Aussies OK pirated software for personal use

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Aussies OK pirated software for personal use

Almost half of Australians believe it is okay to use pirated software for personal use, and many can’t tell the difference between genuine and illegal software, new research commissioned by Microsoft Australia shows.

The survey of 1100 people was conducted by Galaxy Research in January.

According to the results, 45 percent of respondents believe using pirated software for personal use is at least acceptable "in some situations".

A massive 64 percent of 16-24 year olds said it was okay or okay in some situations.

Forty-five percent of 25-49 year old respondents and over one in three of those aged over 50 also responded that personal use of pirated software was acceptable.

The research coincides with the launch of a voluntary Microsoft Office update that the Redmond giant said will help consumers confirm whether or not their copy of Office is genuine.

Customers will be invited to install the Office Genuine Advantage (OGA) notifications tool through Automatic Updates. By confirming that their copy of Office is genuine customers can take advantage of the support, important updates and complimentary downloads and templates that come with using a genuine copy of Office, according to Steve Johns, consumer product manager for the Microsoft Office business at Microsoft Australia.

If an Office application is found to be non-genuine, a pop-up dialogue box will alert the user and provide options on how to acquire genuine Microsoft Office and secure their PC.

People who find they are the victim of counterfeit software can submit a report to Microsoft and may be eligible to receive a complimentary copy of Microsoft Office, Johns said. Others may be required to purchase a full copy online or via a certified reseller.

OGA notifications will not affect the way Microsoft Office works on individual computers and the user can continue to use Office as before, Johns said.

The launch of OGA appears to be supported by an additional survey result that showed 47 percent of Australians "wouldn't know how to check if their computer software was a genuine copy".

However, 59 percent of Australians also said they either weren't sure or didn't believe there to be any differences between non-genuine and genuine versions of software.

"With security top-of-mind for Australians, it is a worrying statistic that almost half of those surveyed wouldn't know how to check if their computer software was a genuine copy, thereby exposing themselves to the risk of security threats," said Johns.

"Using genuine software and knowing how to check that you have authentic copies of computer programs is a fundamental way of protecting yourself and ensuring that your PC and personal information are secure."

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