Microsoft suspected that its software was massively pirated in Asia and began an investigation.
In theory, PCs come pre-installed with a licensed version of Windows. However, Microsoft found that many PCs in Asian retail stores has pirated systems. The victims are usually the unsuspecting customers who will face a couple of challenges after buying these PCs.
Microsoft bought 166 PCs in nine Asian countries and found that all of the PC devices bought in South Korea, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Thailand were equipped with pirated software.
India’s pirated probability is 91 percent, Indonesia 90 percent, Taiwan 73 percent, Singapore at 55 percent, and the Philippines is 43 percent. South Korea and India are very well-developed markets, but they are defying the rules of software piracy. Overall, 83 percent of PCs purchased in the Asian market between May and July 2018 hosts pirated software, in addition to the free Windows consumer version, Microsoft said.
Mary Jo Schrade is the assistant general counsel and regional director of Microsoft’s Asian Digital Crimes division in Singapore. She said that in India, 85 percent of pirated Windows computers are loaded with malware, including backdoor software for Bitcoin miners.
Schrade warned" “Cybercriminals are constantly developing their technology to evade security measures and embedding their malware into pirated software is one of their strategies because it allows them to put a lot of personal computers at risk and get a lot of data credentials. When vendors sell pirated software, the software contains malware on their personal computers that not only encourages the spread of malware in the region but also places their customers’ personal information and digital identities at the discretion of cybercriminals.”