The estimated commercial value of unlicensed software in SA is R4.11 billion, says BSA ?
The biggest deterrent to using unlicensed software is the fear of being hacked or having data stolen, which overrides concerns about breaking the law and infringing intellectual property rights of software vendors.
This is according to the latest
"Fewer South African companies are using unlicensed software, opting to avoid the numerous security threats associated with counterfeit software, but one in three copies of software installed on local PCs during 2013 was still not properly licensed. The estimated commercial value (locally) of the unlicensed software is a whopping R4.11 billion," says the BSA – The Software Alliance (http://ww2.bsa.org/country.aspx?sc_lang=en-ZA).
Authors of the survey say fears over malicious code being added into pirated software is not unfounded, as 64% of global computer users cited unauthorised access by hackers as a top threat and 59% of respondents cited loss of data.
"Hopefully this drop signals the start of a downward trend," says
"Compared to unlicensed products, properly licensed software offers computer users more peace of mind when it comes to operational efficiency and security. Corporate users and general PC users are starting to view this peace of mind as an important component of success in business."
In a research whitepaper, entitled "
The IDC reports that, when it comes to Trojans and other malicious adware, 27% of downloaded counterfeit software incorporated these, which – at best – threaten a computer's performance and may even cause it to crash, leading to costs in terms of data and productivity losses. "In the worst case scenario, the malicious software may also perform actions that are not authorised by the PC user, like data deletion or copying of corporate information."
Often malicious software also prevents the installation of patches that
In spite of the potential damage unlicensed software might cause to PC systems and networks, less than half of IT managers are very confident their company's software is properly licensed, notes the
"Business should ensure that they only purchase software from reputable companies, as a seller proposing to violate copyright law could just as easily view your credit card data or personal information as another source of revenue that can be sold to identity thieves," warns
Waterman says the use of unlicensed software can easily be deterred within the business environment through the establishment of a formal policy on licensed software use. South African organisations have to consider implementing more robust software asset management programmes that ensure adequate controls are in place to provide a full view into what is installed on a network, and help to avoid the occurrence of security and operational risks.
According to recent reports, the BSA found that while emerging markets account for 56% of all PCs in use, they also account for 73% of software piracy.
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