The real price of counterfeit software? $491bn in 2014! | FAST

The real price of counterfeit software? $491bn in 2014!

April 2014

As the appeal of apparent initial savings continues to drive the $2bn-a-year global counterfeit software industry, the impact on enterprises is set to quadruple this year. A study linking the sale of such software to cyber breaches has revealed that, compared to IDC’s estimate of $114bn in 2013, the revised prediction for 2014 stands at a staggering $491bn globally.

As counterfeit software are deliberately sold with incorporated malware, the resulting loss of data makes up the bulk of this figure at $364bn, with additional costs in dealing with identity theft, identifying and repairing the resulting damage, compounding this impact. 

It’s important to be aware that even brand new PCs can be infected with malware upon purchase, leaving the user open and vulnerable to security breaches from the moment they are switched on. The issue here stems largely from unsecured supply chains, with nearly a third of CIOs and IT managers obtaining their hardware from unvetted suppliers, contributing heavily to the overall problem.

These issues aren’t restricted to enterprises and consumers, with governments and public sector organisations around the world set to lose more than $50bn in 2014 as a result of malware-associated costs. It’s clear that greater awareness of these issues is needed – and urgently – to stem the growing tide of malware and pirated software.

Microsoft’s “Play It Safe” campaign has really brought this issue to the forefront of the IT community’s agenda, driving awareness of the links between malware and counterfeit software. The three key areas to protection against cyber breaches of this nature are: the use of multiple security tools; the introduction of software asset management (SAM); and conducting frequent software audits. Combined with wise initial purchasing decisions, these systems can ensure that every aspect of the IT estate remains clean and free from potential hazards of this kind.

Buying legitimate software saves businesses in the long run, and with the correct preventative measures in place, you won’t have to constantly walk through the proverbial minefield, where a disastrous breach could strike at anytime.