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Delay Retiring Windows XP – A Solution to Piracy in China?

China wants Microsoft to delay retirement of Windows XP

 China’s Argument
Most people in China are using Windows XP (pirated or not)
New Windows 8 is too expensive – cost will increase piracy
Keeping Windows XP will help the government lower piracy rate

Are these arguments plausible? It is true Windows XP software is already loaded and has been used for some time in China.  And, it would seem to me, Microsoft will not recover the revenue from Windows XP already being used in China.

However, there are some other thoughts that come to mind.

Other thoughts
Windows XP installations are most likely pirated software – no revenue to Microsoft
Delaying retirement of Windows XP and creating fixes will cost Microsoft
Perhaps delay in future releases
Plus, others may want to keep their version of WindowsXP as well, since it is already being updated – resulting in lost revenue

To me, this request begs these questions:
How does this help fix the problem of piracy and its effects in the Chinese market?
How does this fix the problem of lost revenue to Microsoft?
Where is the logic in this request?
How will this type of fix solve the problem of software piracy for any software vendor?

To make this a valid request, it would need to identify benefits to both sides. Perhaps answers to the above questions would help make this request and the benefits more clear. But this story also brings to mind other discussions on this blog. What is the best way to fight software piracy in emerging markets?

Do you have any other suggestions on how to curb piracy besides giving away the software?

What are your thoughts on this request?

Original story by Tom Greene in Network World, December 3, 2013

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SmartDongle Partnering with Lucas Distribution to Protect Against Loss and Theft

We are linking together with a new security partner to provide enhanced protection against the loss or theft of our SmartDongle USB security Key. Our new partner is Lucas Distribution LLC based in Loganville Georgia.
Lucas Distribution has the Dongle Lockbox. It provides protection against loss or theft of your SmartDongle software security USB key. This simple to use combination lock with a 6 foot extender cable allows you to easily position the Lockbox for maximum security.  Your customers can benefit by using the USB Dongle Lockbox from Lucas Distribution, LLC to protect their investment in your software using SmartDongle.

For more information go to: Lucas Dongle Lockbox

More security options from Lucas Distribution: Paper Tray Lock


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Tougher Action Against Piracy Opens Opportunities for Brazil

The article by Mr. Ozores  discusses action taken in the US against Asian exporters using pirated software.  Four US states in the last nine months, most recently Tennessee, took legal action against suppliers suspected of engagement in intellectual property (IP) and information technology (IT) theft in its supply chain.

The action taken: those using pirated software are not allowed to bid on the state of Tennessee jobs.

As we can see from Mr. Ozores’ story, there are lost opportunities for work with government contracts when using legal copies of software. Bottom line hit.

There are good reasons to use legal copies. First, illegal (pirated) copies may contain malware. Malware is very expensive to remove with data loss a common side effect. Second, because the software is not registered, there are no upgrades or support for pirated software. Any security risks remain opening the user to malware and the like. Third, you may lose the opportunity to bid on government jobs.

There seems to be a correlation between enhanced awareness regarding the effects of piracy (i.e. losing opportunities) and lower rates of piracy in Brazil. This action may be inspiring the Brazilian Market Sales and IT industry to lower its rate of piracy from 61% to 53%. (In the 1980’s, Brazil had a piracy rate of 90%. This is amazing progress.)

Brazilian software firms’ association ABES aims to develop, promote, educate and protect the country’s software industry through legal, education and marketing advisory services. According to information provided by the group, members include 14 federal states and companies in the association, the latter accounting for 85% of the country’s market. The article states that the companies associated with ABES represent 90% of Brazilian software market sales and 33% of the total IT industry.

Jorge Sukarie, ABES president, believes the more “educational” approach adopted recently by ABES is partially responsible for Brazil’s decreasing rates in pirated software. This approach focuses on running awareness campaigns which is replacing a purely punitive approach.

Perhaps disallowing companies using pirated software to bid and be awarded jobs in all sectors of business will help further reduce the rate of piracy on a global scale, at least through global interactions.  As with many actions, the bottom line is an incentive to change behavior.  With companies adjusting their actions to increase bottom line revenues due to lost opportunities, the remaining question is: “What is the incentive for individuals to abandon software piracy?”

