Software piracy can ‘cost billions’

Updated 04 April 2013
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Software piracy can ‘cost billions’

Pirated software can cost users a great deal of money because of possible malware infection, according to Samir Noman, president of Microsoft Saudi Arabia.
“The chances of infection by unexpected malware are one in three for consumers and three in 10 for business,” said Noman, quoting a global study conducted by the International Data Corporation (IDC).
The IDC study entitled “The Dangerous World of Counterfeit and Pirated Software” was released over the weekend as part of “Play Fair Day”, Microsoft's global initiative to raise awareness on software piracy.
The study said that consumers will spend a billion hours and $ 22 billion identifying, repairing and recovering from the impact of malware while global enterprises will spend $ 114 billion to deal with the impact of malware-induced cyber attacks. The study analyzed 270 websites and peer-to-peer (P2P) networks, 108 software downloads, and 155 CDs or DVDs, and interviewed 2,077 consumers and 258 IT managers or chief information officers in Brazil, China, Germany, India, Mexico, Poland, Russia, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Researchers found that of the counterfeit software that does not come with the computer, 45 percent comes from the Internet, 78 percent is downloaded from websites or P2P networks included some type of spyware, while 36 percent contained Trojans and adware.
“The cybercrime reality is that counterfeiters are tampering with software code and lacing it with malware,” said Noman.
He said that “some of this malware records a person's every keystroke, allowing cybercriminals to steal a victim's personal and financial information, or remotely switches on an infected computer's microphone and video camera, giving cybercriminals eyes and ears in boardrooms and living rooms.”
The best way to secure yourself and your property from these malware threats when you buy a computer, Noman said, is to demand genuine software.
“Our research is unequivocal: Inherent dangers lurk for consumers and businesses that take a chance on counterfeit software,” said Rafeik Al-Okaily, head of the General Directorate for Copyrights at the Ministry of Culture and Information.
He added that some people choose counterfeited software to save money, but this "ride-along" malware ends up putting a financial and emotional strain on both the enterprise and casual computer users.
The survey also found out that 64 percent of the respondents who had used counterfeit software experienced security issues. Forty-five percent of the time, counterfeit software slowed PCs and the software had to be uninstalled.
Forty -eight percent of the respondents noted that their greatest concern was data loss and 29 percent were most concerned with identity theft.
Embedding counterfeit software with dangerous malware was a new method for criminals to prey on computer users who are unaware of the potential danger.
The survey also explored the surprising level of end-user software installations made on corporate computers, exposing another method for the introduction of unsecure software into the workplace ecosystem.
Although 38 percent of IT managers acknowledge that it happens, 57 percent of workers admit they install personal software onto employer-owned computers.
The survey noted that respondents told IDC that only 30 percent of the software they installed on their work computers was problem-free.
Sixty-five percent of IT managers agree that user-installed software increases an organization's security risks. For many in the enterprise, user-installed software may be a blind spot in ensuring a secure network.
Customers are encouraged to visit www.microsoft/security to learn about malware and ensure their machine is not infected. If malware is present, the site offers tools to remove the infection. Customers shopping for a new computer are encouraged to buy from a reputable source to ensure they are receiving genuine Microsoft software.


Yemen FM: No peace before Houthi disarmament

The Arab coalition is striving to rebuild the humanity destroyed by the Houthis, says Yemen’s Foreign Minister Khalid Al-Yamani. File/Getty Images
Updated 4 min 50 sec ago
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Yemen FM: No peace before Houthi disarmament

  • Alongside military operations, the coalition is undertaking humanitarian work to “rebuild the humanity destroyed by the Houthis
  • The Houthis’ “weapons and missiles must be handed over, and there is no room for dialogue or negotiation about them

LONDON: There cannot be peace in Yemen unless Houthi militias abandon their arms, said the country’s newly appointed Foreign Minister Khalid Al-Yamani.

The internationally recognized government will not allow Iran, which backs the Houthis, to maintain a foothold in Yemen or interfere in its internal affairs, he added.
“This terrorist regime” in Tehran, “which supplies terrorist militias all over the world, is close to collapse as a result of international and popular pressure by the Iranian people, who are suffering as their terrorist state spends billions here and there for a foolish expansionist idea,” Al-Yamani said.
“The modern and civilized world that respects international law cannot accept the existence of a state sponsor of terrorism and all subversive and terrorist militias in the region,” he added.
“If Iran wants to be part of the social, cultural and political fabric of our region, it must rationalize its behavior.” Its “terrorist behavior… encourages the spread of violence in the region,” he said.
Al-Yamani added that he will start his tenure as foreign minister by focusing on negotiations and the efforts of the UN special envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths.
The government is working round the clock with the envoy’s office so he can present his ideas on June 7 after consultations with the government, Al-Yamani said.
There will be meetings in the next few days with Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, and a special meeting with the negotiating team, all within the framework of the envoy’s efforts in the region, Al-Yamani added.
Griffiths has visited several countries in the region, and has met with Yemen’s government and the leadership of the Saudi-led Arab coalition.
The Houthis “suggest that political arrangements should come before security and military arrangements,” said Al-Yamani.
But “the coup against the state in January 2015 came as a result of the preference of political over security arrangements,” he added.
“And after the Houthis achieved their goals, they turned against the national consensus reflected in the peace and partnership agreement, under which the president provided facilities to save the homeland from the fate we have reached today,” Al-Yamani said.
“We cannot talk about any political arrangements because we consider them to be a foregone conclusion if we achieve the withdrawal and delivery of heavy and medium weapons and missiles,” he added. “We cannot retry something we tried before... The coup must end.”
The Houthis’ “weapons and missiles must be handed over, and there is no room for dialogue or negotiation about them,” he said. “Heavy and medium weapons should be handed over, and those militias must be withdrawn.”
Al-Yamani criticized Iran’s ambassador to the UN for speaking in dovish language while his country causes destruction in Yemen.
“Most of what we have been able to remove of the mines planted by the Houthis had the trademark of Iranian industry,” Al-Yamani said.
“Even if we achieve peace today, we will need decades to demine... There will be no possibility of safe living in the areas where mines were planted.”
Al-Yamani expressed the gratitude of his government and people for the Saudi-led coalition’s support for the government to achieve security and peace in Yemen and the whole region.
Alongside military operations, the coalition is undertaking humanitarian work to “rebuild the humanity destroyed by the Houthis, rebuild the Yemeni psyche destroyed by the war, distribute goods throughout Yemen, and reconstruct what was destroyed by the Houthi war machine,” he said.
“All this confirms that the project of restoring the state… is the project of life,” which is “opposed to the project of death brought by Iran and its Houthi militias to Yemen,” he added.
This interview is simultaneously published in Asharq Al-Awsat.