Malware in counterfeit software to cost enterprises $114bn

by CXOtoday News Desk    Mar 25, 2013

counterfeit softwareThe chances of infection by unexpected malware stand at one in three for consumers and three in ten for businesses using pirated software, according to a new study commissioned by Microsoft and conducted by IDC. Toward this end, consumers will spend 1.5 billion hours and US$22 billion towards identifying, repairing and recovering from the impact of malware. Global enterprises will spend US$114 billion to deal with the impact of a malware-induced cyber attack.

The report titled ‘The Dangerous World of Counterfeit and Pirated Software’, highlighted that of the non-PC counterfeit software, 45 per cent comes from the Internet out of which 78 per cent is downloaded from websites or peer-to-peer networks including some type of spyware, while 36 per cent contained Trojans and adware.

“The cybercrime reality is that counterfeiters are tampering with the software code and lacing it with malware. 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,” says David Finn, associate general counsel in the Microsoft Cybercrime Center. He believes that the best way for enterprises to secure their information and assets from these malware threats is to opt for genuine software.

John Gantz, Chief Researcher, IDC stated that while many end users and businesses choose counterfeit to save money, but this ‘ride-along’ malware ends up putting a financial and emotional strain on both the enterprise and casual computer users alike.

According to the report 64 per cent of the respondents who used counterfeit software are already experiencing security issues. At the same time, nearly half the time, counterfeit software slowed their PCs and the software had to be uninstalled. Forty-eight per cent of respondents said that their greatest concern with using counterfeit software was data loss, while 29 per cent were most concerned with identity theft.

The report also noted that embedded counterfeit software with dangerous malware is a new method for criminals to prey on computer users who are unaware of the potential danger.

The study polled more than 900 business users, 200 IT managers and 1,000 consumers in 10 countries including Brazil, China, Germany, India, Mexico, Poland, Russia, Thailand, the UK and the US.