Free does not exist
This saying we all know very well. Would this also count for software? I would say:”What you think?”. Is there any free software in 2014? A good question. A lot is free nowadays, people say. I would say it in a different way : ”It appears free”. Yes, but you don’t have to pay for the free applications like Facebook, Twitter or WhatsApp. You have to think a little bit and connect the dots. Why should this companies have a value of billions if their assets were free? There has to be something of value in this. That value is given by you to them. If you as company wants to know how many groceries are active in the city you can contact the chamber of commerce and buy this list. Do you want a list of more personal information you can easily use Facebook. You, as Facebook user, fill in all the information. This information has a value in money, companies have to pay for it. I’m not bothered with this. I think before I post on the internet, what I share and what I don’t. Behaving paranoia is not necessary. What amazes me is that people complain about companies like Facebook and Google but they trash their computer by ignoring all alarm bells. Companies like Facebook, Google or twitter have to be compliant to privacy laws. Here comes the catch. You think that illegal version of Office, or even worse, your antivirus program you downloaded is free? You are wrong. The commercial companies nowadays have to comply to privacy laws. More and more illegal software contain malware, which is wrong software, which puts your system vulnerable. A so called crack has opened a back door. Those criminals gained now access to your data on your device. A lot of people will say but I do have protection on my device installed. I see a lot of people disable UAC (User Access Control) because it’s annoying during working, it’s not, leave it enabled. I have to remind you that you start the installation of this program and neglected all warnings. You are the boss of your smartphone or computer so if you let the program change your settings it’s not the fault of Microsoft or the antivirus program company. Office 365 Premium costs around 99 euros per year. You can install Office on 5 computers (Windows and Apple Mac) and 5 mobile devices. Crashes and data loss does not have a value of 99 euros for you? For companies but also private users I advice since I’m active in ICT to use legal software. Vulnerabilities are released more often the last years. These are becoming more complex and difficult to trace and detect. It’s important to be secure by doing the correct things during the basic usage. Stay away from strange websites and don’t install software from unknown sources. Stability and safety starts with yourself. I advice to follow the steps if you have illegal software on your device:
- Backup your data
- Reset your device to manufacturer setup/settings
- Install the legal Operating System you got with your device. Do you not have it, buy a legal version
- Choose default settings during installation
- Take care you have a legal virusscan program, Windows 8/8.1 has this built-in
- Install other applications, also follow the golden rule, use legal versions
- Make a backup
- Restore your data from the first backup
- Do a full scan
- Stay away from unknown strange emails, websites and programs
- Enjoy a fast and stable device
I hear a lot of people say they don’t have anything important on their device.
- Criminals want your account (Apple ID, webshops, Google Play, etc…) so they can abuse it for shopping
- Criminals are interested in your bank information (o yeah, a lot of people forget, they use internet banking)
- Data which doesn’t seem to be important to you can be interesting to abuse for example identity fraud
A good ICT professional will always promote legal software. UPDATE: I got a lot of reactions via Facebook and Whatsapp. Here are some additions:
- only a virusscanner is not enough. A lot people install a backdoor, malware, etc which not always is being detected by a virussscanner. No, brand or edition is irrelevant. NONE are protecting 100%.
- Using illegal versions is and stays cause number 1, even they come from trustful sources (yeah right, don’t fool yourself).
- aside a virusscanner you should also use an antimalware solution, firewall with IPS feature, rootkit scanner, etc….
- run netstat -b to check out which programs currently using which connection.