Pirated software cause malware infections: The Singapore study

Anuradha Shukla

A new joint study conducted by IDC and the National University of Singapore (NUS) has identified a link between pirated software & malware infections.

Globally, cost to deal with issues caused by malware loaded onto pirated software will be about US$500 billion in 2014. About US$127 billion will be spent on dealing with security issues and US$364 billion on dealing with data breaches.

This year, global consumers will spend US$25 billion and 1.2 billion hours because of security threats and expensive computer fixes resulting from malware on pirated software.

65 percent of consumers in Singapore said loss of data, files or personal information were the biggest fear associated with infected software.

64 percent of these consumers fear unauthorized Internet transactions and 61 percent fear hijacking of email, social networking and bank accounts due to this challenge. 

"Cybercriminals are profiting from any security lapse they can find, with financially devastating results for everyone," said Keshav Dhakad, regional director of Intellectual Property & Digital Crimes Unit, Microsoft Asia.

Computers open to attack

28 percent of the respondents in Singapore do not install security updates, and this leaves their computers open to attack by cybercriminals.

65 percent of government officials in Singapore are most concerned about cybersecurity issues between trading partners, 62 percent about the impact of cyberattacks on critical infrastructure and 62 percent about the loss of business trade secrets or competitive information.

27 percent of Singapore enterprise respondents reported security breaches causing network, computer or website outages occurring every few months or more.

71 percent of those outages in Singapore involved malware on end-user computers.

The NUS analysed 203 new PCs loaded with pirated software and 61 percent of these machines were pre-infected with unsafe malware, including Trojans and adware.

"Using pirated software is like walking through a field of landmines: You don't know when you'll come upon something nasty, but if you do it can be very destructive," said John Gantz, chief researcher at IDC.