Piracy and corruption in the Far East

The widely-reported Internet Explorer corruption vulnerability caused a lot of fear in IT circles in North America this week. The vulnerability made it possible for hackers to exploit websites using SQL injection of malicious code. Trusted sites could become vectors of all sorts of badware to turn your personal computer into a tool of evil.

But nowhere did the threat strike harder than in Asia, according to Security Watch columnist Matt Hines. There’s a simple reason for it. Remember all that Windows software piracy from places like China we’ve been hearing about for the past decade or so?

Companies in Asia have saved a lot of money paying next to nothing, or literally nothing, for access to Bill Gates’ standard Office applications and operating system. But now all that pirated stuff is biting these companies in the ass. With no ability to register for security updates, Chinese firms are getting hit by 81 per cent of the hacker activity targeting the IE flaw. The US, by comparison, only suffered 7 per cent of the overall exploits.

Unless the tech pirates can figure out a way to get the up-to-date patches they need, this challenge may ultimately force companies, not just in Asia, to finally pay the same price as everyone else for intellectual property. It won’t be governments, cops and lawyers that prompt companies to go straight. The hackers are doing the job for them.