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Microsoft: Pirated Win 7 Causes Malware Outbreak

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 12 comments
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Microsoft blames pirated copies of Windows 7 for the high rate of malware infections.

Yesterday Microsoft's Jeff Williams, the principal group program manager for the Microsoft Malware Protection Center, said that there is a direct correlation between the current malware infection rate and software piracy. To be more specific, he said that countries with high piracy rates are more likely to be infected by malicious code because they're reluctant to apply updates.

His theory is based on Windows and the security updates that consumers are neglecting to install through Windows Update. Microsoft's latest biannual security intelligence report, found here, claims that China's piracy rate is more than four times than that of the United States. France and Brazil also have extremely high piracy rates, and each country--including China--use Windows Update significantly less than consumers in the U.S.

Has Microsoft kicked itself in the rear with Windows Genuine Advantage? Although the company's pirate sniffing software has been successful in tagging non-legit copies of Windows, WGA is also turning consumers away from the updating process, especially those who bought a copy of Windows and feel justified in installing the OS on multiple computers. While there are cracks available to bypass WGA, there are many users who aren't quite so PC-savvy, leaving them wide open for attack.

As reported by Computerworld, there are also legit users who won't bow down to Microsoft's anti-piracy efforts: users in China, the United States, and other countries have protested against the software since its was originally embedded into the OS. With that said, perhaps Microsoft made the malware infection rate worse by locking out the non-legitimate copies of Windows. After all, if 41-percent of the world is running pirated Windows, maybe Microsoft should reconsider WGA?

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  • 3 Hide
    strangestranger , 4 November 2009 06:49
    No, maybe they should find them and ram a copy of windows up their arse. If they want it that much, let them have it.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , 4 November 2009 07:50
    Microsoft and any software maker's interest is making money. If they create a software model that protects their bottom line than they have a right to do so.

    And rightfully, anyone not adhering to that model, should be limited in what they can do. Microsoft is not in the business of making malware. If someone decides to get a zero dollar version of any O/S and gets it from a site that may contain questionable content, how is Microsoft to blame.

    Maybe zero dollar users should contact Microsoft and say where they get their free copy of Windows and Microsoft will do some testing to verify that there is no malware, right? ..... See how stupid this all sounds!
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , 4 November 2009 11:21
    After all, if 41-percent of the world is running pirated Windows, maybe Microsoft should reconsider WGA? - Wrong, maybe they should consider their pricing. Imagine if correctly priced, they can make 41% more sales !
    If a computer is worth $2000, maybe people will not mind spending $150 on an OS (Say like XP), but that's not the case in China or other developing countries. The cost of the PC is drastically low, sometimes in the $300-400 range. It's not likely that those users will buy $100 worth software as MS sells it.
  • -2 Hide
    daship , 4 November 2009 11:54
    If they are smart enough to crack a pirated version, then they are smart enough to use caution and install anti virus and anti spyware/malware.
  • 0 Hide
    timbozero , 4 November 2009 13:35
    Perhaps a compromise for Microsoft, who obviously want to protect their IP, is to continue with WGA but reduce its impact. That is, WGA will allow legitimate copies to have full access to updates and, illegitimate copies will only get 'critical' updates that protect users from malware and viruses (so as to protect the overall internet and the user base of Windows as a whole).
  • 1 Hide
    skalagon , 4 November 2009 13:52
    Pirates are probably more likely to get malware due to them downloading large amounts of potentially infected torrents etc. but I'd say we are probably a good deal better equipped to deal with it aswell, without the need for any windows defender shit.
  • 0 Hide
    swamprat , 4 November 2009 18:06
    timbozeroPerhaps a compromise for Microsoft, who obviously want to protect their IP, is to continue with WGA but reduce its impact. That is, WGA will allow legitimate copies to have full access to updates and, illegitimate copies will only get 'critical' updates that protect users from malware and viruses (so as to protect the overall internet and the user base of Windows as a whole).

    That sounds sensible but sort of awkward to manage - maybe it'd also help them track pirating a bit as they'd know which users had illegitimate copies rather than not seeing them at all.

    The pricing issue is difficult too, maybe if there were something like the cut-down netbook version that was proposed it'd work - otherwise you'd have people buying developing market versions in expensive countries like the UK where the price is less out of line currently.
  • 1 Hide
    99lawrence , 4 November 2009 18:27
    I'll stick with Linux thanks. And I might even dual boot a free copy for gaming some time. How's that for the answer? The thing is though, I'd happily pay £30 odd for a copy of the home user Windows 7.
  • 1 Hide
    99lawrence , 4 November 2009 18:32
    I'd also add I agree with DarkOfSol. If I had £2000 to spend on a PC, I'd factor in a copy of Windows 7. Unfortunately, I'm not made of money.
  • 1 Hide
    devilxc , 4 November 2009 18:38
    Quote:
    If they are smart enough to crack a pirated version, then they are smart enough to use caution and install anti virus and anti spyware/malware


    This is not necessarily true. In countries like China it is not just 'pirates' that have illegal copies of windows but just 'Joe Blogs'. Much like pirate DVDs you can buy pirate software which you just install as if it were 100% genuine.

    Windows is too expensive for some people and this is the only option.
  • 1 Hide
    princeofdreams , 4 November 2009 19:35
    I feel Microsoft are between a rock and a hard place here and cannot win, They make a product and have every right to protect that product, hell if it was Apple who found you using a pirated copy of their OS, they would disable it, send in the SWAT and have your children sold into slavery for your transgression.

    Microsoft, need to rethink the pricing structure for their products, but even that will not suffice to combat piracy, if you can get a stripped down version of Windows for $30 bucks yes people would want it, but they would still crave the full feature set from higher priced versions and so piracy would continue.

    As i said they cannot win, so if people pirate the OS for what ever reason, then they just have to accept they do so at their own risk. Microsoft cannot be blamed for this
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , 5 November 2009 00:26
    microsoft already give critical updates to illigimate users.