Pirated software. The temptation of being able to obtain a product absolutely free of charge can often prove too much for people to resist. In theory it sounds great doesn’t it, a costless method of being able to achieve your business objectives without having to draw out of the already thinning wallet. However, the real truth is that there is almost always a hidden “price” that comes with your so called freebie, and it’s not cheap.
The real cost
Although everything looks perfect and it seems as if you’re getting a good deal, don’t be fooled, pirated software can actually end up setting you back a costly sum. Here’s why:
Firstly, when using pirated software your computer is more likely to crash. The coder who pirated the software can engineer the application to attack or drain on the system, slowing down your computer leading to its inevitable crash. As a result, this will cost you time and you could potentially lose your files or any data on the computer that could be damaged and irretrievable. Need I say this could have catastrophic effects on a business. Moreover, if you thought it couldn’t get any worse, there is even the possibility of the counterfeit software causing irreparable damage to your PC and all other software installed, rendering it useless meaning you will need to go out and buy a new computer which, I imagine, is probably going to cost you considerably more than what you would have paid for the non-pirated software in the first place.
Secondly, one of the nastier problems of using counterfeit software is that nine times out of 10 it will contain some form or another of either spyware or malware which loads onto your computer and reports personal information without your knowledge. This information can be anything from credit card and bank account details, to passwords, telephone numbers and addresses – all of which can be exploited by what are known as identity thieves.
An identity thief is a person that will steal anothers identity in order to pose as them and have access to the benefits of that person.
Finally, one thing cyber thieves are good at is testing software in order to find vulnerabilities in it which allows them to exploit certain aspects of a supplier’s software. More often than not these exploits come to the awareness of the official supplier/creator who will provide patches in order to fix these vulnerabilities and protect those using their software. Although, if your software is pirated, you will not be eligible for these updates and thus will not be incorporated into the protection of the official supplier. Due to this, your computer could be vulnerable to attacks from cyber criminals trying to exploit your system which can lead to your PC becoming rendered useless, your data being lost or stolen and ultimately, your business being quite seriously damaged.
If you still haven’t seen reason; a recent study by IDC (International Data Corporation) found that global enterprises have a three in 10 chance of infection from pirated software, spending approximately $114 billion per year dealing with the impact of malware-induced attacks, and incurring potential losses of $350 billion due to data breaches.
And let’s not forget, this software is illegal. You’re breaking the law and using pirated software could land you with a hefty fine – perhaps even worse.
What you can do to protect yourself
Need I say, it’s more than advisable to get all of your software from its original producers or at least any vendors that they support in the sale of their product or service.
When shopping online it is important to ensure that the websites you are using are legitimate. You can check this by looking for “Https:” in the URL address. This means that any information submitted on the website will be encrypted (although it might not mean it’s legitimate). Aside from this, you can also check for a padlock at the start of the URL address too which does prove the legitimacy of a company.
Always use your common sense. If a price or an offer seems too good to be true it is more than likely it is and I can almost guarantee there will be a hidden cost or threat in order to balance this out.
So, if you are considering or even currently using pirated software it’s important that you get rid of it. It’s an immediate threat and not worth your time or money to have to deal with the consequences.
Act now, protect the future of your business.