Microsoft study reveals a third of all software is counterfeit

By on March 27, 2013, 9:51 AM

A recent white paper released by the International Data Corporation (IDC) on behalf of Microsoft revealed that roughly 33 percent of all software is counterfeit. The paper further highlights the fact that issues related to counterfeit software like identity theft, repair and data recovery cost $22 billion worldwide.

Enterprises dealing with counterfeit software are projected to spend $114 billion this year and if that weren’t enough, consumers will waste 1.5 billion hours fooling with it.

One of the main concerns with counterfeit software is that a large portion of it – 78 percent to be exact – contains some type of spyware or malware. A survey that was part of the report found that people visiting websites to locate stolen activation keys were about 36 percent more likely to get a Trojan or adware infection while nearly 50 percent of respondents said they had to uninstall pirated software due to it impacting the system’s performance.

48 percent of those polled said they worried about data loss the most when dealing with pirated software while 29 percent were most concerned with identity theft. Only two percent were not worried at all. More alarming, however, is that that 46 percent of people said they didn’t bother to keep their software up to date.

The 29-page report includes data from 1,104 consumers, 973 business users and 268 CIO / IT managers across 10 countries. The full document is available for viewing online via PDF format if you’re interested in digging deeper.

User Comments: 11

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veLa veLa said:

It's all about downloading from VIP/Trusted users rather than the obvious shady links

pjamme said:

I think it is bogus that 33% of all software is counterfeit. Just another ploy from MS to add more stringent controls on using their software.

who would be stupid enough to use counterfeit software at any price.

Ranger12 Ranger12 said:

Lots of small business who are extremely strapped for cash would jump for low cost or free software if they are poorly informed.

misor misor said:

So does this study includes windows 8 purchased from counterfeit windows 7 during the windows 8 discounted promo period allegedly to pad up actual windows 8 legit sales?

tbh, I believe that most people pirate windows OS.

at least 4 of my cousins pirate windows 7.

many of my friends pirate windows xp/vista/7 too.

sad thing is they have more income than me and I'm the one using legit windows 7/8.

funny thing is I use legit windows products but use the cheapest tech gadgets I could buy.

Guest said:

Took me forever to track down the link.


This is a 'global' analysis - developed countries use much less pirated/counterfeit. Much more piracy in countries where the average daily income is less than a small fraction of the "manufacturer's price".

Interesting that vectors can include pirated software on system when purchased.

The economics look like you save on the software license cost, but pay it back 2x-3x from the damage recovery if you get clobbered by malware. (Of course, this is not really the case in some countries, where you could work for a month on fixing your box and still come out ahead).

So if you do the foolish thing, you pay more.

Since I don't, the only time I've caught an infection was buying parts for the lawnmower - from a small outfit which didn't protect their website well enough.

Ah, the internet - Wild, Woolly & Wonky.

tonylukac said:

I never use pirated windows as it is the backbone of the system. I know someone who pirated win 7 when they had vista, and never had any problem. Is pirate the same as counterfeit? Not in all cases. 90% of the people of China pirated windows in the win 7 and earlier scenario. I don't know about win 8. Now EU is suing Microsoft about UEFI in yesterday's Techspot article (which prevented pirating), so I guess they will be pirating win 8 and beyond. I know Bill Gates net worth increased from $50 billion to about $67 billion in the last few years. How is it that they can offer linux for free? I find less bugs in the free firefox over internet explorer. They never fix most of IE's bugs until they release a new IE, thus a new windows. Try writing html and see all the bugs. I think if microsoft wants to make more money, they should support their mercedez-benz products better, and not actually charge the user for debugging their software, which is essentially what they do.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

who would be stupid enough to use counterfeit software at any price.
You don't realize just how stupid your comment is. People purchase counterfeit software and never know it.

I once read an article where the author had installed Windows XP into a virtual machine. After installation the OS would not activate and after calling Microsoft, they had discovered their copy of Windows had been blacklisted as counterfeit. This was a copy of Windows that they had purchased on-line several years before and was not known to be counterfeit. You would think a technical writer would have known a bad source before hand. If a technical writer falls prey to these gimmicks, what chance does an average person have when making purchases?

JC713 JC713 said:

This is interesting. Pretty obvious though.

amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

When you charge criminal prices for a product you re-release every other year, what do you expect? Kudos to companies that switched to OpenOffice and Thunderbird.

Guest said:

Also proves that DRM does not work.

Buster Keaton Buster Keaton said:

Therein lies the built-in checks and balances of using this stuff. There's the chance you will be harmed in some way.

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