Securing your PC, the right way

A bank security guard fast asleep. In this state, he is offering no security. A cracked security suite software is even worse.
A bank security guard fast asleep. In this state, he is offering no security. A cracked security suite software is even worse.

A friend who had been overwhelmed by Internet worms and virus on his laptop brought his iPod to me so I could scan it. He had already formatted his laptop’s hard drive and had re-installed the Windows operating system but since he used his 30GB iPod as an external hard drive, he wanted me to scan it and be sure the threats were neutralized before he copied his files back to the PC from the iPod.

Out of the over 30,000 files on the iPod, over 2,700 of them were computer viruses, computer worms, trojan horses and other rogue files. I asked what security software he had on his laptop and was told ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite. I knew this was one of the best on the web and wondered why his laptop had fallen a victim. Then I examined the setup file and was shocked to see the following written boldly: “warez to the core”. Apparently, this ZoneAlarm setup file was a cracked version and since my friend did not know the meaning of the word “warez”, he did not know that the fake security software installation was the genesis of his problem. I will illustrate.

Can you imagine hiring a security guard who stands at your gate always wearing a t-shirt with the text “robber to the core” boldly printed on it? Well, such a guard will leave your gate ajar to fellow robbers who would have a field day streaming in and out of your property. I do not need to tell you the amount of havoc they would perpetrate?

The right thing is to download whatever security software you choose to use, directly from the website of the software publisher. Downloading from warez websites constitutes a big security risk for your PC.

My next post about this issue will offer recommended security software for your PC. Stay safe.

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Oluniyi D. Ajao
Oluniyi D. Ajao is an Internet Entrepreneur and Tech Enthusiast based in South Africa. Follow him on twitter @niyyie for more tech updates.


  1. This issue of software piracy is one which should be of concern to all of us. In this part of the world, people are always searching for anything FREE. What most people don’t realize is: nothing is really FREE in this world

    The example you’ve shown in this article is a clear reminder and testament to that. The issue is even worse when it comes to operating systems.

    I was opportuned to attend a Microsoft Licensing and Business productivity conference at the Golden Tulip Hotel in Kumasi on the 19th, where I had the opportunity of meeting Mr. Victor Diali- Distribution Account Manager for Microsoft Anglophone West Africa.

    During his lecture at the conference, he asked a question that made everyone smile- How Many of You have actually bought a software in your lives?

    Most people would rather opt in for these seemingly FREE (cracked) software, but what they fail to realize is that in using these software, they are exposing their systems to some of the vulnerabilities mentioned above.

    Mr Diali also shared a personal experience he had where someone had apparently hi-jacked his PC, and he was engaged in a “power struggle” for use of his own mouse with this person.

    Stats have it that 29% of software currently in use in the UK are pirated. One can only imagine what the figure would be like down here.

    It’s just plain sad. People need to realize that in using these pirated products, they are not only doing harm to themselves, but also infringing on intellectual property belonging to someone else.

    I hope we all learn something from this. Nice one David.

  2. There are two major reasons people look for free software in this part of the world:

    1. The general economic hardship does not allow them the extra cash to spend on buying legitimate software.
    2. No means of paying online since credit cards are not yet mainstream.

    Thus, many are used to looking for free software and out of that, some fall for cracked version of legitimate software (known as warez). Thus some use warez only out of ignorance with its grievous effects.

    However, there are legitimate software that are free-of-charge even security software. I will examine some of those in my next post about this issue.

  3. I beg to differ.

    Can’t say I completely agree. Accessibility (point 2)- fine, but pricing- No.

    The same people who would complain about not being able to afford a legitimate software for $25 – $100, go on to purchase the latest mobile phones and gadgets at exorbitant rates.

    To me it’s just a matter of misplaced priorities. People would rather spend $50-$200 on just an evening’s outing, than spend the same amount purchasing software whose “rights to use” they could own forever, just because they can get it for free (seemingly).

    You even find business people spending a fortune on the latest cars, but aren’t even willing to spend a fraction of the same amounts on software which would enhance their businesses and yield the same profit they’d use to purchase those same cars.

    The pricing line of argument to me just doesn’t cut it, because there are instances of even financial institutions and large corporates using these pirated software.

    There was an instance of a swoop on one of the Financial institutions by Microsoft in Nigeria, where they had to settle out of court for millions of dollars. Can the same line of argument apply to these as well?

    Some have even argued that more education on piracy is needed, but I dare ask- Which one of us doesn’t know piracy is wrong? In my opinion, we as Africans just need to task ourselves to do the right things. We know and have always known what to do, but just won’t.

  4. 😆 True talk but there are many people in Africa who genuinely cannot afford any extra money for software. You were right about people with misplaced priorities because I laugh when I see people who very miserly with phone calls (even business calls) but are more than willing to splash money on frivolous drinking.

    I also remember that Microsoft had a brush with Globacom Limited (Nigeria) before over the use of pirated software. So it is indeed true that the reluctance to pay for software is partly attitudinal, partly out of ignorance and partly because of lack.

  5. Sir, kindly assist me with the following information. I want to setup a site that people will make payment online using Debit or Cash cards, and I also want them to recieve sms alarts on their phones when transaction are consumated.

    How do I go about this or get this done on my site?

    I will greatly appreciate your response

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