Avast Software has been doing a little digging into where its eponymous anti virus tools are in use. Interestingly, it found that they are being used by the wrong people in a range of places.
One licence got the firm's full attention. This licence, a fourteen user number for a firm in Tucson, Arizona, became pretty popular very fast, according to its studies, and went viral in the way that marketing managers can only dream.
"What started as a 14-user license for a small firm in Tucson, Arizona issued on June 30, 2009 quickly mushroomed to 774,651 active users by late 2010. The licence has been used in over 200 countries ranging from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe - even the Vatican City," said the firm in a blog post.
The software was spread via warez sites, according to the firm, appearing fairly regularly on a number of them, and was being snapped up like hot cakes.
You may think that downloading a security product from an insecure, illegal site may be counterproductive, and so does Vince Steckler, the big cheese at Avast. However, as the firm found out, almost three quarters of a million people do not.
"We found our licence code at a number of warez sites around the globe," said Steckler. "There is a paradox in computer users looking for 'free' antivirus programs at locations with a known reputation for spreading malware."
Users of the pirated software were tracked as far and wide as you can imagine - even, as we know, turning up in the Vatican City. Russia had the most instances of the pirated software, and the North Pole, with none, the least.
Two computers in the Pope's 'hood were found to contain the illegal software, but let's face it, there is probably much worse stuff on those computers.
The UK can stand proud in the fact that it did not make the top twelve list of offenders, however, Russia, Mexico, Brazil, Italy, Spain, the USA, India, Philippines, France and the Ukraine should be more ashamed.
Not only are some of their citizens guilty of downloading pirated security software, they are guilty of doing it in the most stupid way possible.
Avast added that all of the users it found running the pirated software were sent messages alerting them that they had been rumbled and offering them the chance to use the free version of the software.
Prompting many of them, we assume, to ask why they hadn't done that in the first place.
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