In a world where information about our life, work and family is stored on computers, we need to take more seriously programs installed on the PC. Unless, of course, you won’t share your personal data with scammers.
Many people actively use pirated versions of licensed paid programs. At first glance, everything is fine: the software is downloaded, installed and launched. The program does not require a key and works. But the statistics are relentless – on average, 80% of people face some kind of problem when using pirated software.
The reason is simple: free cheese only happens in a mousetrap. Altruism among distributors of pirated software is rare. In most cases, you will pay anyway, only differently. At best, the speed of your computer, at worst – a password from a bank card. The desire to save money can lead to a whole bunch of troubles.
80% of users face some kind of problem when using pirated software
According to European studies, the share of unlicensed software accidentally or intentionally infected with malicious codes is 25-30%. That is, every third “free” program is a source of threat. For the CIS countries, where copyright protection is getting worse, the numbers are much higher.
Hacked software most often lies on warez sites. A “correct” warez is an archive/image/installer containing the cracked program. Usually comes with a crack or key generator.
Attackers inject malicious code into a compromised program that can send spam on your behalf, collect data about the sites you visit, and even steal passwords.
1. Parasite as a Gift
The desire of ordinary users to “download for free” is used by cybercriminals, generously supplying pirated software with viruses, Trojans, phishing programs, uniting computers in multi-million dollar botnets. Still, wondering where you got your subscriptions from groups that you never subscribed to? This is the most harmless thing that could happen.
Inside the “free” program there can be embedded applications that read not only information about your passwords in social networks, but also in online banks. Want to wake up one day with an empty bank account?
2. Paid Free Software
In the dashing 90s and at the beginning of the 2000s, hackers broke software “for the idea,” besides, the country was really bad with money. But romance doesn’t live long where you can do business. Very soon people began to pay for downloading from file hosting services, and “free” software became a black market. In addition to the fact that viruses are periodically packed into cracked programs, it is becoming more and more difficult to download them for free.
You need to either send SMS, or register (which will then backfire on you with tons of spam), in any case, making your way through a bunch of pop-up, eye-catching banners with ads. Time is money. Or do you like to send SMS-ki, which drives the balance of your phone into negative territory?
Fraudsters who distribute “free” software make millions on it. At your own expense.
3. Junk Software
Sometimes pirates embed relatively harmless applications that do not directly harm your PC, but this garbage dump of unnecessary and therefore unused programs that the user does not even know about, clogs the system, reducing its stability and performance by up to 50%, and sometimes even more. Ready to cut the power of your computer in half?
Unlicensed software often prevents the user from receiving timely updates aimed at fixing errors and vulnerabilities leading to PC malfunctions. Want to keep your computer stuck in the past forever getting rakes in the forehead?
Junk programs built into cracks can halve your PC’s speed.
Recently, there are more and more attempts to make cryptocurrency by introducing miners into secure programs. A special version of the miner can be installed on a computer along with free software, configured so as to mine into the wallet of pirated software distributors.
In order not to attract attention, attackers hide the miner: they minimize the program window and do not show it among the running applications. The most that remain is a tiny icon at the bottom of the screen next to those needed to adjust the sound or switch the language. Do you want to share your computer with scammers?
6. No Support
If after installing the jailbroken version it is impossible to configure the application or some problems appear, you will be left with them on one. No one will provide you with technical support – you are not a friend, but an enemy for the development company. It’s great if you are an advanced PC user and digging into the BIOS or task manager is like eating a muffin of coffee. But more often it is not. Are you ready to spend money and nerves on system recovery?
If you purchase a license, you get the opportunity to communicate with developers through technical support and get expert advice. This is a thousand times more convenient than figuring out everything yourself, hopelessly wandering around forums and dubious sites. In addition, the pirated version of the program cannot be simply taken and updated – you have to look for cracks again, risking the security of your data and the health of your PC.
7. Crime and Punishment
Many people think that an individual who uses illegal software on a home computer for personal needs cannot be prosecuted for copyright infringement. After all, the user, in this case, does not derive commercial benefit
To bring to administrative responsibility it is really necessary that copyright be violated in order to generate income, however, for the onset of criminal and civil liability, such a condition is not established by law. Cases of real attraction for this are rare, but they are. Want to add to the list of lucky ones?
What to Do?
The recipe is simple – download programs only from the official websites of the developers and install a reliable antivirus for protection. The software market is developing rapidly. Now there are many free programs for solving simple problems, and the cost of paid programs that solve more complex ones has dropped to an acceptable level and became available to ordinary users.
Pirates, who once roamed all seas and oceans, now nest only in slums like Somalia. The same will soon happen with intellectual piracy. After all, your risks are getting higher, in contrast to the gain, which desperately tends to zero.