The speed in which we have transitioned to the digital forms of communication has been compared to the magnitude of change that occurred in the industrial revolution. At no other time have we experienced such an alteration in the methods that we use, and in the race for global digitalization, companies and governments haven’t been able to keep up with the cybercriminals devoted to stealing proprietary property. The thieves involved in these crimes are both stealthy and sophisticated, requiring that proactive steps be taken to protect against their piracy.
Companies are highly invested in the programs and products that they offer, and theft of these can do everything from eat away at the bottom line all the way to complete organizational destruction. Symantec has outlined the five types of software piracy as:
- Counterfeiting: The illegal duplication, distribution, and/or sale of copyrighted material with the intent of imitating the product that is copyrighted. This can include packaged software with counterfeit copies of discs, software programs, labels, manuals, license agreements, security features, and registration cards.
- Internet piracy: Downloaded software from the internet from websites that offer free software or in exchange for others, internet auction sites that offer out-of-channel or counterfeit software, peer-to-peer networks that give unauthorized transfer of programs that are copyrighted.
- End user piracy: This occurs when an individual(s) make reproduced copies of copyrighted software without authorization. It can include using a single license copy of software and installing on more than one device, copying discs or USB’s for distribution or installation, using an upgrade offer without having a legal original copy of the version that will be upgraded, getting restricted or non-retail or academic software without obtaining a license, exchanging discs in or even out of the work environment.
- Client-server overuse: The condition where there is a central copy of a program that has more users on a network accessing it simultaneously than are licensed.
- Hard-Disk loading: The condition of selling new computers or devices with illegal copies of software loaded on the system or hard disks as an incentive for purchase.
In each of these cases, proprietary and/or copyrighted intellectual property is being sold or shared without authorization of the creators/designers, and in a short amount of time this can destroy a business.
While some individuals and companies are turning to lawsuits to try to curb the problem of digital piracy, these can take long periods of time and are costly. Some government agencies are locating the perpetrators and shutting them down, but again, this process often involves multiple governments, laws, and agencies working in tandem, and can take months, if not years.
“Digital piracy goes beyond the theft of music and videos that many are familiar with, and extends to some of the most refined software programs that corporations have devoted millions in developing. Da Vinci Forensics and CyberEd works closely with companies to assist in protecting ownership, coordinating with IT security departments, and educating all staff.”