Software piracy is a serious matter. By purchasing counterfeit software, not only are you violating the law and the intellectual rights of software authors, you are also putting your PC at risk of damage and security threats.
Counterfeit software is most often sold on bogus websites or through classified ads. Although it is possible that a counterfeit product is a good copy of the original software, it is more than likely to be defective and possibly even dangerous.
The Real Cost
You may think that you’re getting a good deal when purchasing pirated software, however it can in fact end up setting you back a costly sum. Here are a few reasons why:
- Pirated software can cause your computer to crash. This can, in turn, cost you a lot of time and there’s even the possibility that you could lose files or data that cannot be replaced. In the worst case scenario, counterfeit software could cause irreparable damage to your PC and all other software installed.
- Counterfeit software can contain spyware which loads onto your computer and reports personal information without your knowledge. This data includes credit card and bank account numbers, passwords and address books, all of which can be immediately exploited by identity thieves.
- Cyber thieves occasionally find vulnerabilities in software. Software vendors provide patches in order to fix these vulnerabilities. However, if your software is counterfeit, these legitimate updates are unable to be incorporated, making your PC vulnerable to attacks.
- A seller proposing to violate the law might not stop at pirated software. Any credit card data or personal information you share with them could subsequently be exploited by identity thieves.
How to avoid being a victim
To avoid falling victim to software pirates, we advise you to follow these simple tips:
- Make sure that you only purchase software from reputable companies.
- When shopping online, ensure that the websites you are using are legitimate. When you reach a site’s purchase page, view the security certificate by clicking on the padlock icon in your browser’s frame. If there is no padlock visible on the page, it is likely that the site is unsafe to use.
- Before providing credit card information, check that the site’s URL address reads “https:” and not just “http”. If there is no “s” present, we advise you not to make the purchase. While the “s” does not mean that the site is legitimate, it does indicate that the information will be encrypted upon being submitted.
- If a price seems too good to be true, it probably is. Be wary of extremely reduced prices and double-check the site’s authenticity.
If your software arrives in a white sleeve or envelope, it is likely to be counterfeit. Legitimate software is sold in plastic-covered packages with printed directions and registration cards.
If you think that you may have purchased counterfeit software, it is important that you contact the software maker’s legitimate manufacturer and attempt to obtain a refund from the seller.
In short, counterfeit software is harmful for all involved and can be very costly for those who use it. We therefore advise you to be wary when buying software online and report any you suspect may be counterfeit.
used with permission from Norton by Symantec