New Delhi: Governments could lose more than USD 50 billion in dealing with costs associated with malware on pirated software, shows a study by the National University of Singapore (NUS) and research firm IDC.
The study, titled `The Link Between Pirated Software and Cyber security Breaches`, expressed concern over the potential impact of cyber security threats on nations.
"It is estimated that governments could lose more than USD 50 billion to deal with the costs associated with malware on pirated software," it said.
According to the study, respondents from the government sector were most worried about the loss of business trade secrets or competitive information (59 percent).
This was followed by concerns about unauthorised access to confidential government information (55 percent) and the impact of cyber attacks on critical infrastructure (55 percent).
"Cyber criminals are profiting from any security lapse they can find, with financially devastating results for everyone," Microsoft Cybercrime Centre Executive Director and Associate General Counsel David Finn said.
Motivated by money, they (cyber criminals) have found new ways to break into computer networks so they can grab whatever they want: identity, passwords and money, he added.
The study also estimates that enterprises worldwide may have to spend nearly USD 500 billion this year to deal with issues caused by malware deliberately loaded onto pirated software.
Of this, USD 127 billion is expected to be spent on dealing with security issues, while USD 364 billion would be spent on dealing with data breaches.
Global consumers, on the other hand, are expected to spend USD 25 billion and waste 1.2 billion hours this year because of security threats and costly computer fixes stemming from malware on pirated software.
"Using pirated software is like walking through a field of landmines: You do not know when you will come upon something nasty, but if you do it can be very destructive," IDC Chief Researcher John Gantz said.
The financial hazards are considerable, and the potential losses could leave once-profitable businesses on a shaky ground, he added.
"Buying legitimate software is less expensive in the long run at least you know that you would not get anything `extra` in the form of malware," he said.