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Illegal Software Downloads have High Risks of Malware Infection

BSA or Business Software Alliance, the group that detects and shuts down illegal software, has found about 36,000 counterfeit software products having a total retail worth of $8 Million. These were being marketed through Internet auction systems during the first half of 2007. BSA represents companies like Symantec, Apple, Microsoft and Adobe.

The alliance said that it has detected an average of 200,000 pirated software files on file-sharing systems in a month.

BSA's Director of Internet enforcement, John Wolfe, said that this retail amount represents only a tiny fraction of the probable sale value. Vnunet reported this on October 3, 2007.

The various software detected so far are from online auctions that BSA has found to transgress the copyrights of BSA members. Consequently the group has taken action so that the owners of the auction sites close down their ill-functioning Websites, Wolfe said. The auction offers on the sites may result in hundreds of illegitimate purchases of software.

In the meantime, a seller of counterfeit Microsoft software paid 35,000 pounds in damages to the software company. The seller admitted that he disposed pirated software during the week through channels like eBay and also imported software illegally.

As more and more sellers ignore anti-counterfeiting rules of auction sites, they are providing pirated operating systems and other software in the form of digital downloads, said Tier-3's CTO Geoff Sweeney. Although the sites may follow the sales rules, yet they put buyers in contact with dangers of infections arising from different malwares, Sweeney added. SecurityPark reported this on October 9, 2007.

Highlighting a point in a study that IDC recently conducted, BSA noted that only less than half of the total buyers get malware-free software on any auction site.

Sweeney further said that a lot of traditional IT security solutions fail to successfully scan software downloads that has embedded malware. And when these files are executed, they install viruses, keyloggers and other malware on the user's computer. Given that users may be downloading and installing illegal software, IT managers need to adopt a safer approach such as using a behavioral analysis program to spot and stop malware-laden software from running.

Related article: Illegal Access of Linkin Park Singer’s Phone Records

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