Kaspersky has conducted a survey on software usage and IT security attitudes among Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants, in collaboration with Arabic technology news portal, AITnews.
With inputs from more than 1,700 Arab respondents across the world, the survey uncovered that 37% always download pirated software and applications, and 20% do this sometimes. More than half, 52%, of these Internet users say that they always check and verify the source of their applications and software before downloading, even though experts agree that the sources of pirated software are rarely reliable and secure themselves. A full 61% are aware of the privacy and security risks associated with unverified downloads, but still use pirated software or applications instead of investing in authentic versions.
The study revealed that 56% believe that buying authentic software is expensive. While they are aware that pirated products such as antiviruses do not function as well as the genuine product, they are willing to accept the risk as long as they are not required to pay. A third, 32%, believes that free versions are as good as the purchased version, even though vendors are always forthcoming about the limited functionality of freeware.
On a positive note, 43% always access software and applications from verified sources. This access includes paying for the solution, or downloading authentic versions from vendors.
In many cases, Internet users make uninformed decisions when it comes to protecting their data and privacy, including accessing and installing pirated versions to save money, and yet expose themselves to greater privacy and security threats. To protect from unnecessary risk, Kaspersky recommends downloading soft wares from trusted merchants and authorised online distributors.
Maher Yamout, Senior Security Researcher at Kaspersky, said, “The good news that we can take away from this is that a majority of people are convinced of the importance of using genuine software. The results of this survey, however, show that there is still an awareness gap about the potential for harm from pirated versions, as unverified software can expose the user to an even greater number of threats, and compromise their privacy or security. We strongly believe that pirated security software only provides the illusion of security, and there will be a price to pay. Very often, free versions from security vendors provide average results but paid versions are guaranteed to offer more advanced solutions and features that cover wider security areas. We urge users to denounce piracy, and to ensure that the software they use is always genuine and updated.”