Security Software License Illegally Shared 774,651 Times, Company Doesn't Mind
The license, which was originally sold to a 14-person company in Arizona, popped up on file-sharing websites a year and a half ago. Since then, it has been shared 774,651 times, and is currently being used on PCs in over 200 countries -- including, strangely enough, two computers in Vatican City. "We found our license code at a number of warez sites around the globe," said Vince Steckler, chief executive of Avast Software. Steckler went on to point out the "paradox in computer users looking for 'free' antivirus programs at locations with a known reputation for spreading malware.
Instead of cracking down on the pirates, though, Avast has decided to turn the leak into a marketing opportunity. Users with pirated software will now receive notifications from the company, offering links to both the free and paid-for versions. Company spokesman Lyle Frink told PC Pro that his company doesn't know how many users have decided to download the legitimate software, but said that there have been "some conversions," and that the marketing strategy is "going to plan." "It was quite interesting how fast it went, but at some time the party has to end," Frink added.