A significant portion of small and medium-sized businesses are ready to use pirated versions of enterprise software to cut their IT spending, according to new research from Kaspersky.
The most popular types of software to pirate were project management, marketing and sales software, with 56% of respondents saying they would like to consider pirated a piece of cybersecurity software.
In eight months, Kaspersky found that 9,685 of its users encountered malicious malware and unwanted software programs masquerading as popular SMB software products.
What type of software is being pirated?
During the investigation, Kaspersky claimed that it found 4,525 unique malicious or potentially unwanted files distributed via unofficially distributed (including pirated) SMB-related software.
But it noted that of small businesses with fewer than 50 employees, only 7% are willing to take such a step.
Kaspersky stressed that this type of activity can have serious consequences for the cybersecurity of companies, and emphasized how hackers can actively distribute malicious files under the guise of widely used software as a way to bypass firewalls and put companies at risk.
“While attackers rely on email as the primary infection vector, cracked software that can be downloaded via torrents is yet another trick that criminals use to trick victims into installing the malware on their systems, which in a corporate environment could lead to that more data is being compromised or stolen,” said David Emm, principal security researcher at Kaspersky.
In the case of budget constraints, Emm advised companies to “use reputable, community-backed, free, open source alternatives that are much less likely to contain malicious code.”
In addition to recommending open source products, Kaspersky also recommends issuing standard employee accounts without administrative privileges to help prevent the spread of malware.
The company also stressed that if your gadget slows down, overheats and makes a lot of noise even when no one is using it, someone may have installed a cryptominer on the device that is overloading the processor and video.
- Want to save on your cybersecurity expenses without doing anything illegal? Check out our guide to the best antivirus software