Security Threats Rank as Top Reason Not to Use Illegal Software, BSA Survey Finds

Home > Latest News > Security Threats Rank as Top Reason Not to Use Illegal Software, BSA Survey Finds

Hanoi, Vietnam —  July 3, 2014 — Computer users cite the risk of security threats from malware as the top reason not to use unlicensed software. Among their specific concerns are intrusions by hackers and loss of data. Yet a striking 81 percent of the software installed on personal computers in Vietnam in 2013 was not properly licensed.

These and other findings released recently in the BSA Global Software Survey underscore the need for effective software management practices, especially in business settings.

“Unlicensed software use is an organizational governance issue — and this study shows there is a clear need for improvement,” said BSA President and CEO Victoria Espinel. “There are basic steps any company can take to ensure it is fully compliant, like establishing a formal policy on licensed software use and maintaining careful records. Companies also should consider implementing more robust software asset management programs that follow internationally-accepted guidelines. These SAM programs can deliver substantial value by ensuring adequate controls are in place to provide a full view into what is installed on a network. That helps organizations avoid security and operational risks, and it ensures they have the right number of licenses for their users.”

Dao Anh Tuan, BSA representative in Vietnam, said, “Estimates indicate that the cost for software only accounts for 5-6% of businesses’ gross annual expenditure, which is not really big numbers compared to relief costs and risks from using unlicensed software. Using legal software can provide businesses with multiple benefits such as low regulatory risks and protection from penalties as a result of audits and inspections. Users will receive technical support including various patches, help in dealing with problems, error free software, and an environment free of spyware. All this is particularly important in the current era of malware and hi-tech crime.”

The BSA Global Software Survey is conducted every other year for BSA by IDC, which this year polled computer users in 34 markets including nearly 22,000 consumer and business PC users and more than 2,000 IT managers. Among the findings:

  • The rate at which PC software was installed without proper licensing in Vietnam was 81 percent in 2013, the same level as in 2011. The commercial value of that unlicensed software totaled US$620 million.


  • The chief reason computer users around the world cite for not using unlicensed software is avoiding security threats from malware. Among the risks associated with unlicensed software, 64 percent of users globally cited unauthorized access by hackers as a top concern and 59 percent cited loss of data.
  • IT managers around the world express understandable concern that unlicensed software may cause harm, yet less than half say they are very confident that their company’s software is properly licensed.


“With a significant 9 percentage point increase in the consumer share of the PC hardware installed base; and a growth of 10 percentage point in White Box share of PC shipments, this has resulted in an upward pressure on the rate of unlicensed software. However, the positive efforts made by concerned Government agencies in general and the members of the Partnership in Protection of Software Copyright in particular, to address use of legitimate software in the business sector, has kept the overall rate in check,” said Dao Anh Tuan.


“Over the past few years, the Government’s efforts in combating unlicensed software has been commendable. The legal system is now strong enough to handle software copyright infringement cases.  This survey has been useful in helping us understand that computer users around the globe have major concerns over security threats. The continued use of unlicensed software is a significant threat to the economy and future of this country, and needs to be adequately addressed,” added Dao Anh Tuan.

In late 2013, Microsoft and Lac Viet filed a lawsuit against Gold Long John Company – the first court case of its kind - for software copyright infringement in the court of Dong Nai province. Only two months later, the case was settled with Gold Long John Co. agreeing to make a public apology and payment for damages at 100% of the infringement discovered. After nine years of imposing only administrative fines, this case has proven that Vietnam’s legal system is now ready to handle copyright infringement cases.

“Enforcement of intellectual property right protection, particularly software copyright, has received strong support from the government. On December 31, 2008, the Prime Minister had issued Directive 36/2008/CT-TTg on strengthening administration and enforcement of protection of copyright and related rights, including software copyright. We have just completed  a 5-year review since the execution of the Prime Minister’s Directive 36, in which we highlighted the significant achievements in software copyright enforcement.  By the end of 2013, within the five year period, we had successfully audited 338 enterprises, checked 14,562 computers, and issued penalties to the value of 3.5 billion dong (USD 170,000). I believe that with the strong political will of the government, strong cooperation with the software copyright owners and wide-scale compliance by  business users, we will achieve our target of reducing the rate of unlicensed software in Vietnam down to the regional average level, 70% by 2018”, said Mr. Tran Van Minh, Deputy Chief Inspector, Ministry of Culture, Sport & Tourism.

Among the other findings in BSA’s Global Software Survey:

The global rate at which PC software was installed without proper licensing rose from 42 percent in 2011 to 43 percent in 2013 as emerging economies where unlicensed software use is most prevalent continued to account for a growing majority of all PCs in service.


The commercial value of unlicensed PC software installations totaled $62.7 billion globally in 2013.


  • The region with the highest overall rate of unlicensed PC software installations in 2013 was Asia-Pacific, at 62 percent. This represented a 2 percentage-point increase from 2011, with the commercial value of unlicensed installations reaching $21 billion.

A full copy of BSA’s Global Software Survey, including country-specific data, is available for download on BSA’s website:


About BSA

BSA | The Software Alliance ( is the leading advocate for the global software industry before governments and in the international marketplace. Its members are among the world’s most innovative companies, creating software solutions that spark the economy and improve modern life. With headquarters in Washington, DC and operations in more than 60 countries around the world, BSA pioneers compliance programs that promote legal software use and advocates for public policies that foster technology innovation and drive growth in the digital economy.