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Pirated Software Can Have Harmful Consequences on Company Networks

Computer security and malware control firm Sophos has sent out warnings to businesses regarding security and productivity risks, if they allow pirated software programs to be run on the networks of their companies.

The warning comes after BSA (Business Software Alliance) released a study this week, which indicates that 27% of software in the U.K. makes way through illegal channels. The trade organization implored the government to increase the penalty rates for companies and institutions that use counterfeit or unlicensed software.

According to the researchers who have prepared the report, U.K. should implement similar strict legal fines as the remaining Europe, where the prosecution charges go through criminal judicial processes instead of the civil channel.

Sophos experts point out that pirated software can open corporate networks to attacks by cyber criminals who find it an easy passage to infect. The experts further say that such pirated software in business networks can severely affect the infrastructure of the network, eating up precious bandwidth and stocks of network resources.

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos said in a statement that ensuring computers are running legal copies of Word is not enough. Businesses must also monitor and restrict harmful programs their employees download, install and execute. Besides this, a good IT security system should patch software vulnerabilities, which becomes almost impossible in the case of pirated software. Pirated software obtained from tricky websites or from a seller down the alley will lack the necessary technical support and could even contain viruses. ITPRO published Cluley's statement on May 17, 2007.

In addition to the legal aspect about pirated software such programs also make a significant impact on the security of company businesses. The computer network is a company's basic support and by permitting members to execute anything on it, whether legal or otherwise, may result in the break down of the network, Cluley said. Infozine reported this on May 17, 2007.

Sophos advises companies to protect their servers, gateways and desktops with an all-inclusive package of solutions to thwart viruses, phishing, spyware, spam and hackers. They should also implement control to allow running only authorized applications on their PCs.

Related article: Pirated anti-virus Program Yields Nasty Malware

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