Cracks are illegal programs created to remove the restrictions on the software and to make it equal to its full version. Depending on their type, such tools/software can generate registration codes, change specific parts of the software (add registry values, files, and similar components) and cause other alterations in program's code. Each of these activities can eliminate the restrictions of the program and help the user avoid the payment required in exchange for the licensed version. Such software is mostly known as 'cracked.' In most of the countries, people are not allowed to use it. Such activity is considered illegal and unethical.
Security experts see lots of problems related to the cracked software. The most important of them is that its developers can fill it with computer viruses and malware. By installing the pirated version of the program and failing to pay the money for its license, people can run into other losses, such as the loss of sensitive information (logins, passwords, etc.) and the permission to use their computers for such illegal activities as BitCoin mining and DDOS attacks.
Tools used for cracking
The most popular tools used for cracking are these ones: Keygen, Patch, and Loader. Each of them can be used for these activities:
- Keygen (also known as Key Generator) is a computer program that generates serial numbers and registration codes needed for the use of the software. There are two versions of such tools - licensed and illegal. Unauthorized versions generate illegal license code and help people to avoid making the payment for the software. However, there is no guarantee that the generated code is working. Besides, the most of such codes contain malicious components that can lead victims to PC-related problems;
- Patch is a program used for updating the software and downloading its improvements to the system. Illegal patches are usually created by the third party developers and are used for updating the program for free. They can modify program’s code by adding required executable files and other components needed for a normal functionality of the software. Illegal updates can cause performance-related issues, instability, and similar problems.
- The loader is a program used to modify the startup flow of a program. Instead of removing the protection, the illegal version of loader does everything to avoid it. Such tools have been actively used to cheat in games.
The main risks of using cracked software
There is no surprise that the Internet is filled with cracked versions of the different software. People believe that they can save the money and effort by using it. Unfortunately, but there are lots of risks related to the use of such pirated copies that should make them avoid it. The use of the cracked software can lead you to such problems:
- Violation of the copyright law. In most of the countries, the use of cracks and cracked software is considered illegal. Depending on the location of your computer, you can get into jail or receive a requirement to pay a fine. Only on rare occasions it is legitimate to use cracked software.
- The loss of important information. The cracked software is capable of gaining the access to any information that is kept on your hard drive. It can try to erase it or encrypt it without any permission asked. In most of the cases, victims are left without an ability to get this data back to them.
- Infiltration of malware. The most of cracked software is filled with viruses and malware. There are lots of different types of viruses that can be installed on the system in a bundle. While some part of them can be used just for advertising or spreading spam, other can try to get the access to the credit card or try to steal other sensitive information.
- Redirects to unsafe sites. Cracks and pirated software are often promoted via resources that are considered unsafe. They can be filled with commercial content, aggressive ads and malicious links leading their victims to malware-infested websites.
- Performance-related problems and instability issues. The most of pirated programs cannot be used without performance-related issues. Crashes, slowdowns, and other problems can be expected when using such programs. Also, if a cracked software is badly programmed, system performance-related issues can also be expected.
- No automatic updates. The pirated software does not include any automatic updates that show up from time to time. So, the users of such programs have to continue their visits to illegal websites that offer unlicensed versions of programs when they are out of date. Such visits can put them and their devices to the risk of malware.
The final thoughts about cracks
Unfortunately, but there are millions of people who use cracks and cracked software. Almost each of them knows that it is illegal to make it and to use it. The biggest problem here is that these users clearly understand that they are collaborating with hackers who create these illegal executable files and promote them on the Internet. However, not all of them know that by downloading malicious executable files on their computers, they can let cyber criminals to connect to them and add or erase needed information. Besides, such criminals can try to install malware on their computers and take over their sensitive information that is kept on the system.
To avoid all possible dangers, security experts recommend NOT TO USE CRACKED SOFTWARE. If you have already downloaded one to your computer, make sure you perform these steps below:
- Uninstall cracked software from your computer;
- Scan your computer with the reliable anti-spyware.
By uninstalling the pirated software, you cannot be sure that your computer is safe. There are lots of suspicious components that can be installed with the crack and cannot be removed manually. Also, malware and other unwanted software can also be installed by its owners without your authorization. The easiest way to make sure that your computer is completely safe is to run a full system scan with the reliable anti-spyware. Here are the programs that can help you to check your computer thoroughly: Reimage, Malwarebytes Anti Malware.