AVAST Software: Pirates jump ship, join lawyers – Vatican goes legal

PRAGUE, Czech Republic, April 1, 2011 – Pirates have joined the lawyers in their pursuit of avast! antivirus after the late 2010 shutdown of an illegal license. But this time, the Vatican went legal.

An Arizona bar association with more than 1,500 legal professionals is the source of the product license key for nearly 750,000 avast! users. Unfortunately, all but 217 of these users are pirates.

"At least in this case, the lawyers are not the pirates," said Vince Steckler, CEO of AVAST Software. "The big jump in numbers came just after we shut down another pirated license we had been watching in December."

"We had been wondering how long it would take the pirates to find another license. It surprised even us that in only three months, around 750,000 users of the previous pirated license had essentially shifted to this law association’s license," added Mr. Steckler. "Maybe they thought they could hide behind the law….."

From its start in Arizona, the license is now being used by avast! users in 218 countries and territories. "It is quite interesting that both of our massively pirated licenses came from Arizona," remarked Mr. Steckler. "We did not know that the state could have such a global following."

This latest license piracy is distinct from earlier pirates detected by AVAST Software on the following points:

  • Faster: The license spread to three-quarters of a million users in the last three months. The original license was sold nine months ago.
  • Updated: All of these pirates have had the new avast! 7.0, with its new AutoSandbox, WebRep, and SafeZone virtualization features.
  • None in the Vatican: No users were identified this time in the Vatican City.

"We don’t want to be suing or employing lawyers on this," added Mr. Steckler. "As before, we inform, then convert or switch. We will see what happens this time."

Top Dirty Dozen*
  1. Russia
  2. Egypt
  3. Brazil
  4. Mexico
  5. Philippines
  6. Indonesia
  7. USA
  8. Italy
  9. Thailand
  10. Spain
  11. Ukraine
  12. France

*data from internal reports on pirated license usage, sorted by country.
Disclaimer: This is not an April Fool’s Day joke. Even if it is rather funny.

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