Please note, I stole the super cheap description from Symantec's video called, The 12 days of Christmas Spam." The super cheap tag can either refer to price, or the quality of counterfeit software (personal thought).
From the press release:
Symantec Corp. (NASDAQ: SYMC) today announced that it was awarded $21 million in damages against a large network of distributors selling counterfeit Symantec software.The investigation conducted by Symantec in collusion with the FBI and Chinese authorities also led to some criminal charges being filed in China.
The judgments were handed down by the United States District Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles, CA in favor of Symantec against ANYI, SILI Inc., Mark Ma, Mike Lee, John Zhang, Yee Sha, and related defendants.
"Our customers are the real winners as a result of this case," said Scott Minden, director, Symantec Legal department. "A judgment like this is a crippling blow against these particular syndicates and will drive them even further underground, making it more difficult for them to sell directly to unsuspecting users. It complicates their ability to operate behind the guise as legitimate businesses."
It appears that this particular case involved pirated software being made to appear as if it was the real deal. According to industry experts, the counterfeiting problem has increased 10,000 percent in recent history.
The software industry alone estimates it loses $40 billion a year because of pirated software. I wonder how many jobs this equates to?
Pirated (super cheap software) is also hawked via the millions (billions?) of spam e-mails attacking our in boxes in record amounts. Recently, Symantec issued a report based on the spam data they monitor revealing that over the current holiday season 71percent of all e-mail sent is spam.
Counterfeit software also can contain malware (malicious software), which can lead to your system becoming a zombie (part of a botnet to facilitate more spam) and even steal your personal and financial details. These details are then used to steal money either from you directly, or to steal money from financial institutions.
I'm sometimes amazed how a lot of current criminal activity ties in together via the digital world. All the average person needs to do is to watch all the spam messages they get and consider all the different schemes that are behind them. The schemes are nothing new, but the digital age has enabled criminals to reach out to more people than ever before.
Either this is occurring naturally, or someone pretty organized people are running operations along the lines of major corporations?
Besides the more personal dangers of buying pirated software, there is a lot of evidence the activity is making a lot of money for organized crime, rogue governments and terrorist groups, alike.
Press release from Symantec, here.