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A software pirate is someone who is engaged in software piracy. Software piracy is the general principle of unauthorized use or access of software products and services.
By some estimates, pirated software comprises more than one-third of all active software in use around the world. The vast amount of pirate software, and the many ways that software can be pirated, have made anti-piracy security a huge industry. Where digital content has different digital rights management (DRM) strategies applied to protect it from piracy, software systems can be uniquely vulnerable to this type of theft.
One type of software piracy involves illegally downloading software programs using networks that facilitate this kind of unauthorized sharing. Other kinds of software piracy involve getting proprietary access codes. This is often called "cracking" software.
As more software products are sold through web delivery protocols or software as a service models, many software pirates now focus on cracking passwords in order to access products and services. New reports show work on highly advanced password cracking software that can figure out user passwords in all kinds of sophisticated ways. Security professionals need to stay one step ahead of these efforts to reverse engineer or unlock software in order to counter piracy.