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February 25, 2015

Unlicensed software and malware link is ‘real’

BSA encourages organisations to tighten up on unlicensed software.

By Alexander Sword

A new report from BSA | The Software Alliance suggests a correlation between malware and unlicensed software.

Data revealed that the two values trend upwards together, although this does not prove or disprove causation. The correlation coefficient was found to be 0.79, where 1.0 represents a perfect correlation and 0 represents no correlation. By comparison, the smoking and lung cancer correlation coefficient is 0.72.

For example, 2013 data from the USA showed an unlicensed software rate of 18 percent and an average malware encounter rate of 13 percent per quarter. In Indonesia, the two rates were 84 percent and 44 percent respectively.

"Malware infections can cause significant harm, and organisations are struggling with how best to protect themselves," said Jodie Kelley, Senior Vice President and General Counsel at BSA. "This analysis shows that the link between unlicensed software use and malware is real, meaning good software management is a critical first step to reducing cybersecurity risks."

As a result of the findings, BSA encouraged organisations to implement internal controls to ensure all software installed on their systems is fully licensed.

"The findings from this report should serve as a wake-up call for a lot of UK businesses," said Warren Weertman, Senior Counsel for EMEA at BSA | The Software Alliance. "Nearly 1 in 4 pieces of software installed in the UK are unlicensed which may very well be leaving both consumers and businesses open to security breaches through malware."

He added: "We encourage all companies to make sure they safeguard themselves against these risks by implementing software asset management processes and ensuring they have the right number of licenses for the software they are using."

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The data from 81 countries was based on BSA’s Global Software Survey and Microsoft’s Security Intelligence Report.

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