When companies use illegal copies of professional software, it is usually done in an attempt to save time and money getting around the lengthy registration process and high fees. As is the case almost every other time when someone tries to cut corners, this process ends up costing companies far more in the long term. Using this pirated professional software, companies place themselves at risk for being caught and fined for the transgression – but that's not the only problem with using illegal programs. Downloading illegal copies of software often allows malware and other viruses to piggyback alongside the program, gaining access to sensitive private information on company networks.
A newly released report by the BSA Global Software Survey notes that security threats like these are the top reason to stay away from illegal software, as malware can have a disastrous effect once it gets past the company's other security measures. Far too often, a business will download an illegal copy of certain professional software and find that their customer's private information was leaked, or even that the company's bank information was stolen – along with all the money.
According to BSA President and CEO Victoria Espinel, “Most people don't know what is installed on their systems. That needs to change... There are common-sense steps managers and administrators can take to make sure their organizations are using genuine, properly licensed software.” Along with the inclusion of malware, security threats posed by unlicensed software include unauthorized access by hackers and a general loss of data.
The BSA encourages employees of other companies to anonymously come forward and speak up when they discover that their company is using unlicensed software, often offering cash rewards. As much as the group may be working to make sure that software developers actually get the money they ask for, for the products they make, these actions also serve to prevent companies from losing money thanks to the risks of illegal software.