Pirated Software with Malware to Cost Businesses $500 Billion in 2014

By: Radu Tyrsina
2 minute read

Software vendors lose billions of dollars each year because of piracy, but users of pirated software are also seriously affected, as the products they’re using can easily be infected with malware. A new study sheds some light on how much it will cost this year to fight this kind of malware.
pirated software malware costs business
Microsoft keeps trying to show why it’s good to buy software products in a effort to counterattack high piracy rates and, obviously, to increase sales of its own products. For that, Redmond has recently opened its Cybercrime Center complex where more than 100 cybercrime experts from around the world will join their forces to fight against botnets and malware.  We must agree that it’s a great way to show your corporate social responsibility skills.

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A new study conducted by IDC and the National University of Singapore and reported by the Cybercrime Center has revealed some interesting numbers regarding the malware affecting pirated software. Businesses worldwide are said to spend nearly $500 billion in 2014 to deal with the problems caused by malware on pirated software. This amount is so big that it’s really hard to put it somehow into perspective. Let’s just say that you’d be able to buy 1 billion iPads or Surface tablets with it, or 1 billion iPhones, or solve the water problem in Africa, or God knows what.

malware pirated software costs

On the other hand, individual consumers are expected to spend $25 billionand waste 1.2 billion hours this year because of security threats and expensive computer fixes. You can see in the above graphic that Asia/Pacfic users, just like in the first graph concerning businesses, seem to be the most affected. If you’re interested in security and piracy topics, then I think you’ll find the white paper pretty interesting. Here are some of the most important conclusions from it:

  • Consumers and enterprises have a 33% chance of encountering malware when they obtain and install a pirated software package or buy a PC with pirated software on it.
  • When asked about their biggest fears associated with a security event, 60% of consumers put loss of data or personal information in the top three, and 51% placed unauthorized access or online fraud in the top three.
  • 43% of consumers don’t routinely install security updates on their computers
  • The biggest fears of government officials polled were loss of business trade secrets or confidential data (cited by 59% of respondents), unwanted
  • In 2014, IDC estimates that enterprises will spend $491 billion because of malware associated with pirated software, which breaks out to $127 billion in dealing with security issues and $364 billion dealing with data breaches.
  • Almost two-thirds of these enterprise losses, or $315 billion, will be the result of the activity of criminal organizations.
  • Because of its large installed base of PCs and high piracy rate, the Asia Pacific region will incur more than 40% of worldwide consumer losses and more than 45% of enterprise losses from malware on pirated software.

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