Risks of using Pirated Software


Last Updated on April 8, 2016

Although many people consider it file sharing or borrowing, software piracy is a serious issue, it carries several consequences, and it is illegal. It might seem like an innocent act, but the discount you are getting, or the free software you are getting from a friend, is theft, and it is against licensing terms by all the companies who produce the software.

You are in turn causing the price to go up for those who actually pay for legitimate software, and putting yourself in harm’s way. If the price seems too good to be true, or you are considering “sharing” with friends, you may want to reconsider before you do so.

Some of the many risks that are involved with software piracy include:

  • The possibility of getting caught, and if serious enough, having lawsuits against you by the company you are stealing from;
  • Risks of losing a job, or getting thrown out of school for unethical behavior;
  • The possibility of losing out on a future job opportunity because of unethical behavior; and,
  • Having to repay the cost of the pirated software, plus any other costs if you are actually sued by a company for having stolen their property.

Most people who do use pirated software think they will never get caught, and that what they are doing is not so bad. But, when you consider some of the more serious risks, and they have happened in the past, you have to reconsider where you stand, and whether a few dollars is worth your reputation and good name, your future, and possibly a much higher cost, in the event lawsuits are filed against you (and others), because of the software piracy you have engaged in, just to be able to use a program for free.

Although not everyone gets caught, and in fact most people don’t, you have to assess the risks, and ask yourself if it is really worth saving a couple hundred dollars for your company, or to use free software during school, as opposed to the alternate risks that might be lurking. You have to consider not only yourself, but also what is being done to the economy, as well as other users, who are in turn paying the higher costs for new software that is being released, because you want to use it for free, and are using pirated programs, rather than paying for the full version that companies distribute.

For those who do not think they will get caught, there are other risks of software piracy that can directly affect you as well, and these can attack your computer and personal information. Some of these additional risks of using pirated software include:

  • The possibility of having viruses on the software, because it is created by someone who hacks information and uses it against the computer owner;
  • You might have your entire hard drive wiped out, depending on what is contained in the pirated software; and,
  • You are not going to receive the latest virus updates and program updates, due to the fact that you are not connecting to the internet, and the software is only pirated for the actual use of the program, not to bring you live updates, and the latest changes that are being made to the program.

So, in addition to financial risks, and in worst case scenarios high fines and possibly jail time, even if you do not get caught, you are running the risk of ruining your computer, and losing everything on it. Plus, you are getting outdated versions of the programs you are using, meaning you might not even have the software that you want, when you do choose to use pirated programs.

It might seem like a good idea on its face, but if you really do consider the risks, software piracy is not worth it. In addition to being illegal, and hurting other consumers, if you get caught the consequences are much higher than the payoff. So, rather than use a pirated program, you should reconsider this option, and you should just pay the cost that the company is charging you, to have full access to the programs, and to ensure you are not caught for the act of software piracy.

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