Have you ever attempted to download for free a piece of software that usually sells for large sums and you entered an infinite sequence of clicking on download buttons or on links that claimed your download should start immediately? You soon realized it was all a scam and you ended up with no application instead and your email address included in a spammer’s database.
A recent survey conducted by IDC on behalf of Microsoft has revealed that counterfeit software installed on both consumer and enterprise PCs was actually meant to spread infections, steal valuable information, slow down systems or even record keystrokes and report back to cybercrooks’ command servers.
The most common sources of pirated software are unauthorized offline distributors and online platforms, such as Peer-to-Peer networks, torrent distribution systems, or websites that claim to offer free copies of paid-for legitimate software.
The hidden internet security threats
Why would anyone give you something for free and expect nothing in return? Usually, counterfeit copies of legitimate software replace original items that sell for considerable amounts of money. The truth is that you expose yourself to severe malware infections, data loss and even identity theft.
Using pirated software may seem a cheaper solution at first, but as with most catchy promises, dreadful threats may lurk behind it. Cybercriminals may trick you into giving away your personal details and then redirect you to malware-hosting or phishing sites.
Legitimate software, a must-have for both your online safety and your PC’s health
The survey I mentioned before revealed that after installing pirated software consumers faced various issues, ranging from major PC slowdowns, flawed application functionality, malware infections and annoying pop-ups, to hardware failure and massive data loss. Most of the consumers ended up by uninstalling the malfunctioning software.
Pirated antivirus software may also prove troublesome. It may not have access to the latest security updates, thus leaving you exposed to malware, or it may even come virus-laden. Once downloaded to your PC, it may suddenly develop unexpected behaviour by spreading severe infections or by simply wiping everything you stored on your disk.
By rejecting counterfeit software you:
- enjoy the benefits of full functionality and get professional advice from trained experts whenever you need it
- prevent hidden infections from entering your system
- save money and time that you would otherwise put into recovering your system
- avoid legal issues, as software packages are protected by international copyright laws
- benefit from security patches released to protect you against the latest online threats.
BullGuard’s security advice:
- always think about the safety of your PC and your internet security, and stay away from pirated software
- if you run into offers that look too good to be true, make sure you double-check them
- it is highly recommended that you buy legitimate software from trusted vendors in order to stay out of trouble.
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Posted by Elena Ionica