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Microsoft Reveals: 63% Counterfeits Contaminated with Malware

A preliminary Microsoft security study reveals that 63% of pirate software peddled in Southeast Asia either via DVDs or preinstalled on computers are tied with high-risk malware, published ZDNet on December 20, 2012.

Microsoft purchased 118 counterfeited software DVDs and laptops computers from resellers in Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, and Thailand and discovered that 49% of these contained polluted malware.

Out of the total malwares, 403 instances were found to be unique, claims Microsoft and contained malicious software, such as backdoors, bots password stealers and hijackers.

Microsoft further concluded that Windows update was disabled on almost 77% of the examined computers.

However, a new trend was surprisingly revealed during the course of the study, where of the 44% sampled with new laptop computer had infected malware softwares loaded in lieu of original hard drives and recycled drives were also installed with pirated software.

These malwares are employed by cybercriminals in the fulfillment of various criminal activities generating illegal profit. These activities are related to email spamming and spamming of social media contacts with fake requests claiming charitable donations and counterfeit offers and promotions (e.g., fake prescription drugs).

However, these activities are organized either by or under the supervision of organized, for profit criminal enterprises.

These malwares are however low risks associated malware and the pirated software also include low IT-productivity, critical system failures and disruptions of service and the theft of confidential company data that ultimately lead to ruthless financial loss and harm of reputation.

"This study displays that with the usage of fake software is dangerous proposition," says Dr Dzahar Mansor, National Technology officer at Microsoft Malaysia, according to a statement published by digitalnewsasia.com dated December 20, 2012.

In the words of Director of Legal and Corporate Affairs for Asia-Pacific and Japan at Microsoft, Jeff Bullwinkel, pirated software is a fertile ground for the eruption of all sorts of cyber crimes and the cost of using it is potentially much higher. The intention of the Company is simply to help understand the consumers the implicacy such intentions and thus ensure a sage and secure experience of using a PC, as reported in the ZDNet on December 20, 2012.

So, to ignore the unintentionally purchase of counterfeit software, Microsoft suggested consumers to ask for a legitimate software and buy from a trusted reseller.

Related article: Microsoft Counters Cybersquatters

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