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News

The link between piracy protection and hacking

Metaforic : 17 September, 2008  (Technical Article)
Andrew McLellan of Metaforic points out the vulnerability of unprotected application software to hackers who use them to deploy malicious payloads
Metaforic is urging software vendors to take responsibility for the integrity of their software as piracy levels continue to rise and the risk of cyber crime intensifies.

"Piracy is a persistent problem which continues to cost software vendors worldwide billions of pounds in lost revenue, as well as harming local resellers and putting a strain on research and development in the technology industry," comments Metaforic's CEO Andrew McLennan. "More worryingly, hackers are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their methods of attack. The issue of hacked software and compromised websites goes far beyond that of piracy and standard copyright infringements. It can - and has - led to an explosion in the number of cyber crimes, including the exploitation of personal data, delivering malicious payloads to user machines, the installation of spyware and even taking over a PC as part of a Botnet for hosting illegal content, often unbeknown to the owner."

According to a study released earlier this year by the Business Software Alliance, the global piracy rate now stands at 38%. Whilst the US currently boasts the lowest levels of piracy, roughly one out of every three copies of personal computing software has been stolen from the manufacturing factory or retail shelves.

"Hackers are often able to re-create the most advanced security features, so many users are unaware that the software they have downloaded or purchased is not legitimate. An example of this is Symantec's leading anti-virus software Norton, which is in the top five list of most pirated programs in use around the world," continues McLennan. "It can also take some time before any compromise is noticed by either the user or the software vendor, by which point the user's system may already be under control of the bad guys. This raises the important question of whose responsibility it is when users become victim to cyber crime as a result of illegally produced software."

In order to avoid such incidents, Metaforic feels it is imperative that Independent Software Vendors deploy an effective anti-tamper solution to protect against all common hacker entry points and prevent the professional duplication or multiple installation of its software.

"Vendors need to ensure that the software they provide is secure and free from harmful malware. Our anti-tamper solution, MetaFortress, armours applications from the inside out, preventing and protecting against even the most sophisticated forms of tampering, piracy and hacking attacks," explains McLennan. "Not only can MetaFortress prevent against piracy and compromise, it can also maintain integrity of code and thus the integrity of the business itself."
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