04 Feb 2011

Microsoft warns of pirated software

To help fund their operations, criminal syndicates and drug cartels are supplying malware-infected pirated software, Microsoft recently warned.

According to David Finn, associate general counsel at Microsoft, these groups are using the profits from software counterfeiting to fund drug and weapons trafficking, kidnapping and extortion. Not only do unsuspecting people fund drug cartels, they also put their computers at risk with all types of malware.

La Familia Michoacana, a Mexican drug cartel, earns more than $2.2 million a year with 180,000 points of sale in stores, markets and kiosks, according to Microsoft.

“Given the global worldwide impact of the issue, and the fact that it touches so many lives, it’s crucial that organizations, governments and businesses collaborate on a regular basis to share resources, build awareness and generate new ideas in our effort to reduce piracy”, Finn said.

In a global survey conducted by Microsoft, the top security concerns for counterfeit software for 38,000 consumers in 20 countries, included data loss and ID theft. Of the consumers polled, 80 percent have concerns about using counterfeit software, and 70 percent feel genuine software is more secure and easier to keep up to date.