Security Threats Rank as Top Reason Not to Use Illegal Software, BSA Survey Finds


BULGARIA — 24 June, 2014 — Computer users cite the risk of security threats from malware as the top reason not to use unlicensed software. Among their specific concerns are intrusions by hackers and loss of data. Yet a striking 63 percent of the software installed on personal computers in Bulgaria in 2013 was not properly licensed.

These and other findings released today in the BSA Global Software Survey underscore the need for effective software management practices, especially in business settings.

“Besides being an effective tool for avoiding the legal risks deriving from the use of unlicensed software, the software assets management policies also address the sensitive issues related to digital security” said Velizar Sokolov, local BSA outside counsel and spokesperson. “SAM is simply a complex remedy for safer business. It makes sure that you use licensed computer programs and only such software can protect your business from loss of data and personal information and lengthy and complicated legal procedures.”

The BSA Global Software Survey is conducted every other year for BSA by IDC, which this year polled computer users in 34 markets including nearly 22,000 consumer and business PC users and more than 2,000 IT managers. Among the findings:

  • The rate at which PC software was installed without proper licensing in Bulgaria was 63 percent in 2013, a 1 percentage point change over 2011. The commercial value of that unlicensed software totaled $ 101 million.
  • The chief reason computer users around the world cite for not using unlicensed software is avoiding security threats from malware. Among the risks associated with unlicensed software, 64 percent of users globally cited unauthorized access by hackers as a top concern and 59 percent cited loss of data.
  • IT managers around the world express understandable concern that unlicensed software may cause harm, yet less than half say they are very confident that their company’s software is properly licensed.
  • Only 35 percent of companies globally have written policies in place requiring use of properly licensed software.

 “Unlicensed software use is an organizational governance issue — and this study shows there is a clear need for improvement,” said BSA President and CEO Victoria Espinel. “There are basic steps any company can take to ensure it is fully compliant, like establishing a formal policy on licensed software use and maintaining careful records. Companies also should consider implementing more robust software asset management programs that follow internationally-accepted guidelines. These SAM programs can deliver substantial value by ensuring adequate controls are in place to provide a full view into what is installed on a network. That helps organizations avoid security and operational risks, and it ensures they have the right number of licenses for their users.”

Among the other findings in BSA’s Global Software Survey:

  • The global rate at which PC software was installed without proper licensing rose from 42 percent in 2011 to 43 percent in 2013 as emerging economies where unlicensed software use is most prevalent continued to account for a growing majority of all PCs in service.
  • The region with the highest overall rate of unlicensed PC software installations in 2013 was Asia-Pacific, at 62 percent. This represented a 2 percentage-point increase from 2011, with the commercial value of unlicensed installations reaching $21 billion.
  • Central and Eastern Europe had the next-highest rate of unlicensed software installations at 61 percent, followed by Latin America at 59 percent and the Middle East and Africa, also at 59 percent.
  • In Western Europe, the rate dropped three points to 29 percent in 2013 with a commercial value of $12.8 billion.
  • In the European Union, the rate dropped two points to 31 percent in 2013, with a commercial value of $13.5 billion.

A full copy of BSA’s Global Software Survey, including country-specific data, is available for download on BSA’s website:

Top ranked 2014