Pirated software will only bring legal troubles, malware threats: BSA

An anti-software piracy group has warned local businesses that using unlicensed software in their workplace will not only give them legal troubles but also vicious threats from hidden malware.

Photo shows (from left) IPOPHL deputy director-general Teodoro Pascua, BSA senior director Tarun Sawney, and OMB chairman Anselmo Adriano

The Business Software Alliance (BSA), an organization of some of the biggest software companies in the world that is dedicated to fighting piracy, said the cost of using bootlegged software is not worth the risk.

BSA senior director Tarun Sawney said more than legal problems, businesses that are using pirated software should worry about exposing themselves through various types of malware.

Ironically, Sawney disclosed that the top software products being used illegally by businesses are operating systems and anti-virus solutions.  

BSA said CIOs around the world are finding unlicensed software is increasingly risky and expensive. Organizations now face a one-in-three chance of encountering malware when they obtain or install an unlicensed software package or buy a computer with unlicensed software on it. 

Each malware attack can cost a company $2.4 million on average and can take up to 50 days to resolve. To the extent that the infection leads to company downtime or lost business data, it can also seriously affect the company’s brand and reputation, BSA said.

The cost for dealing with malware that is associated with unlicensed software is growing too, according to BSA. It can now cost a company more than $10,000 per infected computer and cost companies worldwide nearly $359 billion a year.

On the local front, the BSA and the Philippine government are teaming up to help businesses address the ongoing issues related to the use of unlicensed software in the country. 

Coming on the heels of a public notice shared by the Optical Media Board (OMB) earlier this week urging companies and individuals to stop using unlicensed software, the BSA is launching “Legalize & Protect”, a campaign that aims to reach business leaders with messages about the legal, productivity, and security benefits of using licensed software.

BSA said thousands of companies in the Philippines continue to utilize unlicensed software assets, posing serious business and security risks.

“Our goal is to help business leaders understand the imperative to legalize and recognize that investing in licensed software is good for their security, good for corporate reputation, good for corporate productivity and good for their bottom line,” said Sawney.

BSA said it is working with governments in major Asean markets to help the business communities understand the economic benefits of using legal software.

According to IDC, businesses gain an average increase in profits of up to 11 percent based on legalized software assets. As a matter of national competitiveness, government leaders are encouraging the business community to convert to legal assets.

For its part, the OMB recognizes the importance of addressing the growing concerns on unlicensed software use among businesses, and has vowed to continue its sustained and concerted crackdown to ensure compliance.

“We recognize that companies using legal software perform better, protect data better and bring more benefits to our country,” said Anselmo Adriano, chairman and CEO of OMB. “Good and profitable corporations must legalize their software assets to protect the interests of their clients, their data and ultimately the health of their business.”

In the months ahead, BSA said it will launch public education efforts to ensure business leaders are aware of the risks of using unlicensed software. This will include marketing, communications, social media content and in some cases, direct appeals to businesses to legalize their software assets.

The Asia Pacific region has the highest rate of unlicensed software use in the world at 57 percent.

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