Everyone likes to get things for free, but sometimes getting free software can cost you dearly.  Many of you may remember the massive compute attack of the Wanna Cry virus which in May of 2017 attacked hundreds of thousands of computers operating various versions of the Windows Operating System.  Fortunately, Microsoft customers had been sent a security patch to update their systems in March of that year and customers who installed the update were unaffected by the Wanna Cry malware.  However, many people had obtained pirated versions of various Windows Operating Systems online for free or at little cost and they, of course, did not receive the patch needed to protect themselves and suffered the consequences.

It is never a good idea to download free software from sites that are not necessarily legitimate and often the “free” versions available online come with malware imbedded so beyond the fact that you are stealing intellectual property, it is never a good idea to download such software.

I mention this because recently the cybersecurity company Zscaler found that scammers are offering free versions of Adobe Acrobat Pro, 3Dmark, 3DVista Virtual Tour Pro, 7-Data Recovery Suite, MAGIX Sound Force Pro and Wondershare Dr. Fone  on websites.  These websites often come up high in a search engine search either by buying a high position or by knowing how to manipulate the algorithms used by the search engines to get a high position in a search.  These pirated versions are riddled with harmful malware.

TIPS

This is a scam that is easy to avoid.  Downloading pirated versions of software is always a risk that is not worth taking and is a crime to begin with.  Only download software from legitimate sites such as the Google Play Store and the Apple App store.

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Finally, on another subject I want to share with you an OpEd I recently wrote about the extreme vulnerability of our water supplies to a devastating cyberattack.  https://thehill.com/opinion/congress-blog/3621806-how-safe-is-your-drinking-water/amp/