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PHL companies must stop using pirated software–BSA

THE Business Software Alliance (BSA) said it is working closely with the Optical Media Board to mitigate the use of illegal software in Philippine companies by the end of the year.

With BSA’s “Clean Up to the Countdown” campaign, CEOs in the country are encouraged to legalize their corporate software assets.

The initiative targets 10,000 companies in the architecture, banking and finance, construction, design, engineering, health care, information technology and manufacturing that are perceived to be at risk of using unlicensed software.

Out of the 6,220 companies that BSA engaged in its initial “Legalize and Protect” campaign conducted from March to September of this year, 1,375 of them cited instances of legalizations, 22 percent use legal software, and 78 percent may not be aware of the type of software running on their company’s computers and whether they are legal or not.

“So we still believe that there [remains] a big gap between adoption and recognizing the risks,” Tarun Sawney, BSA senior director for Asia-Pacific, told reporters in a media briefing held at the Winford Manila Resort and Casino on Monday.

“We’re hoping that we do a lot better than 22 percent. If we convert 50 percent that would be great,” Sawney added.

Companies that are using illegal software, based on another study, are highly susceptible to cyber threats like that of a malware that attacks eight times every second.

Because a country’s unlicensed software use is an indicator of how exposed it is to such attacks, this remains a concern in the Philippines for having at least 64 percent utilization rate of unlicensed software in the corporate sector, per the BSA’s survey in 2017.

“So there’s two [to] three chances that they have been impacted by cybercrimes,” said Sawney.

With this in mind, OMB Chairman Anselmo Adriano urged homegrown firms to remain vigilant and to use only licensed software.

The agency, in cooperation with BSA, has so far inspected and filed cases against 40 Internet cafés and two major construction companies for violating Republic Act 9239, or the Optical Media Act of 2003, with their use of illicit software.

“That number, we expect also to increase because last week we also saturated a large chain of an Internet café nationwide that we also found to be violating or using unlicensed software,” he said.

Software regulation is only a third of what OMB is actually looking out for, apart from movies and music.

“But it does not necessarily mean that we’re stopping at what we are into right now. We’re continuing with our operation. We are doing what we can under the circumstances,” said Adriano.

“That’s the reason why we rely so much on information from the public, from complaints that we get either through our landline, e-mail, social-media account, and of course, from BSA,” he added.

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