Enterprises will spend nearly $500 billion in 2014 to deal with the problems caused by malware on pirated software, according to an IDC study released by Microsoft.
Individual consumers, meanwhile, are expected to spend $25 billion and waste 1.2 billion hours this year because of security threats and costly computer fixes, according to the study, conducted by IDC and the National University of Singapore (NUS).
David Finn, associate general counsel & executive director, Microsoft Cybercrime Center, said that the Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit recently brought together 100 cybercrime experts from around the world – and across the areas of IP crimes, botnets, malware and technology-facilitated
NUS’s forensic analysis, for example, uncovered that of 203 computers purchased in 11 countries as new (loaded with pirated software), 61 percent were infected with dangerous malware. Most of the infected computers had more than one malware threat on them, and any one threat could infect multiple files.
“At the Microsoft Cybercrime Center, we’re focused on reducing malicious software crimes to keep personal and financial data safe and secure for everyone, reducing the financial incentive for criminals. Why? Because as the study uncovered, it’s a top concern for consumers, businesses and governments,” Finn said in his blog post.
60 percent of consumers surveyed say their greatest fear from infected software is the loss of data, files or personal information, followed by unauthorized Internet transactions (51 percent) and hijacking of email, social networking and bank accounts (50 percent).
43 percent of these same consumers admitted they do not install security updates, making them sitting ducks for cybercriminals.
The study also revealed that enterprises are particularly hard hit by malware introduced via pirated software. In 2014, businesses will spend $127 billion dealing with security issues and $364 billion dealing with data breaches, and almost two-thirds of these losses, or $315 billion, will be the result of organized crime – malware launched by financially motivated criminals.
As for governments, they could lose more than $50 billion dealing with the costs associated with malware on pirated software in 2014. Government officials surveyed by IDC say their greatest concern from infected software is the loss of business trade secrets or competitive information (59 percent), followed by unauthorized access to confidential government information (55 percent) and the impact of cyberattacks on critical infrastructure (55 percent).
The global study surveyed 1,700 consumers, IT workers, CIOs and government officials in 15 markets, in addition to conducting the forensic analysis on the 203 computers.