Ever wondered how much cheap (or free) pirated software could cost you? How much do you value the photos of that treasured family occasion, the sensitive data stored on your computer or the passwords you type to logon to your bank website?

Microsoft Australia went to local markets in Melbourne to purchase counterfeit Windows and Office software from four different sellers (pictured), and tested what was on the DVDs.  The results were worrying.

Of six counterfeit Microsoft Office disks tested, they found that five were infected with malware.

Of the twelve counterfeit Windows disks tested, they found that six could not install and run, and so could not be tested. They were duds!

Of the six counterfeit Windows disks that could run and be tested successfully:
• Two were infected with malware;
• 100% of the six copies had Windows Update disabled;
• 100% of the six copies had the Windows Firewall rules changed.

In total of the twelve counterfeit software copies that could be installed successfully (six Office and six Windows) and tested:
• Seven copies (58%) were infected with malware
• A total of 20 instances of six different types of malware code found.

The risks posed to consumers if they had installed these counterfeit disks include loss of sensitive data, substantial financial losses and costs, and a big waste of time trying to fix system problems.

Microsoft Australia is now taking enforcement action against these four sellers, as it does with numerous counterfeit software sellers every year, to help combat counterfeit software and protect unsuspecting consumers.

These findings were backed up by a 2013 IDC study on The Dangers of Counterfeit Software, commissioned by Microsoft, which found that:
• 1 in 3 consumer’s PCs with counterfeit software will be infected with malware in 2013;
• Consumers globally will waste US$22 billion and 1.5 billion hours dealing with the issues, such as recovering data, and dealing with identity theft as a result;
• 26% of consumers who installed counterfeit software had their PC infected with a virus;
• 78% of counterfeit software programs downloaded from pirate internet sites or P2P networks installed tracking cookies or spyware

Counterfeit pirated software might be cheaper, or even free, but it’s not worth the risk to use it!

For more information visit http://www.microsoft.com/australia/piracy/ or call 132058.