If you’re using a pirated version of Windows, then I’m not mad at you. I’m just disappointed. But on a more serious note, you could also be significantly more vulnerable to security threats, according to a recent investigation by – you guessed it! – Microsoft.
Microsoft is currently waging a war against piracy in the piracy capital of the world – China. In China, approximately 100% of new computers purchased come with pirated versions of Windows. According to Microsoft’s study, 169 out of 169 PCs purchased from stores in China came with a pirated version of Windows already installed.
But more importantly, out of those 169 PCs, 91% of them came with malware and viruses pre-installed. Some of those 91% also featured deliberate security vulnerabilities that were designed to let hackers have their way with the system after they were purchased by consumers or businesses.
China’s software piracy industry is valued at a massive $9 billion. That number might not seem that significant until you consider the fact that the legal software market is valued at $2.7 billion. You can see why software companies like Microsoft think of it as a problem.
It could affect you too
Chances are, you didn’t purchase your computer from a retail outlet in China. But even if you didn’t, downloading pirated versions of Windows isn’t a great idea. Sure, you get a $100 operating system for free. But you miss out on Windows updates that patch critical security vulnerabilities.
If you would rather not get viruses and malware, then you should pay for a legitimate version of Windows. Or use free operating systems like Linux. After all, nothing on the internet gets given away for free – especially premium software. While a Windows torrent could look enticing, it could come preinstalled with software that quickly tears apart the security of your PC.
Lesson learned: don’t pirate free versions of Windows and don’t buy PCs from street vendors in China.