In an ideal world, one shouldn’t be talking about the reasons for using or justifying the use of genuine software. However, that is far from the reality of the world we live in.
Even large MNCs and governments are at times guilty of utilizing pirated software. In such a scenario, an individual really has to make a decision based on moral as well as economic and technical factors.
Over the years, I made a conscious effort to switch to licensed software and completely do away with pirated software. I couldn’t do this overnight, due to costs involved and limited funds.
However, I haven’t used pirated software for past few years. And I couldn’t be happier. Here is why:
Security: When you’re using pirated software, you’re relying on cracks developed by someone else. Even though there are crackers, who do it due to moral reasons and thus do not bundle malware. More often than not, such cracks have Trojans, viruses and even ransomware.
A couple of days ago, a friend of mine called me. None of the files on his friend’s computer were opening. Including images and videos from a pre-wedding shoot they had done. Turned out, he had downloaded pirated copy of a video editing software.
It had ransomware, which had encrypted his HDD. He was asked to pay 1.1 bitcoin to decrypt the files. As per current exchange rate, that amounts to Rs. 57,610!
While there is ransomware which does not encrypt files, and deletes them instead and then creates fake files to try and fool the victim. Most of the ransomware can encrypt files and decrypting them without a key is next to impossible.
For sake of my friend, I hope he is able to recover files with the help of professionals. However, chances of it happening are slim.
Even though this is an extreme case and your computer can get infected by ransomware through other means. Using pirated software only increases the chances of this occurring.
Plus my computer is used to make online transactions. And I wouldn’t feel safe doing that if I knew there was a chance a key logger was recording my passwords and sending it to hackers. Using genuine licensed software helps me reduce the chance of this happening.
Latest versions and features: one of the major benefits of running licensed software is that I can run the latest version of the software and get all the features of the new release, without any hassle.
I initially bought a Windows 7 license for my earlier assembled computer. When I upgraded to this new computer, I was able to use the same OS. Then Microsoft offered Windows 10 free of cost to Windows 7 and 8 users, who had a genuine license. So even though I bought windows license several years ago, yet, I am using the latest OS. I haven’t had to spend a single rupee or search for cracks.
I can also be sure, any software vulnerabilities that come out will be patched soon by the software developer. Without such updates, software and OS are venerable to numerous viruses and exploits on the web.
It’s not that expensive: With the advent of software as service, costs have come down substantially. Owning and running a genuine copy of Adobe Photoshop was out of reach of most people. A single user license of Photoshop CS6 costs Rs. 56,000 in India.
Today, you can get a monthly subscription of Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom for as little as Rs. 676 a month!
This works out to Rs. 8,112 a year. Peanuts in comparison to the actual license cost, one had to shell out earlier. You can also get MS Office and other software these days for extremely low price due to this subscription model. With these you usually have free bundled offer of cloud storage. And the assurance, you will be running the latest version of these, as soon as they come out!
Peace of mind: In the end, you know that you’re doing the right thing by using genuine software. Legally you’re in the right. And in case you are doing freelancing work for a client, who requires you to certify that your work was produced on licensed software. You won’t have to run around looking for a license at the last moment or worse, lie.
Free alternatives: There are always free alternatives to any of the software you wish to use. Before I bought MS Office license, I used Open Office for quite some time. There are GIMP and other free image editing software you can use. If you do not wish to buy Photoshop.
At the end of the day, it comes down to your personal preference and how much you value your online and data safety. For me, these are quite essential and I take them seriously enough to ensure I do not run pirated software. I also follow standard security practices to minimize risks of such threats.
While nothing can ensure you will be 100% safe online. Running genuine and updated software helps you minimize the risk. And that my friend is the primary reason why I use genuine software.