Avast: “People get their virus protection from warez sites”

Eighteen months after leaking, Avast’s ship released a new number: 774,651.  774,651 is the number of users who are using avast! Pro with the one single license that got leaked almost two years ago.

What happened is a year and a half ago an avast! Pro license, sold to a small firm in the United States, got leaked online. Since then, users in over 200 countries have taken advantage of the leak. Even the Pope got in on the action: Two computers in Vatican City installed the illegal avast! Pro. (Avast has already replaced the license for the legitimate Arizona business that legitimately owned the leaked license.)

According to Avast’s CEO, “There is a paradox in computer users looking for ‘free’ antivirus programs at locations with a known reputation for spreading malware.”

Interestingly, Avast is not simply sinking the pirates – rather trying to use this as an opportunity to turn them. Avast recently started showing popup messages to the 3/4 million users; messages that ask the users to either use the free version of avast! or legitimately purchase the paid version. With this unorthodox marketing campaign, Avast has been able to flip some pirates into customers. New corporate strategy, anyone?

If you were one of the users hit by the devalidation, try one of the four most popular free antivirus options from dotTech’s original antivirus showdown article.

[via PC Pro via Ghacks]

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33 comments

  1. sl0j0n

    Hello, Ashraf.
    I saw your discussion RE: touché.
    According to my [legal] copy of WordWeb, touché means;
    1. Acknowledgement of a hit in fencing
    2. Acknowledgement of a good point made at one’s expense
    So, yeah, its about making the point, but its more about *acknowledging* the point was made.
    BTW, Ashraf, you can stop using Locutus as a spellcheck, if you’ll download the freeware version of WordWeb.
    The license says that you can’t drive a SUV, take more than 1 or 2 flights per year, but other than those limitations,
    its freeware, all the way, baby.
    WordWeb is great too.
    I use it for spellchecking, as a thesaurus, and of course as a dictionary.
    With the stock keyboard shortcut its quick and easy to highlight a word, hit Ctrl+Alt+W,
    and the program opens with the highlighted word defined, or, if its misspelled, but close,
    WordWeb will offer a word that it thinks will work.
    And now I’m all done pushing WordWeb, for the day.

    Have a GREAT day, neighbors!

  2. Locutus
    Author/

    @Ashraf: Literally translated (from French, what else) it means “touched”.
    In English on the internet, it is generally used for when one person has a point and another has a counterpoint–the 1st person then says “touché”.
    It’s also used in English, on the internet. You use it when you give a point and another person gives a counterpoint. Here’s an example stolen from Google:

    “Your car is seriously ugly.”
    “Yeah, but it least it gets me there in one piece.”
    “Touche.”

    So, the person admits that whilst his car may be better looking, it is broken (or has a habit of being unreliable).

    From http://www.answerbag.com/q_view/109843#ixzz17U8YLOUD

    Also, in French accents are important! Don’t forget the accents!

  3. Carl

    @Locutus, I am sure Anonymous can hook you up with a copy of Photoshop. (joking)

    @Anonymous, you should consider doing what Jim did and stop altogether. As for the ex-dottechies, I wasn’t aware of that club but traffic seems to be increasing here…a lot. Also, I don’t know of any reputable tech site that okays the downloading of illegal software. Do some visitors of this site download illegal software? Probably, but they aren’t wearing it on their sleeve and they respect the fact that it’s frowned upon here.
    I don’t think dottech.org or any site would ever get giveaways if they approved of illegal downloading.

  4. RobAC

    @Locutus:

    Long time user of Paint Shop Pro- just got the promotional bundle that came with Video Studio Pro.
    Then later got Painter 11 Full version for $99 !! Since I had bought and was a registered user with over 5 of Corel’s other prgms.

    So long story short- in my younger BBS days I was a baad boy. Now that I can afford the prgms and I use them regularly, I respect the programers efforts to support them.

    Oh and, I have the Speak Like a Pirate language option installed for Avast. It’s pretty entertaining.

  5. Ashraf
    Mr. Boss

    @Anonymous: I am not sure who “ex-dotTechies” you are talking about, but yes it is true: Here on dotTech we are opposed to any sort of pirating software, regardless of circumstance. While you may consider this to be a bad policy, many (most) of our members appreciate the ethical foundation that dotTech has been built on and would like to keep it that way.

  6. Anonymous

    If I don’t have the money, I just download the cracked program, and when I do get the opportunity to buy it/when I have money, I buy it anyways, because it’s a good deed and you get more stuff apposed to cracked programs. Especially games… of course, Setti Servers always work. xD

    Unfortunately, everyone on Dot Tech will appose to this, until he/she shuts up. :P That’s what I heard from ex-”Dot Techies”.

  7. Jim

    Admittedly I have been a part of the warez scene but always felt guilty. Mostly I just got movies and ebooks but when I got my newest computer I did not want anything illegally downloaded on it. I actually purchased Internet Download Manager because I liked my illegal copy so much. That’s just one example of things I purchased only because I used an illegal copy.
    Some low budget movies purposely leak their DVD screeners to get the word out. It’s good advertisement because the downloaders wouldn’t have purchased it anyway and they will probably talk about the movie around the water-cooler. (Now I use Netfilx legally)

    Be warned that downloading ‘appz’ is a great way to have your ID stolen and your computer ruined.
    (of course most dottech readers know how to be safer about it. e.g. virtual drive, etc.)

