Businesses can lose $491 billion from malware in pirated software

A recent joint study conducted by the National University of Singapore (NUS) and International Data Corporation (IDC) have concluded that $491 billion will be spent by enterprises worldwide on issues related to malware this year. Out of this figure, a substantial $364 billion is related to the cost of dealing with data breaches.

Sponsored by Microsoft, the white paper (pdf) noted that 46 percent of computers comes pre-installed with malware such as Trojan, worms, rootkits and even adware. These systems could be purchased from computer shops, resellers, and local markets.

Interestingly, the study found that the chances of a user encountering malware when using pirated software is one in three. That makes it considered a high chance in terms of probability. This figure jumps to more than 60 percent for PCs that came pre-installed with pirated software.

Consumers are not let off the hook either, and will spend approximately $25 billion on losses due to security issues. Financial losses are not the only factor here, with about 1.2 billion hours wasted on solving malware-related problems. Unfortunately, the study found that consumers are still not routinely installing security updates. In addition, about 43 percent of users worldwide are running outdated systems.

The study recommends that consumers purchase computer systems  from trusted sources, while enterprises are strongly encouraged to frequently check for new security updates and to monitor system usage by their employees.

Criminal organizations looking for financial gains and data theft  are always on the prowl for new ways to infecting your PCs. As such, the importance of security patches cannot be over emphasized. Being thrifty and trying to save a few bucks by installing pirated commercial software could cost much more in terms of time lost or even outright financial losses.