Is it merely education of the effects of pirated software on the economy which affects each household? Or is the cost of applications the big equalizer? Would piracy be reduced if software companies consider economic market pricing – average household income – to align pricing for greater market penetration?

Until these questions are answered and the problem of software piracy solved globally, products to safeguard applications are needed.

SmartDongle is a hardware protection and licensing product. To learn more, please see SmartDongle.

Article published August 16, 2013 in BNamericas

By Pedro Ozores: Tougher US action against piracy creates opportunities for Braziland

And information from ABES.

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UAE and the Fight Against Software Piracy

We so often equate piracy and non-compliance with developing countries. And, it seems, the highest incidents of piracy do occur in developing countries. I have recently read two news stories about developing countries working to curb the practice of software piracy, Thailand and UAE. Both countries’ authorities are working to bring big business, including government, into compliance. Many of the familiar reasons for non-compliance are cited, the cost of software, the concept that software should be for everyone, and local custom. The idea of understanding software licensing and how licensing works is one avenue of education leading to greater compliance.  But Dubai of the UAE has another view of how to help bring compliance to their area.

The Dubai-based IT company, Omnix International, is partnering with Autodesk to help the UAE Ministry of Economy to reinforce efforts to reduce the incidence of software piracy. The team is approaching the issue with education regarding the negative impact of piracy in terms of the country’s economy, the reduction of software performance (slower), and the real threat of virus and malware dissemination. The article cited about $850 million in lost revenue to the gulf region due to counterfeit software.  Most will agree this is a large amount of money that can be recaptured and used locally to increase economic growth and development.

The focus of the lost revenue due to piracy has been cited as a major concern for both government and consumers. This increase in government and consumer concern is due in part to the growing demand for cultural products such as films, audio and software. This demand helps the local consumer have a better understanding of the cost of piracy on local companies and the economy. Perhaps a similar partnership in other areas of the globe could bring greater awareness and economic growth to reduce the proliferation of software, audio and video piracy.

Until compliance becomes a reality, SmartDongle is available to license your application and keep pirates away.

Learn more about SmartDongle here

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SmartDongle Compatible with MATLAB Applications

SmartDongle announces the creation of APIs and sample code to use in securing your applications created with MATLAB.  MATLAB is a high-level language with an interactive environment. Using built–in math functions, you have the ability to explore multiple approaches and reach a solution faster when creating spreadsheets and other computational applications.

With APIs and sample code created for use with MATLAB applications, SmartDongle is the hardware solution to securing your MATLAB applications.

Order your SmartDongle Evaluation Kit now to secure your MATLAB applications.

Contact us for more information.

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Partnering with SEH to make SmartDongle Virtual

Software security is as important as ever, but it can be more complicated with virtual environments.   This is especially true when using hardware as part of your security and licensing schemes.  Additionally, there can be push back in using dongles as a means for licensing and security in today’s business environments because of the work it takes to keep them safe and providing access to the right people at the right time.  Our partnership with SEH Technology relieves these concerns and provides the method for using security dongles in virtual environments and intranets, making them always available and secure through the myUTN-80 Dongle Server.

MicroWorks served as a SEH test site for the myUTN-80 Dongle Server.  After comprehensive testing, MicroWorks is pleased to report the SmartDongle can be accessed transparently when installed in the myUTN-80 Dongle Server.  Contact us to learn more about how to use SmartDongle in a virtual environment.

SEH has a special October promotion for the myUTN-80 Dongle Server.  Use this Link for more information.

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Software Piracy Affects other Countries’ Economies

Riyadh: Rodolfo Estimo Jr.’s article in the Arab News discusses the anti-piracy crackdown going on in Saudi Arabia. A sentence of jail time and a fine was recommended by the Ministry of Culture and Information for the last offenders. This is the second time for this recommendation.  The first arrest and conviction was last month with the coordination of the Dubai-based Arabian Anti-Piracy Alliance (AAA) for dealing in pirated goods.

