A sizeable chunk of small to medium-sized businesses are ready to use pirated versions of business software to decrease their IT spending, new research from Kaspersky has claimed.
The most popular types of software to pirate were project management, marketing and sales software, with 56% of respondents saying they were happy to consider pirating a piece of cybersecurity software.
In eight months, Kaspersky says found that 9,685 of its users encountered malicious malware and unwanted software programs masquerading as popular SME software products.
What type of software is being pirated?
During the course of the research, Kaspersky claims it found 4,525 unique malicious or potentially unwanted files which were spread via unofficially distributed (including pirated) SMB-related software.
But it noted that among small businesses with less than 50 employees, only 7% are were ready to take such a step.
Kaspersky highlighted that this type of activity can seriously affect corporate cyber safety, highlighting how hackers can actively distribute malicious files under the guise of commonly used software as a way to evade firewalls and compromise businesses.
“Even though malicious actors rely on email as the primary infection vector, cracked software downloadable via torrents is yet another trick that criminals use to lure victims into installing the malware on their systems, which in a business environment can lead to more data being compromised or stolen," said David Emm, Principal Security Researcher at Kaspersky.
In the case of budget restrictions, Emm recommended that businesses should use "reputable, community-backed, free open source alternatives that are much less likely to contain malicious code”.
Aside from giving open-source products a whirl, Kaspersky also recommends issuing employees standard accounts without admin rights, to help prevent the spread of malware.
The firm also highlighted that if your gadget is slowing down, overheats and makes a lot of noise even when no one is using it, someone might have installed a crypto miner on the device which is overloading the processor and video.
- Want to slash your cybersecurity spending without doing anything illegal? Check out our guide to the best antivirus software
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Will McCurdy has been writing about technology for over five years. He has a wide range of specialities including cybersecurity, fintech, cryptocurrencies, blockchain, cloud computing, payments, artificial intelligence, retail technology, and venture capital investment. He has previously written for AltFi, FStech, Retail Systems, and National Technology News and is an experienced podcast and webinar host, as well as an avid long-form feature writer.