Fighting cyber crime is expensive and the cost of dealing with the impact of malware-induced cyber attacks for enterprises in Asia Pacific will reach US$39 billion in 2013.
This figure is higher as compared to consumers worldwide as they are expected to spend US$22 billion identifying, repairing and recovering from the impact of malware, says a study commissioned by Microsoft and conducted by IDC.
Another study conducted by Microsoft in Southeast Asia in February 2013 has shown an average malware infection rate of 69 percent in branded PCs using pirated software.
Microsoft tested 282 computers and DVDs from the following nations: Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines and Vietnam. Testing revealed 5,601 instances and 1,131 unique strains of malware and virus infections.
Several pirated copies of Windows were found embedded with malware spread across popular PC brands such as Dell, HP and Lenovo.
"The cyber crime reality is that counterfeiters are tampering with the software code and lacing it with malware," said Jeff Bullwinkel, director of legal and corporate affairs for Asia Pacific and Japan at Microsoft. "Some of this malware records a person's every keystroke -- allowing cyber criminals to steal a victim's personal and financial information -- or remotely switches on an infected computer's microphone and video camera, giving cyber criminals eyes and ears in boardrooms and living rooms. "
Demand genuine software
Microsoft suggests the best way to protect yourself from these malware threats when buying a computer is to demand genuine software.
The IDC white paper also explored the level of end-user software installations made on corporate computers and 56 percent of IT managers acknowledge that it happens in Asia Pacific.
Seventy-four percent of workers agreed they install personal software onto employer-owned computers but only 12 percent of the software they installed on their work computers was problem-free.
Sixty-six percent of IT managers said that user-installed software increases an organisation's security risks.
The IDC study, titled 'The Dangerous World of Counterfeit and Pirated Software', was released as part of Play It Safe Day, Microsoft's global initiative to bring awareness to issues related to software piracy.
"Our research is unequivocal: Inherent dangers lurk for consumers and businesses that take a chance on counterfeit software," said John Gantz, chief researcher at IDC. "Some people choose counterfeit to save money, but this 'ride-along' malware ends up putting a financial and emotional strain on both the enterprise and casual computer users alike."
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