Is it safe to download pirated software?

One of the most frequently asked questions that we receive is, “Is it safe to download pirated software?”

eMule - Example Search for Pirated Software

The answer? No, in most cases it’s not safe.  Simply put, peer-to-peer networks are breeding grounds for malware and more specifically Trojans.  PandaLabs receives and processes 55,000 samples a day, many of  which are Trojans bundled with pirated software.

Cyber criminals know that you’re so desperate to install that cracked copy of (insert title of massively pirated software here), that you’ll actually infect yourself in the process of trying to save a buck.

I went ahead and recorded a video to show you just how easy it is for cyber criminals to disguise malware as legitimate software.

Tips to stay safe:

1. Always run up-to-date or real-time Antivirus, such as Cloud Antivirus Free.

2. Never download pirated software.

3. Only download software from official websites or trusted sites such as download.com,  but watch out for sites that look official.  If you’re not sure, then ask a friend for advice.

4.  Once your files are downloaded, verify that the digital signature is valid in the file properties and if possible, verify the hash value (MD5 or SHA-1) of the file that you wish to install.

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