Malware In Pirated Software To Cost Cos $491 Bn

by CXOtoday News Desk    Mar 24, 2014

security breach

Malware related issues on using pirated software could cost companies nearly $491 billion this year, says a joint study by the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the International Data Corporation (IDC), with nearly $364 billion likely to be spent on handling data breaches.

The study, sponsored by Microsoft and published found that nearly 46% computers purchased from common distribution sources – such as computer specialty shops, resellers, and local markets – came with dangerous malware, including viruses, worms, Trojan horses, rootkits, and unwanted Adware. The report analyzed over 200 computers bought from 12 countries, and found that chance of encountering malware in a pirated copy of  software is one in three, while the chance of encountering malware in a PC purchased with pirated software is more than 60%.

“Much of this malware is created by criminal organizations with illegal financial gain, data theft, espionage, or other mayhem in mind,” they added. The study claimed that almost two-thirds of enterprise losses, or $315 billion, would have stemmed from the activity of criminal organisations,” says the study stating that consumers were also not spared as it expects them to spend nearly $25 billion and waste 1.2 billion hours in the coming months dealing with security issues created by malware on pirated software.

Despite this, about 43% of consumers do not frequently install security updates on their computers, states the study as it found that infection rates were higher in emerging markets, where more consumers and enterprises acquire software and PCs from suspect sources.

The growing prevalence of pirated software in Asia-Pacific prompted the study to estimate the region would account for nearly 60% of all infected pirated software in the world, even though there are just 40% of all PCs used globally.

The study recommended consumers and enterprises to buy only computers from a trusted source. Additionally, enterprises should run frequent security updates and monitor the use of software installed by employees.