Are Keygens and OEM software illegal?

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Patrick L. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

I love your articles! I was just wondering: many sites out there, including eBay members are selling copies or 'cracked' software. Some use 'kegen' programs to generate software keys in order to unlock software. I always purchase new software and from the company itself -- example: Adobe, Corel, etc. However, my friends want to purchase keygens and cracked software so they do not pay full retail. So my question is, aside from viruses or such, can programs like keygen and such be harmful to your computer? "

My response:

The short-and-sweet answer is that keygens [key generators] are illegal if they are used to crack or unlock legitimate software. Selling cracked software is also illegal. And, almost always, items advertised as OEM software are a scam. See:

OEM Software: Deal or Deception?

OEM Software: Deal or Deception?, Part 2

Your friends can purchase black-market software if they like, but if they need support or updates from the company, they'll simply be SOL (out of luck). If you own a cracked copy of Windows XP, you should know full well by now what the cons of owning illegitimate software entail.

As for keygens containing viruses or spyware: it more than extremely likely these days -- especially if you use file sharing / peer to peer (P2P) software like Kazaa to obtain a keygen or crack patch. This is because Spyware goons often name their spyware-infected files as a keygen or patch, spoofing users into downloading the file -- without realizing what the file actually is (until it's too late).


The Dangers of File-Sharing Software

| Tags:
Rate this article: 
No votes yet