Everyone knows if things are able to be pirated, they get pirated. However, it’s always interesting to see the exact extent of piracy. Creators of the Avast! security software noticed that a license for their Avast! Pro software, which was originally sold to a 14-user firm in Arizona, began making the piracy rounds online. Instead of putting an end to the circulating license, Avast Software decided to track the pirated license around the Internet, resulting in the license being shared 774,651 in a little over a year and a half.
Avast Software claims the pirated license was being used in over 200 countries, and was even installed on two computers in Vatican City. After their tracking experiment was over, Avast Software made the pirated versions of their program include a popup linking the users to the legitimate free and paid versions of the security software, hoping it would prompt users to switch over to a more legal option.
Equally interesting to the amount of times the tracked license key was pirated, is the notion that the large number only represents one illegally-distributed license and doesn’t include various other illegally-distributed licenses, which would surely significantly boost the overall number of verified pirated keys.