IT security

Cloud app logins reused in piracy scam

Cliff Saran

Software piracy will remain prevalent even as more applications are delivered over the internet in a software-as-a-service subscription model, according to the BSA Global Software Survey.

Since 2011, when BSA last ran the research, there has been a fundamental shift in the landscape of personal and enterprise computing, with a slowdown in shipments of new PCs and rapid growth in mobile devices and cloud computing.

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The study reported that software delivered as a service through cloud computing is on track to exceed 10% of all computer and mobile software in 2014.

The survey, commissioned by IDC, estimated that more than 80% of cloud software services come with licensing provisions that require each user, even when under a multi-user licence, to have separate log-in credentials – at least an account name and password.

Licensing software on a pay-per-use basis should make it easier to track usage, but the BSA survey found that users were sharing login credentials.

“Users are not supposed to share login credentials, and in some cases the sharing of passwords is specifically prohibited in the terms of service,” the report said. “But, in fact, users do share credentials.”

For users of business cloud services that are paid for, BSA’s Global Software Survey found that 52% of respondents said they shared credentials, up from 42% in 2011.

As cloud services penetrate emerging markets, expect the incidence of credential-sharing to increase.


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