The dangers of using pirated software are evident on the economy. $82 billion worth of software programs sell legitimately worldwide, while $63 billion worth of computer programs are pirated.
Copying other people’s work has almost become an acceptable thing, albeit the presence of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) should emphasize the consequence of this problem.
Have you ever wondered how much a cheap product can cost you? It’s penny wise and pound foolish, depending on how you look at it.
Some of the dangers of using pirated software are obvious while others aren’t. Let’s explore five of these dangers of using pirated software.
1. It leaves you vulnerable to attack
According to a study, thirty-four percent of pirated software downloaded from P2P were embedded with malware that infects a computer after download. About half of these were Trojans.
You expose yourself to malware when you install a pirated software. Ransomware, Trojans, viruses and other malicious software can corrupt your device and the data you have in it.
Malicious codes embedded in some pirated software programs can gain access to your data. Your device, and webcam, can be controlled this way. Pirated software makes you vulnerable to a denial of service attack.
The risks you’re exposed to include:
- Access to financial and confidential information
- Access to your trade secrets
- Access to customers’ transactions and personal records
- Identity theft
- Data loss and destruction
These are just a few of what’s possible.
2. It might stop working when you need it the most
You might find out that the pirated software doesn’t work with your device. This is because the programs are cracked versions of the original ones. These software programs are likely to alter the accuracy of your results if they end up working.
Some companies check the registration of their software, so it’s possible to have the program run for a while and malfunction as time goes on.
3. It’ll lead to legal problems
Everything that has an original is likely to be counterfeited. It’s unfair when someone steals your idea, pretends it’s theirs and sells it. It’s only natural for companies to protect their assets.
It isn’t acceptable to purchase the fake software as they hardly follow due process. It is copyright infringement.
The LA County Sheriff’s department purchased a license that allowed them to install 3,700 copies of a software by DataWall. It installed 6,000 copies, claiming that only 3700 employees were using the software. The department was sued and had to pay a fine and sttorney fees of more than $750,000.
4. The product can’t be updated
100 percent of the pirated software samples studied by Microsoft Australia had Windows Update disabled and FireWall rules changed.
Updating your software as new patches or updates are released allows you to get a better experience from it. It’s impossible to enjoy this from the pirated version, so you’re stuck with it no matter the limitations. You might even get penalized if you try upgrading to an original package.
5. It puts hardworking people out of work
A report from IDC stated that for every one-percent of pirated software, approximately $40 billion is lost. This removes 150,000 jobs from the worldwide economy.
You put good people out of work and affect the economy negatively. Meanwhile, services like Netflix seem to be effectively saving the system.
Beyond the dangers of using pirated software
Let’s face it, some software is pretty expensive, and you may not need all the features it brings with its premium version. So what’s a techie to do?
You have options:
- Use the free version of the software: If the software has a free version, go for it, especially if the free version covers your needs. Most vendors now give free software you can use for life. If you don’t ever need the premium version, you can stay with the freemium version.
- Use a less expensive version of the software: If you don’t mind spending a little money, you can buy a version of that software with limited features that will fulfill your needs.
- Go for an alternative software: Find an alternative software that solves your needs for free! A competitor app may want to pick up users by offering premium features from your original choice of software for free.
For example, you can use alternative PowerPoint presentation software instead of paying a huge sum for the whole Office suite (or resorting to piracy).
Heck! You may even build presentations without using software!
Another way to use an alternative app is to find less expensive versions of your original choice. If you don’t mind spending some money, this would be a great fit.
- Check if you qualify for a free premium version: Microsoft gives free Microsoft Office to students and academic organizations who qualify. Some apps may be offering free trials for their premium option or may give you free access to their program under certain conditions.
Take the word “qualify” lightly. You may just need to use an online or mobile version of their software if you create an account with them, just like what Microsoft Office 365 does.
- Buy the software: If you truly need the premium version of a software with all its features, and it’s the best in its class for your purposes, then buy it. It’s probably worth spending that money if the app or software has unique features you can’t find anywhere else.
To Wrap It Up
Remember you have options! You don’t need to expose yourself to these dangers of using pirated software. Use a free version of the program or a less expensive pricing plan. Go for an alternative. Or just buy the software if it has unique features.
In order to avoid these dangers of using pirated software, always look out for reputable vendors when you buy software. Verify the authenticity of a website before you buy software from them. Price doesn’t have to always be the first factor in your decision. You might find out that your “cost effective” choice was more expensive.
Image credit: Picture concept pirate discs by DepositPhotos