Microsoft has conducted a security study to demonstrate that pirated software opens the door to malware aimed at the locally stored data, as part of its global fight against piracy.
Microsoft purchased 118 counterfeited software DVDs and laptop computers from resellers in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam and found that 49 percent of these contained malware.
403 of the malware instances were unique, Microsoft said, and included malicious software such as backdoors, bots, password stealers and hijackers.
Windows Update was disabled on 77 percent of the examined computers, while 44 percent of the laptops came with a recycled hard drive containing pirated software.
“Pirated software is a breeding ground for cybercrime, and the cost of using it is potentially much higher than the price of buying genuine in the first place. We want to help consumers understand the risks involved and the steps they can take to ensure a safe and secure PC experience,” Dr. Dzahar Mansor, national technology officer, Microsoft Malaysia, said.