Pirated software thriving on auction sites

28 Sep 2007

Over 36,000 copies of pirated software were caught by the Business Software Alliance (BSA) in the fist half of 2007 alone before they made their way to customers via online auction sites.

The SFA’s latest research also claims that the full retail value of all illegal software on these auction sites in this period came to over US$8m.

This might seem like a large number but according to John Wolfe, the director of internet enforcement at the BSA, this is only the tip of the iceberg.

Wolfe warned that if prices of software offered on these sites are too good to be true, they probably are.

“Counterfeit copies may not give you the functionality and full benefits of a legal version. There is also a significant data protection risk in that counterfeit software may be linked to hackers looking to access your network,” he said.

Research firm IDC released a recent study in which it claimed that the chances of finding legitimate software that was spyware and virus free was less than 1 in 2.

According to the BSA, this is not just consumer end products: some of this pirated software is high-end commercial fare like computer aided design and manufacturing software.

“Businesses purchasing their software via these online offers should use caution to avoid being duped or unwittingly introducing viruses or spyware onto their networks.

“They also face the legal and financial risks associated with violating intellectual property laws by installing unlicensed software,” he warned.

Peer-to-peer file sharing programs are also another method for distribution of pirated software with the BSA documenting more then 200,000 software files per month on these networks.

By Marie Boran