Windows Piracy Remains A Major Threat

Shiver me timbers! Microsoft has conducted its own investigation on the new PC market in Asia, and found that Windows piracy is quite a thing over there.

It’s downright insane — the number of computers that are sold with a pirated Windows license.

As reported, the technology giant purchased PCs between May and July from Asian markets in order to determine how many are shipped with counterfeit Windows licenses. And by that extension, preinstalled malware.

Well, the results are downright mind blowing!

100% of systems acquired in South Korea, Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand come with pirated software, while the figure for Windows licenses that were not genuine came in at 91% in India and 90% in Indonesia.

Only Philippines was the country with the lowest rate of pirated Windows on new computers, and it reported numbers around the 43% mark.

Overall, no less than 83% of all computers Microsoft purchased from Asian markets were preloaded with unlicensed versions of Windows.

And not just that, the company also discovered malware to be installed on the majority of computers. Suspicious software went hand in hand with coin miners on these PCs, which was put in place to generate revenue from certain parties without uses knowing about it.

Mary Jo Schrade, Assistant General Counsel and Regional Director of Digital Crimes Unit in Asia at the Microsoft in Singapore, talked about this, saying:

“Cybercriminals are constantly evolving their techniques to evade security measures and embedding their malware into pirated software is one of their tactics as it allows them to compromise large numbers of personal computers and access the amount of stolen credentials with ease.

When vendors sell pirated software containing malware in their personal computers, they are not only fueling the spread of malware in the region but are also putting their customers’ personal information and digital identity at the mercy of cybercriminals.”

Sad state of affairs, really.

The company has not revealed whether it plans to take any legal action against retailers selling pirated copies of Windows this way. But keeping in view past history, Redmond may consider such an option, particularly as it involves the operating system on new computers.

Let’s see.