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Microsoft commissioned IDC for the pirated software report

The International Data Corporation (IDC) has released a new white paper -- commissioned by Microsoft -- that focuses on counterfeit and pirated software use. 

The paper, titled "The Dangerous World of Counterfeit and Pirated Software: How Pirated Software Can Compromise the Cybersecurity of Consumers, Enterprises, and Nations...and the Resultant Costs in Time and Money," said that about 33 percent of software is counterfeit. 

The paper also said the malware market will reach $114 billion this year thanks to counterfeit software. In addition, consumers will waste about 1.5 billion hours dealing with this malware. 

This paper was made using information from a 10-country survey of 1,104 consumer respondents, 973 business user respondents and 268 CIO/IT manager respondents. 

Some highlights from the report include the fact that 78 percent of pirated software has spyware attached; 45 percent of users had to uninstall their pirated software because of computer performance issues; those who need to visit websites for stolen activation keys suffer a greater risk of getting a Trojan or adware infection by about 36 percent, and the total worldwide amount spent fighting issues related with counterfeit software (identity theft, repair, recovering data, etc.) is $22 billion. 

"Yes, over the next seven years, the installed base of PCs will grow by a factor of less 
than 1.5 — versus a factor of 3 in the past seven years — but software-laden phones
and tablets will take up the slack," said the IDC white paper. "And these mobile devices may be even harder to manage — and keep secure — in enterprise settings than PCs. Nor is it likely that the creators of malware and of counterfeit software will depart a lucrative business that may be one of the safest criminal environments within which to operate.
"It seems logical to infer, then, that the security risks faced by users of counterfeit software can only increase. Which is the reason we conducted this research: to quantify those risks and help end users and enterprises become aware of them.
"But the best prevention is simply to use the genuine item. This means procuring 
computers and software from trusted sources, avoiding software with too-good-to-be-true prices, and following activation and registration protocols."

Microsoft definitely makes strong efforts to combat piracy. In 2006, it sued resellers for selling pirated software. Just last year, it accused UK retailer Comet Group PLC of being a kingpin of the software piracy world -- devoting an entire factory to the sale of illicit goods.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer even blamed piracy for low Windows Vista sales in 2007. 

Source: Microsoft

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Pirating out of convenience
By daar on 3/26/2013 3:46:05 PM , Rating: 2
I'm curious if that's a big part, at least in the USA. I mean, I got a free copy of Windows 7 when I bought my laptop but when I tossed in an SSD, I pirated windows 7 because I didn't want to have to call MS up to get it activated for the same key.

Most software these days you can find a similar open source variant, any pro software is usually supplied at work.

RE: Pirating out of convenience
By kleinma on 3/26/2013 3:49:18 PM , Rating: 2
That is rediculous. I have reinstalled Windows XP, Vista, and 7 on machines after SSD installations and I have never had to contact Microsoft to reactivate using the OEM key on the case of the computer. When I have changed out system boards on occasion I have had to, which amounts to a 5 minute phone call to an automated system to activate.

The product key sticker on your computer case/laptop is not even the key that was used in the first place when the system shipped. They are required as OEMs to put the license key on the machine, but they use a volume license key and a factory image to install what they ship out the door. So your product key on the side of the computer has never actually be activated.

RE: Pirating out of convenience
By Ramtech on 3/26/2013 3:55:09 PM , Rating: 2
Windows 8 changes this AFAIK OEMs are no longer required to put sticker on PC.
Cd-key is in BIOS

RE: Pirating out of convenience
By kmmatney on 3/27/2013 7:21:51 AM , Rating: 2
Before I upgraded to Windows 8 on my home machine, it got so bad with my Windows 7 copy that I had to call Microsoft to re-activate windows after adding a hard drive to my system. On one case, I plugged in an old hard drive just to copy some files from it. When Windows booted up, I said my copy was not legal. After I was finished with the drive, I unplugged it, restarted Windows, and all was normal again. Anyway it was a real pain in the ass, having to call up Microsoft with a 20 digit code, and then having to type in a 20 digit code. Towards the end, the automated version didn't work, I had to talk to a person and argue that I was just upgrading my hard drive, video card or cpu. My Windows 8 is supposedly a retail version, so I'll be plenty mad if I have to go through all that again.

"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller

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