Microsoft survey reveals 80% of new PCs from Asia have malware

Microsoft survey shows that more than 80% of new PCs from Asia have malware-infected pirated software

A recently released Microsoft security study shows that 83% of brand new PCs from nine Asian countries are laced with pirated software, according to an Economic Times report.

Microsoft purchased and tested a total of 166 personal computers from retail stores within Asia, including India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

Microsoft said that each of the 166 computers that they inspected was offered at a lower price and bundled with free software packages to attract customers.

Their findings revealed that 100% of computers acquired in South Korea, Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand came with pirated software, while India had 91%, followed by Indonesia 90%, Taiwan 73%, Singapore 55% and the Philippines 43%.

The company also discovered that a large number of computers that they tested were infected with malware such as Trojan and Bitcoin mining, a virus which leaves users vulnerable to malicious cyber-attacks.

Mary Jo Schrade, Assistant General Counsel and Regional Director of Digital Crimes Unit in Asia at Microsoft in Singapore, talked about the malware they found installed on the computers Microsoft examined.

“Cybercriminals are constantly evolving their techniques to evade security measures and embedding their malware into pirated software is one of their tactics as it allows them to compromise large numbers of personal computers and access the amount of stolen credentials with ease,” she said.

She added: “When vendors sell pirated software containing malware in their personal computers, they are not only fuelling the spread of malware in the region but are also putting their customers’ personal information and digital identity at the mercy of cybercriminals.”

Microsoft are yet to confirm whether or not they’re likely to take any legal action against any of the retail stores that were involved in selling malware-infected software computers.

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