On the Seventh Day of the Holidays a Counterfeiter Gave to Meee…

ZombiesBotnetsSpamMalware. Sounds more like Halloween than Hanukkah. But while trick-or-treaters are unlikely to receive gadgets in their candy bags, holiday gifters need to be wary of the sources of the computers and software they are purchasing.
Pirated software can facilitate identity theft, theft of financial information, or just downright spying. But that cheap, illicit software in your very own computer is also used for greater perversions outside of your home. Studies show that illicit software is abused by cybercriminals to run DDOS attacks, take down websites, steal customer information, or compromise cybersecurity. And once it’s on your machine, it’s difficult to combat:
“Where compromised systems resides mean little to people running botnets, since the malware within the PCs can be controlled through a server in any location… Spreading a botnet across multiple countries makes it more difficult for law enforcement to take the network down.”

This illicit software serves quite the one-two punch. Piracy hurts consumers all the while undermining legitimate business and industry. According a recent BSA study, the “shadow market” of pirated software reached an astounding $63 Billion in 2011 alone, with over 40% of software failing to pass the litmus test of legitimacy.
With numbers this staggering, as consumers, it takes extra special precaution to avoid falling into the zombie hands of cyber thieves. We have stressed- and we will continue to stress- that purchasing legitimate products from trusted sources is the most effective way to ensure your gifts are exactly what you intended them to be. Otherwise, your Christmas ham may in fact, be a Christmas spam.

Image from iStock

Subscribe for updates from GIPC