The Federation Warns of the Dangers of Illegal Software Downloads

The Federation Against Software Theft (The Federation) warns that users should be aware that downloading illegal software packages could leave Internet users vulnerable to a host of malicious software attacks.

John Lovelock, Director General, Federation Against Software Theft said: "Risky and careless illegal downloads of what appears to be an innocent piece of software will often leave users desktops potentially riddled with a host of harmful viruses including malicious software, worms, trojans, and spyware."

He went on: "All too often users are fooled into the temptation of what seems to be a risk-free download, the reality is almost always the opposite with the user left open and vulnerable to malicious attacks or even worse, infection of the whole enterprise."

Clearly, many Internet users need to be made aware of how easily they can become a victim of such a harmful attack. Certain malware, such as viruses and worms, can install themselves on a computer and spread repeatedly to other networked computers if they are not properly protected.

Emphasising the need for greater user awareness Richard Hales of F-Secure commented: "Viruses enter computers generally through e-mail attachments or files downloaded from the Internet. Viruses can also be placed on websites, and they enter computers when visits are made to such sites. New viruses emerge every day, and the means to spread them are increasing constantly."

"Malware programs can also cause computers to become slow and unstable. Internet users can also unintentionally install spyware on their computers, " he added.

The epidemic problem of malicious software is growing at an alarming rate with ever more harmful online threats appearing every day. In the year 2000, there were 45,000 different viruses in the wild. By 2006, the number of viruses has increased to huge 185,000 and F-Secure labs now detect between 30 and 60 new items of malware every day.

Lovelock concluded: "The surge in growth of online threats means that Internet users need to get educated on the increasing menace from malicious software. The simple truth is that these illegal downloads almost always cause harm to the computer and if users want to stay safe they should avoid downloading illegal software in the first place. My experience in life is that if it costs nothing it's usually worth nothing, and that definitely applies here!"

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