A new global study commissioned by Microsoft Corp. and conducted by IDC on the effects of malware found in pirated software discovered that the chances of infection by unexpected malware are one in three for consumers and three in 10 for businesses.
Consumers share the burden and cost, with the IDC study showing that as a result of these infections consumers worldwide will spend 1.5 billion hours and US$22 billion identifying, repairing and recovering from the impact of malware.
The study analyzed 270 websites and peer-to-peer (P2P) networks, 108 software downloads, and 155 CDs or DVDs. IDC also interviewed 2,077 consumers and 258 IT managers or chief information officers from Brazil, China, Germany, India, Mexico, Poland, Russia, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Researchers found that of the counterfeit software that does not come with the computer, 45 percent is downloaded from the Internet. Of this, 78 percent is downloaded from websites or P2P networks and includes some type of spyware, while 36 percent contained Trojans and adware.
“The cybercrime reality is that counterfeiters are tampering with the software code and lacing it with malware,” said Jeff Bullwinkel, director of legal and corporate affairs for Asia Pacific and Japan at Microsoft. “Some of this malware records a person’s every keystroke -- allowing cybercriminals to steal a victim’s personal and financial information -- or remotely switches on an infected computer’s microphone and video camera, giving cybercriminals eyes and ears in boardrooms and living rooms. The best way tolsecure yourself and your property from these malware threats when you buy a computer is to demand genuine software.”
Director General Ricardo Blancaflor of the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) said, “The results of the IDC study should make our countrymen realize that, when they buy software, they must make sure these are genuine or when they buy computers, that they are loaded only with genuine software. Otherwise, the risks of their PCs becoming infected by malware and spyware and numerous other viruses are high and the costs may turn out to be more expensive for them in the end from the cost of repair and the disruption of their business operation or practice of their profession.”
The IDC study, titled “The Dangerous World of Counterfeit and Pirated Software,” was released as part of Play It Safe Day, Microsoft’s global initiative to bring awareness to issues related to software piracy.