP specialist at the Ministry of Economy and Trade.
"Our research is unequivocal: Inherent dangers lurk for consumers and businesses that take a chance on counterfeit software," said John Gantz, chief researcher at IDC. "Some people choose counterfeit to save money, but this 'ride-along' malware ends up putting a financial and emotional strain on both the enterprise and casual computer users alike."
The following are among the highlights from the consumer survey:
• 64% of the people respondents knew who had used counterfeit software experienced security issues.
• 45% of the time, counterfeit software slowed their PCs, and the software had to be uninstalled
• 48% of respondents noted that their greatest concern with using counterfeit software was data loss
• 29% were most concerned with identity theft
Embedding counterfeit software with dangerous malware is a new method for criminal to prey on computer users who are unaware of the potential danger.
The IDC white paper also explored the surprising level of end-user software installations made on corporate computers, exposing another method for the introduction of unsecure software into the workplace ecosystem. Although 38% of IT managers acknowledge that it happens, 57% of workers admit they install personal software onto employer-owned computers. What is alarming is that respondents told IDC that only 30% of the software they installed on their work computers was problem-free. Sixty-five percent of IT managers agree that user-installed software increases an organization's security risks. For many in the enterprise, user-installed software may be a blind spot in ensuring a secure network.
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