Savvy Computing:
Are You a Pirate?

February 2003
by Reid Goldsborough

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If you’re like me, you’ve gotten many e-mail messages lately cajoling you to buy anti-virus software. “YOUR COMPUTER IS AT RISK!” shouted one in all capital letters. “PROTECT YOUR COMPUTER,” implored another.
If you don’t already have anti-virus software or need an update, these offers may sound enticing. After all, to anyone who’s connected to the Internet, computer viruses are a serious threat and anti-virus software is a must. And the price for the software advertised in these e-mail messages is typically very attractive.
Problem is, offers such as these are usually just as illegal as the virus activity they purport to protect you from. For the most part, these are pirated programs, illicitly copied software that’s sold inexpensively because it didn’t cost the seller anything to obtain it.

The Perils of Pirated Software

If you receive these kinds of unsolicited commercial offers, or spam, the likelihood is high that they’re a kind of come-on, regardless of which product or service is being offered. With pirated anti-virus software, you face the following risks, according to Sarah Hicks, Vice President of Product Management at Symantec Corp., whose Norton Anti-Virus and Norton System Works software are often the victims of such piracy:

You don’t know what you’re getting. All the files may not be included. Other files, such as viruses or other malicious code, may be inserted into t…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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