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TMCNet:  Enterprises Worldwide Expected to Spend Nearly U.S. $500 Billion to Deal With Malware

[March 21, 2014]

Enterprises Worldwide Expected to Spend Nearly U.S. $500 Billion to Deal With Malware

(AllAfrica Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Enterprises worldwide are expected to spend nearly $500 billion in 2014 to deal with issues caused by malware deliberately loaded onto pirated software and another $127 billion dealing with security issues, of which $8 billion accrues from the Middle East and Africa and $364 billion dealing with data breaches.


This is according to a new joint study conducted by IDC and the National University of Singapore (NUS). Global consumers, on the other hand, are expected to spend $25 billion, including Middle East and African consumers who will pay $2 billion, on security threats and costly computer fixes stemming from malware on pirated software. This will also amount to 1.2 billion hours of wasted time in 2014.

The study, titled "The Link Between Pirated Software and Cybersecurity Breaches," also revealed that 60 percent of consumers surveyed say their greatest fear from infected software is the loss of data, files or personal information, followed by unauthorized Internet transactions (51 percent) and hijacking of email, social networking and bank accounts (50 percent). However, 43 percent of those same respondents do not install security updates, leaving their computers open to attack by cybercriminals.

"There is now a firm link between the detected malware on illicit software and criminal organizations, for whom malware in pirated software can be a lucrative vector for cyberattacks. With many of these criminal organisations also behind the distribution of infected software, it means that an increase in software piracy translates to an increased vulnerability to cyber attacks," said Daniel Kamau, Anti-piracy lead for West, East, and Central Africa and Indian Ocean Islands.

"In sub-Saharan Africa the internet population is fast growing, meaning a large and unsuspecting base of targets to cybercriminals. Combine this with the lack of strong cybercrime laws and high piracy rate on the continent and its clear why we're seeing more and more people fall victim to attacks." Government officials expressed concern about the potential impact of cybersecurity threats to their nations. According to the survey, governments are most worried about the loss of business trade secrets or competitive information (59 percent), unauthorized access to confidential government information (55 percent), and the impact of cyberattacks on critical infrastructure (55 percent). It is estimated that governments could lose more than $50 billion to deal with the costs associated with malware on pirated software.

The African continent accounts for only 2 percent of global GDP, yet it accounts for 10 percent of global cybercrime incidents. Across the continent, governments are increasingly partnering with local associations and vendors to combat the scourge of piracy and the associated risk of cybercrime. In Kenya, Microsoft has already partnered with the Kenya Copywrite Board to combat piracy, which according to the 2011 BSA Global Software Piracy Study, currently sits at 83% across the East and Southern Africa region.

"The Kenyan Copyright Act which was last amended in 2013 clearly sets out exclusive rights for rights holders and penalties for those who infringe on copyright and related rights. Research has shown that it is not only important to protect this type of innovation, but also to highlight the risks associated with using unauthorised software. These include exposing yourself and your business to potential malware infections, a loss of data and even cybercrime incidents, " says Marisella Ouma, Executive Director of the Kenya Copywrite Board.

"Cybercriminals are profiting from any security lapse they can find, with financially devastating results for everyone," said David Finn, executive director and associate general counsel, Microsoft Cybercrime Center. "Motivated by money, they've found new ways to break into computer networks so they can grab whatever they want: your identity, your passwords and your money. That's why at the Microsoft Cybercrime Center, we're focused on putting an end to these malicious acts to keep personal and financial data safe and secure, while reducing the financial incentive for criminals." The study was released as part of Microsoft's "Play It Safe" campaign, a global initiative to create greater awareness of the connection between malware and piracy.

Copyright CIO East Africa. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).

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