    Here is a fact that should scare anyone away from downloading keygens, crack and patches:
    http://blog.trendmicro.com/crack-sites-distribute-virux-and-fakeav/

    Also, keep away from P2P networks (and warn your kids because they most likely use them:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capitol_v._Thomas <——-very scary

    Torrent downloading can be tracked too. A girl in my IT dept. got a legal warning letter from Pixar via Comcast warning her that she downloaded Wall-e using mininova with some torrrent app.

    I won't mention the safest way to get illegal stuff because it's wrong.

    Surf Safe,

    Jim

  8. Jim

    Admittedly I have been a part of the warez scene but always felt guilty. Mostly I just got movies and ebooks but when I got my newest computer I did not want anything illegally downloaded on it. I actually purchased Internet Download Manager because I liked my illegal copy so much. That’s just one example of things I purchased only because I used an illegal copy.
    Some low budget movies purposely leak their DVD screeners to get the word out. It’s good advertisement because the downloaders wouldn’t have purchased it anyway and they will probably talk about the movie around the water-cooler. (Now I use Netfilx legally)

    Be warned that downloading ‘appz’ is a great way to have your ID stolen and your computer ruined.
    (of course most dottech readers know how to be safer about it. e.g. virtual drive, etc.)

    Here is a fact that should scare anyone away from downloading keygens, crack and patches:
    http://blog.trendmicro.com/crack-sites-distribute-virux-and-fakeav/

    Also, keep away from P2P networks (and warn your kids because they most likely use them:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capitol_v._Thomas <——-very scary

    Torrent downloading can be tracked too. A girl in my IT dept. got a legal warning letter from Pixar via Comcast warning her that she downloaded Wall-e using mininova with some torrrent app.

    I won't mention the safest way to get illegal stuff because it's wrong.

    Surf Safe,

    Jim (if that is my real name) ;-)

  9. Ashraf
    Mr. Boss

    @David Roper: While I agree anyone stealing programs have no right to use it, I disagree with your methods of dealing with them.

    You see all the people using the pirated license key may not have been using it purposefully. There are many situations were people may think they have a legitimate key when they don’t. For example, to boost his social status, one kid could pirate that key and bring it to school and give it to all his friends saying “my dad bought it for his business but he said we can use it”. Because of the actions of that one kid now maybe a dozen people are unknowingly using pirated copies of avast!. Similarly, often keys are sold on places like eBay at a discount. People may have legitimately purchased a key on eBay thinking it was legit but it turned out to be pirated.

    Now I am not saying avast! should simply allow the pirated key to be used; rather I am saying I agree with how avast! is dealing with the situation.

    @Jyo: You are assuming everyone using the key did so knowing it is pirated. Plus people can change.

  10. mukhi

    @David Roper:
    @David Roper:
    so what happened? they let you go or took you to jail? LOL.
    i would never install a pirated OS or security software in my computer? you want to keep a thief as your bodyguard? i have used pirated version of some apps like player, office, etc though. i keep my antivirus on while installing these, if AV cries, i simply stop installing it.

    dottech & other websites have helped me switch to free SW from many pirated ones, kudos.

  11. mukhi

    @David Roper:
    <>
    so what happened? they let you go or took you to jail? LOL.
    i would never install a pirated OS or security software in my computer? you want to keep a thief as your bodyguard? i have used pirated version of some apps like player, office, etc though. i keep my antivirus on while installing these, if AV cries, i simply stop installing it.

    dottech & other websites have helped me switch to free SW from many pirated ones, kudos.

  12. mukhi

    @David Roper:
    <>
    it is a courtesy to do it that way, better than going to jail. you didn’t pay for it even then, so did they let you go or took you to jail? LOL.

    i have used some pirated software, like player, office, graphics programs but have NEVER or will NEVER use a pirated OS or security software. you wanna use a thief as your bodyguard? think about it!

    dottech is one of the best (if not the best) websites which make me switch from pirated stuff to free software. kudos. FREE SW rules!!!

  13. David Roper

    Hillarious. It reminded me of the time I stole a TV from Walmart and took it out of the store to my car. Some one noticed from inside the store and came out to the car to ask me if I wouldn’t mind paying for it since I already had it in my possession.

    Nope, that didn’t happen — but isn’t it the same thing?

    If I were Avast (and I am not) I would simply cause all the copies using that illegal code to simply stop working. Crash and stop. No one using that code has ANY right for it to continue working. They KNEW they had not paid for it.

    If it is not FREEWARE and/or OPENSOURCE then don’t even TRY to use it without paying the developer for it. Off my soap box now. (I hear all the boo’s)

  14. Mags

    Avast rules!

    Especially for them to see that they could turn this into a great marketing opportunity rather than “sinking” the pirates.

    As I said before I’ve used Avast for many years and been extremely happy with it.

  15. jumbi

    avg did the same strategy also before 1,5 years.
    I still have that “free” corporate key which was (is?) accepted during installation and I had given to some friends but after a few months, popup messages appeared. Of course I stopped using it and promised to myself not to give such keys again since I had to spend a lot of time afterwards…