Microsoft: Pirated software with malware will cost businesses $500 billion in 2014

Microsoft has been putting more of an emphasis on security lately with the recent opening of its Cybercrime Center complex. Today, the company released the results of a new study that claims both businesses and individuals will spend a lot of money in 2014 dealing with problems that will be introduced by malware found in pirated software products

Microsoft's Issues blog states that the study, conducted by IDC and the National University of Singapore (NUS), shows that worldwide, businesses will have to spend $500 billion in 2014 to fix problems with malware in pirated software. Individual consumers worldwide are predicted to spend $25 billion to fix issues from the same problem, along with spending a total of 1.2 billion hours to deal with malware.

David Finn, the Associate General Counsel and Executive Director of Microsoft's Cybercrime Center, gave an example from the study of how prevalent malware can be in PCs with pirated software. He stated:

NUS's forensic analysis ... uncovered that of 203 computers purchased in 11 countries as “new” (but actually loaded with pirated software), 61 percent were infected with dangerous malware. Most of the infected computers had more than one malware threat on them, and any one threat could infect multiple files.

The full white paper on the study has been released as part of Microsoft's Play It Safe Day campaign, which has been launched to help put the word out on the links between malware and piracy.

Source: Microsoft | Malware image via Shutterstock

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18 Comments

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I'm more worried about Bing AND Google placing Paid Advertisements for Malware laden software "bundles" at the top of their search results.... poor Grandma who went looking for Picasa and got the picasa.download.youmoron.got you.com

Out of several thousand PC's that we've cleaned in the past few years, only two had pirated volume license OS's and Office on them. Unless my minor metro area is one of the most honest places on Earth, the study seems to present a highly exaggerated figure.

Not sure about the pirated software part. But the malware number of 61% doesnt seem too off. I could also see a higher percentage of malware from any number of software (like when someone downloads skyrim from pirate bay). But I dont think the pirated software numbers are right. Malware, probably =).

Some people don't know they are on pirated software. Some computer repair shops will install a pirated version of Windows on your machine if they suggest a system wipe and won't tell you. Enjoy your notification to register Windows.

Geezy said,
I hope any shop like this gets busted but quick.

that will never happen. in my country there are almost no legal installs anywhere

At first I read this as Microsoft was losing $500 billion, and I was going to ask: does MS seriously think people have $500 billion to give back over to Microsoft? Or is piracy just a necessary evil to prevent the corporations from hogging everyones money, preventing them from siphoning it off and never giving it back to the public?

Edited by nullie, Mar 19 2014, 6:08pm :

nullie said,
Just use software without malware. BTW, at first I read this as Microsoft was losing $500 billion. In that case I was thinking about, do these companies actually think the public can pay $500 billion to license their software? Or is piracy in a way just a method to balance out the fact that the companies cannot possibly siphon off every dollar from the public, and piracy is a way to keep these companies from monopolizing all the resources?

They aren't saying that companies selling the software are loosing the money, just that the time required to fix it adds up to roughly that amount. Sure they want to put a bad spin on piracy but I don't understand your butthurt. This is nothing like the MPAA saying they lost a zillion dollars because of bittorrent.

notchinese said,

They aren't saying that companies selling the software are loosing the money, just that the time required to fix it adds up to roughly that amount. Sure they want to put a bad spin on piracy but I don't understand your butthurt. This is nothing like the MPAA saying they lost a zillion dollars because of bittorrent.

I WISH someone would write a virus which changes "loose" to "lose" (when the typist doesn't mean the opposite of tight).

Aheer.R.S. said,
Well then, use the pirated software that doesn't contain the malware. :p

I would also love to see the cost for licensed software / operating systems affected by malware by comparison.

Aheer.R.S. said,
Well then, use the pirated software that doesn't contain the malware. :p

Time for Microsoft to take this problem seriously and offer a torrent site with clean ISO's.