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Software settlement cases rise 100%

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Almost 30 cases of unlicensed software use were settled in Australia in 2017, a year-on-year increase of 100%, leading to a total damages bill of more than $347,000.

The biggest single settlement came from a Western Australia-based energy company that settled for more than $40,000 after it was found to be using unlicensed software.

There were 28 instances of businesses caught using unlicensed software, all of which were made to purchase legitimate software licences in addition to paying damages.

According to BSA | The Software Alliance (BSA), which administers the scheme, the introduction of the federal government’s new Notifiable Data Breach (NDB) laws make it more important than ever to ensure that software used is licensed and regularly patched.

“Businesses need to remember that unlicensed software, or software downloaded from an unknown source, may contain malware, which puts an organisation and its customers at significant risk of becoming the victim of a data breach,” said BSA APAC Director of Compliance Programs Gary Gan.

“And without properly licensed software, organisations don’t receive patch updates which strengthen the software’s security and address vulnerabilities, which otherwise would leave the business exposed.

“It’s especially important that organisations are ensuring they’re doing all they can to protect their data given the recent introduction of NDB legislation.”

To ensure their software is always properly licensed, Gan said that businesses should consider investing in software asset management (SAM) tools.

“The potential consequences faced by businesses that are found to be using unlicensed software far outweighs the cost of investment into SAM, something that all businesses should be considering,” Gan continued.