‘One in two PCs with fake software infected with malware’

KUALA LUMPUR: Microsoft Malaysia yesterday unveiled the findings of a forensic study showing one in two personal computers (PCs) running conterfeit software in Malaysia was infected with malware.

The five-nation study, conducted in December last year on 282 computers and DVDs, found an average malware infection rate of 69 per cent.

“We found that 50 PCs were infected with malware because of counterfeit software,” said its National Technology Officer Dzahar Mansor at a media briefing yesterday.

The research found malware infection rate in DVDs at 80 per cent, with 52 per cent in hard disk drives and 10 per cent in name-brand computers with swapped hard disks.

Many people assume that buying a name-brand PC will guarantee a good and safe computing experience, but pirated copies of software embedded with malware spread across numerous brands, said Dzahar.

“PC brands such as Acer, Asus, Dell, Lenovo and Samsung were infected with malware when software was sold with the computer,” he said.

Malware which is loaded onto counterfeit software infects and steals information from a victim’s computer.

Microsoft’s Security Forensic Team discovered 1,131 strains of malware in the study, including the highly dangerous “Zeus”, a password stealing Trojan known to use “keylogging” and other mechanisms to monitor personal information.

Cyber criminals are then able to abuse the victim’s online services, including online bank accounts, email systems and social networking site.

To prevent this, Dzahar advised customers to install the latest signature-based anti-virus programme that runs up-to-date, purchase genuine software from trusted sources, ensure all software comes in the original packaging, and when purchasing a PC with Windows, look for the genuine label and Certificate of Authencity.

However, he said, all of this effort becomes futile if customers are negligent by opening a back door through their own security defence, such as by using non-genuine software. — Bernama

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