The Relationship between Software Cracking and Ransomware
Working and secure software enable the effective running of any organization. Businesses use software to manage invoices, orders, and payrolls. For companies in E-commerce, the software is even more critical in running the day-to-day sales.
However, legit software can be expensive to acquire. Therefore, some opt for free options while some get tempted to save on costs by downloading cracked software. Unfortunately, this type of program might end up costing you more than the savings. Additionally, attacks launched from such a package can cause unprecedented reputation damage.
Often, many realize when it’s already late to reverse the damage. Fine, what’s software cracking, how attackers use it to gain access into the system, and how can you avoid it. Learn these and more in this article as we help you evade the next potential ransomware attack directed to your company.
What is Software Cracking?
Cracking refers to modifying a computer program to unlock protected features or remove unwanted functionalities such as ads. Software crackers create loopholes in the program code by generating keys that override the need to pay before using it. Although the manufacturer similarly gives access key after purchase (e.g., activation key for Windows 10), software crackers generate keys using reverse engineering.
Usually, the cracked software is then hosted on websites for download or distributed through file-sharing platforms. Also, software crackers might not necessarily host the software itself. Instead, they might create a small executable package that you can download. The promise is that it will give access to the legitimate software without paying for it after installing it on your machine.
Understanding Ransomware Attacks
Ransomware is any form of malware that locks the system or encrypts files hence denying access. As the name suggests, the attacker demands a certain amount of money(ransom) before reinstating access. With the invention of cryptocurrency (e.g., bitcoin), it is easier for them to be paid without being tracked.
The malware usually has a way of how you can interact with the assailant. They will give the instructions on how to pay, and they may first open a section of your file system to show the victim their capability to decrypt the files. Ransomware might cost as high as thousands of dollars and are capable of crumbling the company’s reputation. Looking at stats, it’s mandatory for every business or individual to be vigilant enough if they don’t to be part of the predicted $20 billion in ransomware damage costs by 2021.
How Ransomware is Spread Through Cracked Software
So, how exactly will ransomware sneak into your system when you opt for cracked software? The most common way is to embed the malware within the program code. As you install the downloaded crack, the malware gets installed simultaneously. Therefore, it hard to know because the false impression is that you’re installing the software and not the malicious program. For instance, who would want to cause harm to themselves deliberately?
Another way is by running the keygen programs to crack the software yourself. This especially affects users who want to activate mainstream software such as Microsoft Windows and office. The keygen is available on the internet, and then you’ve to run it to evade buying the legit activation key. Although they may work, alongside they may mount a malicious program. Nonetheless, most operating system-like windows don’t allow keygen to run except if you deactivate the inbuilt windows defender or the third-party installed antivirus program. We strongly recommend never to disable your antivirus at any point.
Other Cons of Using Cracked Software
- Manufactures of software periodically release software patches or updates meant to add more functionality and increase security. While using a cracked program, it’s not possible to get and install these updates. Therefore, you risk security breaches through loopholes in the old package while also lagging in functionality.
- You’re not sure if the software will work after all. Though, it might work for some time and then break down unexpecting. Thus, the operations are disrupted while unable to get support from the developers.
- You risk other cybersecurity threats like trojans, identity theft, or phishing since some sites will require your email before you download.
- Using cracked software is termed as illegal and might cause expensive litigation.
Protect Your Business from Ransomware Attacks
Successful entrepreneurs know that investing in cybersecurity measures is worth the bargain. However, not everyone that can be able to assure you of protection. At Evernet, we understand what it means to have a secure system. We’re a reliable, trusted, and capable business IT partner committed to make your business a success.
Talk to us today, and let us protect your business.
Eric is a Business IT cybersecurity advisor, consultant, manager, integrator, and protector who founded EVERNET in 2007. Eric co-hosts a podcast called “Finance and Technology Insights by Brian & Eric” on YouTube. Eric is a regular contributor to the EVERNET blog, writing about the latest technology news and providing his expertise in cyber security prevention and management.