Normally any software company that finds one of its product keys being shared on torrent websites would crack down pretty quickly by withdrawing it. Not Avast however who, according to a report by PC Pro magazine decided to track installs with it to see how far it would spread.
The company stayed deathly silent for eighteen months but have now finally announced that there have been 774,651 activations using the pirated key for their Avast Pro suite.
The key was originally issued to a small business in Arizona but has since been used right around the world including, according to an Avast spokesperson, "on two computers in Vatican City".
The spokesperson went on to say “There is a paradox in computer users looking for ‘free’ antivirus programs at locations with a known reputation for spreading malware.”
Now the dodgy code is being used in over 200 countries and Avast have issued a pop-up warning on the relevant computers informing the user, who may be completely unsuspecting, of the situation and offering them the option to switch to a legitimate copy of either their free or paid-for anti-virus suites.
There's no data yet on how many pirates have decided to go legit, but according to Avast "it's going according to plan".
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.