Thai firms vulnerable with unlicensed software

Thai firms vulnerable with unlicensed software

Computer users in Thailand are still using unlicensed software at an alarming rate despite its vulnerability to cyberattacks, according to a new global software survey from The Software Alliance, known as BSA.

The survey found the percentage of unlicensed software installed on computers in Thailand was 69%, a two-point decrease since BSA's previous study in 2013.

This rate of access has been influenced in part by important trends in Thailand.

The overall market for PCs has dropped for both commercial users and consumers but the consumer share of the installed base went up. There was some downward impact from the "consumer effect" on the unlicensed rate, but more of the drop related to increased software copyright enforcement.

"As the report underscores, it is critically important for a company to be aware of what software is on the company network," said Victoria Espinel, president and chief executive of The Software Alliance.

"Many chief information officers don't know the full extent of software deployed on their systems or if that software is legitimate."

The survey, which canvassed consumers, IT managers and enterprise PC users, showed that use of unlicensed software is still high and that individuals and companies are playing with fire when they use unlicensed software.

This is due to the strong connection between cyberattacks and the use of unlicensed software.

In 2015 alone, for example, cyberattacks cost businesses more than US$400 billion.

Ms Espinel the survey also found that 39% of software installed on computers around the world in 2015 was not properly licensed, representing only a modest decrease from 43% in 2013.

Even in certain critical industries, unlicensed use was surprisingly high. The survey found the worldwide rate is 25% for the banking, insurance and securities industries.

Chief information officers estimate that 15% of their employees load software on the network without their knowledge. But they are significantly underestimating the problem; nearly 26% of employees say they are loading unauthorised software on the network.

The report adds that companies can mitigate the cybersecurity risks of unlicensed software by ensuring all software is bought from legitimate sources and by establishing an in-house software asset management (SAM) programme.

Organisations that effectively deploy SAM will know what's on their network, and whether it is legitimate and licensed; will optimise their use of software by deploying software that best fits their businesses; will have policies and procedures in place that govern procurement, deployment and retirement of software; and will have integrated SAM fully into their business.

In this year's survey, the region with the highest overall rate of unlicensed software was Asia-Pacific at 61%, a one-point decline from 2013.

The next-highest unlicensed software rate was in Central and Eastern Europe with 58%, down three points, and then the Middle East-Africa at 57%, down two points.

North America continues to have the lowest rate at 17%, though this constitutes a significant commercial value of $10 billion.

In Western Europe, the overall rate dropped one point to 28%.

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