The software piracy rate is thought to be 60% in Saudi Arabia, the highest in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council – along the Arabian Peninsula). The sentences in both cases show the willingness of the Saudi government to deter software pirates. The reason: an estimated $1billion loss in gross domestic product in the last two years.

View the entire article here

We see from this article that it is not just the US developers and country that suffer at the hands of software piracy. It is affecting economies all over the world. Cracking down on pirates takes time and effort. In the meantime, software revenue needs to be protected. Licensing software with hardware will help protect revenues until the epidemic of software piracy is checked.

What are your thoughts on the affects of software piracy and the actions to deal with it outside the US?  Do you have any personal experience with piracy of your software?

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Destroy or Create?

 I started thinking about piracy and hackers. As I thought about the work that goes into putting together programs that can penetrate defenses and, many times, do it undetected. I wondered how lucrative is this work? Is it done for the money? Or is there an intrinsic value that is more important? As I continued to ponder these questions and think about how much thought and work goes into the malware and hacking programs, I began to wonder; “What if all this energy were put into making programs that would positively affect the general population of the earth?”

The questions that came to mind are; “Why are the programs being created to steal rather than provide? What makes a person with the drive, determination, and, obviously, the brain to create programs of such power, go the path of hacking rather than providing?”

Of course, the obvious answer is that it pays well.  Or, is the motivation about power or being smarter than someone else.  If it is the later, it is much greater and smarter to create rather than demolish. Things created can last centuries as the pyramids attest. How many peoples throughout the ages learn about and visit these monuments of great artists. The affects would be something to talk about for centuries. If it is about money, well, that only lasts for so long. And then it’s gone.

If it is done properly, there is a great deal of time and energy that goes into protecting people’s information and software. Our goal is to be part of creating options for improving and protecting software and personal information, and to bring you educational snapshots to help you prevent software piracy. Contact us for more information on how we can help you.

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Mac Developers Beware Poachers Lurking in the Cyber Jungle

The best way I know to describe the computing landscape today is: it’s a Jungle out there! There seem to be poachers lurking everywhere. We still continue to read about breaches, piracy, and hacked websites. Software poachers have found their way into the Mac jungle which is home for Tigers to Mountain Lions and are poaching through their OS as well. The once poach free jungle doesn’t seem to be so safe anymore.

There are guards trying to ward off the poachers and keep the jungle safe so that commerce can flourish and sustain life. There are locks and laws. There are agreements between villages to protect commerce and sustain life. Yet, we continue to see in the news, the millions of dollars lost to these poachers. It seems there are no boundaries for poachers. Even Mac, once thought in the protected zone, is now falling prey to poachers.

How can we protect the Mac jungle? What can we do to make it secure so that we can carry on commerce, trade, and recreation without the worry of a poacher breaking through and eating our lunch? We need Tarzan. We need SmartDongle.

The SmartDongle for Mac was developed to secure your Mac OS X v10.4 through v10.8. With the SmartDongle in place, your applications are protected from application pirates disguised as poachers. Let us help protect your jungle. Contact us to get the security you need so poachers won’t eat your lunch.

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Website Two-Factor Authentication and Information Pirates

Our websites are an entry way into customer records and information. We have seen in the last few years a sharp rise in unauthorized access which gives” information pirates” access to private and highly sensitive information.  Password protection or authentication has not been a strong deterrent to the information pirates. Two-factor authentication (TFA, T-FA or 2FA) is an approach which requires the presentation of two or more factors for authentication. In order to help prevent these crimes of information theft, we recommend a two factor authorization using products like the SmartDongle Web Secure which offers a hardware solution to provide two-factor authentication to help protect private, sensitive information about your customers. SmartDongle Web Secure provides the second authentication in the TFA. After the user has given a recognized user name and password, the server sends a query to the SmartDongle which results in a series of back and forth challenges to verify that the SmartDongle has the appropriate keys to allow access to the website. If the appropriate keys are not present, access is denied. The challenges issued are different for each session. The keys used to initiate the challenges between the server and SmartDongle are never sent between the server and client. Therefore, SmartDongle provides a secure second tier to website authentication that stops information pirates in their tracks.