The latest Microsoft Security Intelligence Report reveals that software key generation software poses the biggest risk to computer security worldwide.
If you're thinking about illegally downloading a piece of software or borrowing a friend's copy to install on your own computer, then think twice. Software activation key generators (or Keygens) are becoming the biggest threat to computer security worldwide.
According to the latest Microsoft Security Intelligence Report published this week, the programs that create licensing codes and serial numbers -- and which are therefore a firm favorite with those who use pirated applications -- are being used more and more as a way to launch malware attacks.
The report, for the first half of 2012, provides in-depth analysis for 105 countries and regions around the world, drawing on data from over 600 million systems, 280 million hotmail accounts and billions of web pages processed by Bing.
It found that in 103 of the 105 regions, Keygens were a top-10 threat, taking the top spot in the US, Brazil, France, Turkey, China, Mexico and Spain.
As Tim Rains, Microsoft's director of Trustworthy Computing explains on his blog, Keygen refers to "a family of tools that generates keys for various software products. By nature, Keygen is not malicious. However, because it is commonly bundled with, or leads to, malware, it is classified by the Microsoft Malware Protection Center as ‘Potentially Unwanted Software.'"
More than 76 percent of Keygen programs detected on systems studied by the report also contained malware.
The full 800-page report can be downloaded at http://www.microsoft.com/security/sir/default.aspx
Latest stories in this category:
- Google Glass eyewear lets winking snap pictures
- Top sports tweets of 2013
- Facebook adds video ads
- Internet chieftains press Obama over NSA spy swoops
- Microsoft expects to name new chief early in 2014
- Mandela tops 2013 Google searches
- IBM sees five tech-powered changes in next five years
- Obama to meet tech chiefs on surveillance