Software Piracy – A Threat to Security!

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Beginning of this year, I tried to understand, whether we can show a collaboration between Piracy (stolen software) and Malware Infections. I played a little bit with the data I had available and came to the conclusion, that there most probably is: Is there a Correlation between Stolen Software (Piracy) and Security/Patching?

Now, the Business Software Alliance recently published their annual report for 2008 with regards to pirated software again. So, this is the summary of the study:

2008 was another year of mixed progress in the fight against PC software piracy. The good news is that the rate of PC software piracy dropped in 57 (52 percent) of the 110 countries studied and remained stable in another 39 countries (35 percent).

The bad news is that despite the drop in piracy in many countries, the global PC software piracy rate went up. This was the mathematical outcome of rapid growth of PC markets in high-piracy countries. emerging markets saw PC shipments grow 33 percent faster than mature markets. Even if piracy were to go down in every high-piracy country, their growing market share for PCs will continue to drive the global average up until piracy is cut more deeply.

What really shocks me is when I look at the “best” countries. United States is the best with 20% (!) stolen software. I am living in Switzerland and here (place 6) there is a 25% piracy rate. So, think about that. In one of the wealthiest country, 1/4 of the software is stolen. This is like you get only paid for 6 hours a day if you work 8 (at best!).

We can now debate about Open Source and free software. I am still convinced that personally I want to get paid for my intellectual property and that protection of IP is the foundation of any growth or recovery. However, I did not want to elaborate on this.

In addition to this interesting report, the Business Software Alliance published another one called: Software Piracy on the Internet: A Threat To Your Security. The conclusion of this report is that Individuals who, mistakenly or otherwise, turn to auction sites and peer-to-peer networks to acquire or transfer illegal software expose themselves to everything from malware and identity theft to criminal prosecution.

Worth reading it!


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