The Dangers of using precracked software: What you need to know

Using precracked software can be tempting, especially if it means accessing expensive software without paying. However, it is important to be aware that using precracked software can be very unsafe. This is because precracked software has been modified by a third party, usually to remove the licensing or activation requirements, and often comes bundled with malware or viruses that can harm your computer or steal your personal information. Additionally, using precracked software is illegal and can result in legal consequences, including fines and even imprisonment. Therefore, it is highly recommended to avoid using precracked software. In this article, we’ll look at the dangers of using precracked software, the potential risks associated with it, and what you need to know to protect yourself.

What is Precracked Software?

As we all know, acquiring software can be expensive, with many popular software packages costing hundreds or even thousands of dollars. This has led to the proliferation of precracked software alongside many risks that come with it. Precracked software is software that has been modified or copied illegally with the intent to bypass the protection mechanisms put in place by the copyright holder. It is typically used for free access to software that would normally have to be purchased. The software is usually cracked to remove the activation code or other security measures, allowing free access.

Precracked software typically falls into two categories: software modified to remove the activation code or software copied and distributed without the copyright holder’s permission. Both of these activities are considered illegal and can open you up to potential legal action.

The BSA’s most recent Global Software Survey revealed that 37 per cent of software worldwide is unlicensed, and the BSA estimated that the commercial value of unlicensed software worldwide was $46.3 billion.

Software piracy and licence misuse statistics 2022 - Revenera
Software piracy and licence misuse statistics 2022 – Revenera

Security Risks Associated with precracked software

While using precracked software may seem like an easy way to access expensive software without paying for it, it is important to understand the risks and potential consequences. Because the software is typically modified or copied without the permission of the copyright holder, it opens up the possibility of the software containing a large number of issues of all sorts that can harm your devices and put to risk your data. That is why one of the most common dangers of using precracked software is the risk of malware and viruses.

Often, precracked software is distributed through unauthorized channels and comes bundled with malicious software designed to harm your computer or steal your personal information. This can include viruses, spyware, and other forms of malware that can compromise your system and leave you vulnerable to cyberattacks. In some cases, the damage caused by these viruses can be irreversible, resulting in losing important data or even needing to replace your entire computer.

report by security company Cybereason estimates that over 500,000 machines have been infected by malware from just one cracked app. This malware could steal information like passwords and cryptocurrency wallets saved in browsers and also take pictures or screenshots, which allowed it to collect very personal data.

Many countries have strict laws against software piracy, and using precracked software is considered a form of piracy. Additionally, using precracked software is illegal and can result in severe legal consequences. This can result in hefty fines, legal action, and even imprisonment, depending on the severity of the offence. It is not worth facing legal action or damaging your reputation to save a few hundred dollars on software.

Using legitimate software ensures that you receive regular updates and support, which can help keep your system running smoothly and securely. Also, in most cases, precracked software is often outdated, which means you may miss out on important security updates and bug fixes that legitimate software receives. This can leave your system vulnerable to security threats and make it more susceptible to crashes and other technical issues.

How to protect yourself from precracked software

The best way to protect yourself from the risks associated with using precracked software is to avoid using it altogether. If you decide to use precracked software, obtaining software through legitimate sources is important as avoiding downloading software from unverified sources, including torrent sites and other peer-to-peer networks. One way to protect yourself from precracked software is to use open-source software developed collaboratively and available for free, making it a cost-effective alternative to expensive commercial software. Additionally, open-source software is often more secure than precracked software, as it is developed and reviewed by a community of developers, making it less likely to contain malware or other security threats.

Another safe alternative to precracked software is free to trial versions of commercial software. Many software developers offer free trial versions, allowing users to test the software’s features and functionality before purchasing. While these trial versions are typically time-limited, they provide a risk-free opportunity to try the software and decide if it meets your needs. Also, educating yourself on software licensing and copyright laws is important because it can help you understand the risks and legal consequences of using this software and help you make informed decisions when acquiring the right one. Supporting legitimate software developers by purchasing their software is ethical and ensures that you receive regular updates and support.

So, in the end, even though the temptation to save money on expensive software may be great, the potential consequences are not worth the risk. That is why every IT professional recommends obtaining legitimate software licenses through authorized channels to ensure your safety and protect yourself from legal consequences. Remember, using legitimate software is safer and supports the developers who create the software you rely on every day.

Kristi Shehu is a Cyber Security Engineer (Application Security) and Cyber Journalist based in Albania. She lives and breathes technology, specializing in crafting content on cyber news and the latest security trends, all through the eyes of a cyber professional. Kristi is passionate about sharing her thoughts and opinions on the exciting world of cyber security, from breakthrough emerging technologies to dynamic startups across the globe.