Pirated, cracked, unauthorized or unlicensed software may be dirt cheap or come for free, but they may cost you your digital security. With unknown publishers and no standard testing procedures in place, such software contain several security flaws which can be used by hackers to gain access to your computer. Reportedly, 1 in every 3 pirated software carries malware that can damage a computer or steal the user’s personal information including details of their bank accounts.
Websites that host pirated software often redirect their visitors to potentially dangerous websites and end up getting their computers infected with a wide variety of threats such as bots, adware, potentially unwanted applications (PUA) and even ransomware (malware that encrypts your data and demands a ransom in exchange).
More importantly, cracked or pirated software do not receive software updates that are necessary for patching security vulnerabilities and hence they stay at risk of getting exploited by attackers.
At Quick Heal Labs, we have observed various cases of software activators for Windows Operating System, Microsoft Office and even antivirus that come bundled with downloader that drop potentially unwanted applications (PUAs). Download the PDF file below to read our technical analysis on some pirated software including the infamous KMSpico Windows Activator.
Important security steps to take
- Only use licensed software that have verified publishers.
- Avoid downloading cracked/pirated versions of any software.
- Avoid downloading and installing activators for activating OS or other software.
- Get Quick Heal’s antimalware to protect your computer from potentially unwanted applications.
Subject Matter Expert:
Tejas Girme (Threat Research and Response Team)