What is Unauthorized Software?
The Dangers of Unauthorized Software: Understanding the Risks and Impacts on Cybersecurity and Corporate IT
Unauthorized software refers to any computer programs, applications, tools, or extensions that have been installed onto a device without the necessary licenses or permissions required. In many situations, the software may be executed on a device without the users' knowledge or consent. This type of activity typically occurs in a cloak-and-dagger fashion or through deceit, aiming to hide from traditional security systems. Unauthorized software
is one of the categories under the broad umbrella of malware, which collectively refers to a series of malicious activities or software introduced into a computer with the intention to cause damage or gain unauthorized access.
The software involved is often developed clandestinely by unauthorized entities, whether by a lone wolf or a team of code writers, to serve a variety of ill-intended functions. The primary characteristic of unauthorized software is its secretive installation; the secondary aspect lies in its concealed operation. As time elapses, it becomes pervasive, yet remains unnoticeable as it infects the computer system and conducts the desired activity.
Unauthorized software is a significant revenue stream for cybercriminals globally, as it can serve various harmful purposes. They can enact remote access trojans
(RATs) which gain control over the infected device
, keyloggers that monitor and capture every keyboard stroke logged on the infected device, ransomware which encrypts system data and demands a ransom for its recovery, and adware
that inundates users with unwanted advertisements.
With the rise in intellectual property value, unauthorized software installations also result in program copyright infringements. This is seen in software piracy
, a common issue where premium software is cloned and distributed without permission from the owner creator, which leads to significant revenue losses in the long run.
In the context of antivirus and cybersecurity, it's crucial to understand that unauthorized software, hidden and pervasive, fundamentally breaches essential security protocols
. They maintain a low-level prescience lying dormant, yet active, unidentifiable by average users. It eludes superficial detection
and eradicates barriers which safeguard data integrity
, posing serious identity-theft risks. Sensitive information such as credit card details, passwords, amongst others, may be surreptitiously sold on dark web
marketplaces, leading to substantial financial and reputational damages.
Running unauthorized software lacking recognized certificates of authenticity also leaves endpoints susceptible to vulnerabilities which experienced black hat hackers may exploit
. This elevates exposure to potential threats, slowing down operating systems, generating errors, compromising system stability and causing data loss in extreme situations.
In a world where digital transactions
are now the norm, it's increasingly important to set up defences against such cyber threats
. Antivirus software
acts as a protective layer between you and potential cyber threats, scanning, isolating and removing unauthorized software before damage can be done. They run persistently in the background, constantly updating to deal with new threats and offering real-time protection. For complete protection, it should be supplemented with other cybersecurity routines, like updating legitimate software frequently, backing up data and educating users about the common tactics used by cybercriminals.
Unauthorized software in cybersecurity and antivirus is a significant threat to personal and organizational data integrity. Combating them calls for sound cybersecurity strategies coupled with reliable, updated antivirus software. Healthy digital habits also form a critical shield in the ongoing battle against unauthorized software and other potential cyber threats, reinforcing data safety and security in today's digitally powered world.
Unauthorized Software FAQs
What is unauthorized software?Unauthorized software refers to any software that is installed or used on a device without the appropriate licensing or permission from the owner.
What are the risks associated with using unauthorized software?Using unauthorized software can put your device and data at risk of cyberattacks and malware infections. These types of software are often not updated with the latest security patches and can have vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit.
How can I prevent unauthorized software from being installed on my device?To prevent unauthorized software from being installed on your device, you should use antivirus software that can detect and block malicious programs. You should also educate yourself and your employees about the risks associated with using unauthorized software and establish policies that prohibit its use.
What should I do if I suspect unauthorized software has been installed on my device?If you suspect unauthorized software has been installed on your device, you should run a virus scan immediately to check for any malicious programs. You should also remove the unauthorized software and report the incident to your IT department or security team to investigate and take necessary action to prevent further unauthorized installations.