Perimeter
12/7/2010
10:58 AM
Commentary
Commentary
Commentary
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%
Repost This

Avast, Ye Pirates: It's Free

Pirated installations of free Avast software included two in Vatican City

Here's a rhetorical twist on the old saying, "Why steal the cow when the milk is free?" Avast Software has long provided a completely free version of Avast Antivirus. But that didn't stop file-sharing users from pirating a license key to the Pro version a whopping 774,651 times.

According to a press release issued by Avast Software, the license keys originated from a 14-seat company located in Tucson, Ariz. After somehow ending up on various file-sharing services, the license ended up being used in "over 200 countries ranging from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe" (including two pirated installs in the Vatican City).

"There is a paradox in computer users looking for 'free' antivirus programs at locations with a known reputation for spreading malware," noted Vince Steckler, CEO of Avast Software. (And, of course, there's no shortage of irony in having something stolen when it can be gotten completely legally for free).

Fortunately for those who did pirate the key, Avast has taken a good humor approach. The pirated version now sports a pop-up notice alerting users they have a pirated version and providing the option of converting to the free version or buying the Pro version. And the original owner of the key? They were given a new license along with an admonishment to please keep it secure.

Mary Landesman is an antivirus professional and senior security researcher for ScanSafe, now part of Cisco. In 2009 she was awarded a Microsoft MVP for her work in consumer security.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2012-0360
Published: 2014-04-23
Memory leak in Cisco IOS before 15.1(1)SY, when IKEv2 debugging is enabled, allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (memory consumption) via crafted packets, aka Bug ID CSCtn22376.

CVE-2012-1317
Published: 2014-04-23
The multicast implementation in Cisco IOS before 15.1(1)SY allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (Route Processor crash) by sending packets at a high rate, aka Bug ID CSCts37717.

CVE-2012-1366
Published: 2014-04-23
Cisco IOS before 15.1(1)SY on ASR 1000 devices, when Multicast Listener Discovery (MLD) tracking is enabled for IPv6, allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (device reload) via crafted MLD packets, aka Bug ID CSCtz28544.

CVE-2012-3062
Published: 2014-04-23
Cisco IOS before 15.1(1)SY, when Multicast Listener Discovery (MLD) snooping is enabled, allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (CPU consumption or device crash) via MLD packets on a network that contains many IPv6 hosts, aka Bug ID CSCtr88193.

CVE-2012-3918
Published: 2014-04-23
Cisco IOS before 15.3(1)T on Cisco 2900 devices, when a VWIC2-2MFT-T1/E1 card is configured for TDM/HDLC mode, allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (serial-interface outage) via certain Frame Relay traffic, aka Bug ID CSCub13317.

Best of the Web