It’s Talk Like a Pirate Day! Whether you’re on deck shivering your timbers with your trusty parrot on your shoulder or going to the farmer’s market for brunch, Talk Like a Pirate Day actually serves as a great opportunity to discuss another type of piracy.
What do you know about pirated software? Are you familiar with pirated music and movies?
Are you aware of just how risky it all is to both the individual and business?
The definition of piracy
Not quite plundering the high seas, software piracy is defined as the deliberate act of copying and distributing software without having a legal right to do so. The same definition applies to music and movies that are copied and distributed by someone who does not have the legal right to distribute them.
There are several forms of piracy, including the following.
- Unauthorized duplication of software that was initially purchased legitimately. This is also referred to as end-user piracy.
- Illegally accessing protected software. This is also referred to as cracking.
- The reproduction and distribution of unauthorized or counterfeit software, using one or more file sharing platforms.
Software pirates do not have permission to distribute or use the software. This makes piracy theft, and a crime.
First things first, it’s illegal to pirate software
While no one is going to challenge you to a duel or make you walk the plank for pirating software, you should be aware that software piracy, or criminal copyright infringement, is in fact a felony. If caught and convicted, you could be facing large fines and even the possibility of up to five years of time behind bars.
Many businesses and individuals have been struck with fines and jail time for the act of pirating and using unlicensed software.
Be malware aware
Perhaps one of the biggest threats associated with pirated software, as well as music and movies, is that it’s all too easy to slip malware into them. The Federal Trade Commission has long warned about the risks of malware embedded into illegally shared and downloaded content.
The use of pirated and unlicensed software can put you at a great risk of becoming a victim of a malware attack. The cybercriminals behind the malware will have access to everything on your device, including your financial transactions.
Most of the platforms used to share and distribute illegally copied content are filled with Trojans, spyware, keystroke loggers, and other security concerns. This alone should keep people from downloading software illegally.
It’s not just the individual installing pirated copies of software they don’t want to purchase. Many businesses take this questionable and often illegal route, to avoid the expense of costly software needed to run their business.
While there’s nothing wrong with wanting to cut costs, there are some serious consequences that can accompany software piracy.
Keep in mind that when software and other content is pirated, the original creators of the content do not get compensated for the work that they own. It’s not always large faceless corporations. It’s often small and independent companies struggling to stay competitive.
A lack of support or updates to your software
Because the software that is installed on your device is unlicensed, you may not be able to get important updates on it. Quite often software can become vulnerable to malware attacks, which can further risk the security of your device. Software updates often address security vulnerabilities.
You will also not have access to support if your software doesn’t work correctly. The company it was stolen from is hardly going to feel compelled to offer you help with the software now giving you problems.
Cracked software is also at a higher risk of malfunctioning, which could mean trouble for your business if it doesn’t perform the way that you expect it to. Consider the potential problems if you’re using a pirated piece of software to protect your network against potential threats? If it doesn’t work correctly, you’ve just opened up the front door to your network.
Don’t set sail for trouble. Take the time to purchase the software and other content that you want to use. Pirating is illegal, risky, and can take a financial toll on content creators.