Microsoft’s “Play It Safe” campaign promotes awareness of the connection between malware and piracy.
In conjunction with Microsoft’s campaign, a study by the International Data Corporation and the National University of Singapore was released titled “The Link Between Pirated Software and Cybersecurity Breaches.” The study surveyed 1,700 consumers, IT workers, chief information officers, and government officials in Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Russia, Singapore, Ukraine, the UK, and the United States, and analyzed 203 computers acquired in Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, South Korea, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, and the USA.
According to the study, enterprises worldwide are expected to spend almost $500 billion this year to deal with problems caused by malware deliberately loaded onto pirated software. Broken down that’s $127 billion for security issues and $364 billion dealing with data breaches.
Consumers will spend $25 billion and waste in the neighborhood of 1.2 billion hours because of security threats and computer fixes stemming from malware on pirated software.
Additionally, governments could lose more than $50 billion dealing with costs associated with malware on pirated software.
Microsoft’s Naim Yazbeck observes that cybercriminals “are profiting from any security lapse they can find, with financially devastating results for everyone.”
The survey revealed a number of fascinating facts:
- 60 percent of consumers say their greatest fear from infected software is the loss of data, files or personal information
- 51 percent are worried about unauthorized Internet transactions
- 50 percent are concerned about hijacking of email, social networking and bank accounts
- 43 percent of the same respondents do not install security updates, leaving their computers open to attack by cybercriminals
- 59 percent of government officials are worried about the loss of business trade secrets or competitive information
- 55 percent are concerned about unauthorized access to confidential government information
- 55 percent stated the impact of cyberattacks on critical infrastructure was a major concern
- Nearly two-thirds of enterprise losses ($315 billion) will be caused by organized criminals.
- Close to 20 percent of the pirated software in enterprises was installed by employees
- Some 28 percent of enterprise respondents reported that security breaches causing network, computer or website outages occurred every few months or more often
- 65% of those outages involved malware on end-user computers.