Yesterday Microsoft's Jeff Williams, the principal group program manager for the Microsoft Malware Protection Center, said that there is a direct correlation between the current malware infection rate and software piracy. To be more specific, he said that countries with high piracy rates are more likely to be infected by malicious code because they're reluctant to apply updates.
His theory is based on Windows and the security updates that consumers are neglecting to install through Windows Update. Microsoft's latest biannual security intelligence report, found here (opens in new tab), claims that China's piracy rate is more than four times than that of the United States. France and Brazil also have extremely high piracy rates, and each country--including China--use Windows Update significantly less than consumers in the U.S.
Has Microsoft kicked itself in the rear with Windows Genuine Advantage? Although the company's pirate sniffing software has been successful in tagging non-legit copies of Windows, WGA is also turning consumers away from the updating process, especially those who bought a copy of Windows and feel justified in installing the OS on multiple computers. While there are cracks available to bypass WGA, there are many users who aren't quite so PC-savvy, leaving them wide open for attack.
As reported by Computerworld, there are also legit users who won't bow down to Microsoft's anti-piracy efforts: users in China, the United States, and other countries have protested against the software since its was originally embedded into the OS. With that said, perhaps Microsoft made the malware infection rate worse by locking out the non-legitimate copies of Windows. After all, if 41-percent of the world is running pirated Windows, maybe Microsoft should reconsider WGA?