Group launches drive vs unlicensed software, warns of malware threats

Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 21 2021 02:44 PM

MANILA - Engineering and design firms should use licensed software to ensure the quality of output and security of companies as billions of dollars are expected to be poured into infrastructure projects in Southeast Asia, a global software industry advocate said Wednesday. 

There will be billions of investments in roads, bridges, buildings, and ports whose design aspect will have a human element that will require the use of licensed software, The Software Alliance also known as BSA said during a virtual conference. 

"All of these have a human element to it…Then it becomes critical that whatever is produced to have a level of quality that guarantees safety," said BSA Senior Director Tarun Sawney.

"If you’re using licensed software, if you use legal software, it has a lot of safety built into it. It's going to guarantee that the final products that result from these software is going to be high-quality products," he added.

Using licensed software is "crucial" not just to produce safe and quality content but also to protect firms from potential malware, ransomware and other cyber attacks, he said.

Unlicensed or illegal software remains "one of the easiest ways" for cybercriminals to compromise firms, he said.

Using licensed software is also critical especially now that employees are working from home and using personal devices, Sawney said.

Companies are encouraged to perform regular audits to determine whether or not workers are using licensed software. There should also be a "gatekeeper" and internal policies to check what can be allowed to be installed into a network, he said.

The BSA said it plans to conduct free consultations and advisory services to 20,000 engineering and design firms across the region to spread its advocacy. 

The campaign will include 5,000 private sector engineering and design firms in the Philippines, 5,000 in Indonesia, 5,000 in Malaysia and 5,000 in Thailand.

It would also collaborate with government agencies including the Optical Media Board.

In the Philippines, at least 49 percent of Filipinos who have access to the internet visit illegal streaming websites, Optical Media Board's Legal Division Chief Atty. Cyrus Paul Valenzuela said, citing a study.

“The country's unlicensed software use is an indicator of how exposed we are to cyberattacks, data theft, ransomware, and network attacks. This remains a concern in the Philippines, and it has to be fixed," he said.

A measure to curb piracy or the Online Infringement Act was filed by Senator Vicento Sotto III, he said.

Valenzuela warned the public that using pirated content and software could damage computers, has no after-sales, makes devices vulnerable to hacking and is also considered a criminal offense.

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