Microsoft outlines risks of downloading dodgy software



February 11th, 2010

What could possibly go wrong?

So, what are the risks of activation exploits? Searching for, downloading, or installing activation exploits or counterfeit software on the Internet is risky, because sites that advertise these pirated products often contain malware, viruses, and Trojans, which are found bundled with or directly built into the activation exploit or counterfeit software. A study by research firm IDC, The Risks of Obtaining and Using Pirated Software, shows that one in four Web sites offering counterfeit software attempted to install unwanted or malicious code upon downloading. And this rate is rising. Media Surveillance, an anti-piracy solutions company based in Germany, recently downloaded more than five hundred pirated copies of Windows 7 (and Windows activation exploits) and found that 32% contained malicious code. These are very disturbing figures – especially when considering that resellers may be using these downloads to claim that the PCs they sell include genuine Windows. Buyers of new PCs should always check for the Certificate of Authenticity (COA) to verify that the PC they are purchasing contains only genuine Windows. A quick visit to our How to Tell website tells buyers what a genuine COA should look like.

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