Aside from the fact that Microsoft loses money each time you purchase unlicensed software, there seems to be a pretty good argument against doing so. Not that you should need some convincing, right? After all, anyone who considers himself an upstanding citizen does not buy pirated software. Even if it’s Microsoft. Or maybe especially if it’s Microsoft.

Pirated software

Of course, what happens in the shadow does not always coincide with publicly made statements, and based on a study done by Microsoft, in Southeast Asia, the use of pirated software is still rampant. Worse, unlicensed software even comes with newly purchased computers. The study uncovered alarming details, not the least of which is that there are 5,601 types of malware to be found in laptops that come pre-installed with pirated Windows operating systems! (Source)

If you think that purchasing a branded laptop or desktop computer gives you an edge in terms of malware, don’t be so sure about that. Keshav Dhakad, Regional Director for Intellectual Property of Microsoft Asia Pacific and Japan, said in announcement:

“Many people assume that buying a name-brand PC is all that’s required to guarantee a good and safe computing experience. They don’t think about the software sold with the computer, and whether or not it’s pirated.”

While I am pretty sure consumers have a good idea whether the software that comes pre-installed is legit or not – just check the price! – it could be easy to turn a blind eye if you make considerable savings. However, with the results discovered by this study, the savings might just not be worth it at all.

The survey was conducted in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam in December last year. The subjects included laptops – branded – and DVD installers, a considerable percentage of which contained malware. And of all the malware found, majority were trojans.

Windows users are not strangers to security issues, but why increase the chances of encountering such by purchasing pirated software? You might argue that, naturally, the findings of the study would be beneficial to Microsoft in the sense that they will push for purchasing legit software. There is that, but you can hardly ignore this kind of threat for a few bucks saved, yes?

I would normally end with a statement along the lines of “just go Mac”, but we all know that system’s not all that immune anymore; so, whatever system you end up using, maybe it’s time to cough up a little more dough for security.

[Image via Zowchow]