Microsoft is alerting its Kenyan consumers of an upsurge of counterfeit Microsoft software that is being sold in the market packaged as genuine software. The PC Software Giant is working with support of the Kenya Anti-Counterfeit Agency to try curb this exposure to genuine customers. Microsoft says that the software is being sold at prices that are “too good to be true.”
Microsoft did a global survey that addresses consumer’s attitudes on counterfeit software and more than 80% of consumers had concerns about using counterfeit software. The exposure that consumers get range from risks of identity theft to virus attacks. The survey indicated that among the concerns of consumers is that counterfeit products fund criminal activities. The counterfeit software being sold is not easy to identify on a quick glance as it is high quality counterfeit which has fake Microsoft Hologram CDs and fake Certificate of Authenticity labels that look like the real thing. These are then sold as complete software packages.
“We’ve recently uncovered several counterfeit versions of Microsoft software said, Mr. Edward Sigei, Chief Legal Counsel of the Kenya Copyright Board, “Pirating software is often seen as a ‘cheap’alternative to purchasing it legally. However, in the long-term it can be far more costly, and forbusinesses and government agencies, disastrous. We’re advising anyone who suspects they’vepurchased a counterfeit to report it to the Kenya Copyright Board or via Microsoft’s Anti-Piracy Hotline.”
Microsoft notes that there is a rising number of ‘accidental pirates’, there being people who unintentionally buy and sell counterfeits. These then proceed to expose themselves to being on the wrong side of the law as it wont be easy to tell the ‘accidental pirate’ from the real one.
Here are the suggestions that Microsoft gives to avoid misinformation about genuineness of software:
1. Before you purchase software, ask resellers to confirm it passes the Windows activation test.
Activation and validation are the keys to genuine software.
2. Beware of the common gateways of digital counterfeiting: websites advertising ‘cheapsoftware’; online auction sites with links to download sites offering counterfeit software; and peer-to-peer (P2P) networks or other file-sharing technologies.
3. Buy from a trusted source. Research online or local sellers extensively before making apurchase. Microsoft always recommends that Resellers source their software from a MicrosoftAuthorized Distributor, and that Consumers check that their suppliers sourced product suppliedby a Microsoft Authorized Distributor.
4. Compare the price. Counterfeit software is often sold at a much cheaper price, but can end upcosting users hundreds or thousands of dollars.
5. Be suspicious of products that lack some form of proof of authenticity – such as a hologram, CD,DVD, recovery media, manuals and Microsoft Software License Terms (MSLT).
6. Be extremely careful when buying from software sellers in other countries as this complicatesmatters if the transaction goes awry.
7. Keep your anti-virus program up to date. This reduces your computer’s risk of exposure toviruses and malware when downloading software.
8. Say no to sellers offering backup copies or bundles of several programs.
Microsoft also announced two new software piracy combating programs today:
Microsoft Anti-Piracy Hotline – a dedicated hotline where any suspected counterfeit software can be reported (Microsoft Anti-Piracy Hotline in Kenya: +254 286 8299) and authenticated.
Genuine Reseller Program – a program for trusted and verified Microsoft resellers who have entered into an agreement to sell only genuine Microsoft software. Participants will be given ‘Clean Dealer status’ and provided with marketing support and promotions via the Microsoft Africa website.
Find out how to be safe from counterfeit software at the the Microsoft’s anti-counterfeiting site.