ITPSS: Using unlicensed software can hurt your business

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A graphics designer uses Adobe Photoshop software on his computer. Image: Zaim Kasmat

Waqiuddin Rajak

Entrepreneurs were told to avoid jeopardising their business by using unlicensed software that may leave their systems vulnerable to attacks.

ITPSS’ Head of Research and Development Ariffin Sabli said that using “cracked” versions of business applications is not only a breach in intellectual property rights but also puts the business owners at risk of losing their investments.

“Without them realising, their database might have already been breached, sensitive information circulated irresponsibly, or worse, total shutdown on the business operations,” said Ariffin on the sidelines of a Cyberbattle talk recently.

“Cracked” software is a common lingo used to refer to IT-related programmes or applications that were made free through various tweaks which could include altering executive files to bypass legitimate registration, or using “key-generators” often detected as malwares by anti-viruses.

“Whether used for individual or business purposes, we definitely discourage people from using cracked applications to ensure their systems and data are safe.”

Despite having no statistics to offer on the usage of cracked software in the country, Ariffin acknowledged that Brunei is no exception to the worldwide trend; with numerous kinds of cracked applications ready to be downloaded by the public.

ITPSS Head of Research and Development Ariffin Sabli delivering a talk at the Cyberbattle event that concluded at the Annajat Shopping Complex recently Image: Waqiuddin Rajak

“Some people think they could be spared from these dangers by not connecting their devices to the internet, but they are totally wrong. There are many other programmes and frameworks on the internet that allow one to collect information from a device and send it to another whenever a connection is available,” he said.

Ariffin demonstrated this using laptops and mobile phones and was able to show how fast a full takeover can be done. The speaker gained full access to the data stored in the devices in only a matter of seconds after being connected to the internet.

“So even if you’re not connected, a component of the cracked application could have already been collecting sensitive data through an undetected background process and send it to the originators the next time you’re online,” he said.

The ITPSS official recommended the public to use legitimate copies of software as the developers have invested significantly to develop their products and bolstering user security.

The Bruneian