Friday, December 21, 2007

$500 reward for eBay pirates selling super cheap (counterfeit) software

The Software & Information Industry Association is willing to pay up to $500.00 to anyone, who inadvertantly buys pirated software off an auction site.

Software piracy is a huge problem. The International Anticounterfeiting Coalition estimates that counterfeiting is a $600 billion a year problem. They also estimate that the problem has grown 10,000 percent in the past two decades.

More specific to the counterfeit software part of the all of this was revealed in a Business Software Alliance (BSA) and IDA white paper released in May estimating the problem at $40 billion a year.

Pirated software might not work as well as it is supposed to and it might even contain malicious software, which is often referred to as crimeware. The person, who puts this on their system is likely to have all the personal and financial details stolen and become an identity theft statistic.

Microsoft has a site to help consumers identify counterfeit software. Earlier this month, they filed 52 lawsuits and referred 22 cases for criminal investigation based on an investigation -- jointly conducted with the FBI and Chineses authorities -- into a counterfeiting syndicate based out of China.

Microsoft has also worked with eBay and information is also available on their site on how to avoid buying counterfeit software, here.

A lot of pirated software is sold on auction sites. The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) has launched a campaign to go after this problem on auction sites because they believe a lot of auction consumers are being defrauded when pirated software is sold as the real McCoy.

From the SIIA press release on this campaign:

“The sale of pirated software doesn’t only hurt the software industry,” said Keith Kupferschmid, Senior VP Intellectual Property Policy & Enforcement. “It also hurts consumers. Consumers feel “taken” when they buy software, only to find out when it arrives that the software is a fake -- they did not get an instruction manual or can’t get support from the software company. The Don’t Get Mad, Get Even program is a way for unsuspecting buyers to get even with auction sellers who rip them off by selling them counterfeit software.”

SIIA press release on reward, here.

Counterfeiting is a huge problem which hurts economies (takes jobs) and funds organized criminal and some say (terrorist?) activity. It also puts the person, who inadvertantly buys it at a fair amount of personal risk. Everyone can help fight it by reporting it to the SIIA, or the other links I've included in this post.

Despite what some people believe, counterfeiting is far from a victimless crime!

SIIA home page, here.

BSA and IDA white paper on counterfeit software, here.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

MyTruston points out the two most important TIPS to protect your identity this season!

Tom Fragala at MyTruston wrote an interesting post about the two most important things to do during the season to avoid having a grinch (identity thief) ruin it for you.

From the MyTruston blog:

There are a lot of lists about identity theft flying around this time of year. 12 tips of Christmas, top 10 ways to protect yourself from identity theft...that kind of thing.

Well, to save you time and keep things simple (less is better), I am going to boil it all down to two tips that most of you probably already do. But please, make sure you are diligent in keeping up on these.
Can you guess what they are? In case you aren’t sure, I’ve provided a link so you can see if you were right.

MyTruston, the first identity service that doesn’t require that you compromise your personal information is growing, also. Yesterday, they announced a partnership with Trend Micro Systems, a leading provider of security software.

MyTruston is offering their identity theft service on a free 90 day trial if you purchase a gift card from Trend Micro Systems. The gift card also offers a nice discount on their much talked about software.

The nice thing about the free trial period is that you don’t have to worry about forgetting to cancel the deal and having your credit card “crammed” with recurring charges.

I'm frequently amazed at who some of the companies are that employ this marketing practice (cramming).

Another nice thing about the MyTruston service is that the prevention part of the service has always been free and you only pay for the recovery services.

If you were to shop around, I think you would find it is the best value in the growing field of paid identity theft protection services.

And when spending your hard earned money, it always pays to check around.