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  1. One of the biggest disadvantages of using pirated software is the increased risk of letting your computer get infected with malware. Cybercriminals often bundle the cracked versions of paid software on piracy websites with adware and cryptominer to earn free cash. So, if you’re installing such programs from unknown sources, the chances of you getting hacked are pretty good. The same attack vector is being used by hackers to distribute a new Mac cryptocurrency miner named Bird Miner. As Malwarebytes’ official blog explains, Bird Miner has been found to be bundled with a cracked installer of a software named Ableton Live, which is a tool for high-end music production. Malwarebytes found that Ableton Live 10’s cracked 2.6 GB installer is available on piracy website VST Crack. Security researchers from the firm became suspicious when they found that Bird Miner’s post installation script was busy copying installed files to new locations with random names. The new files with random names seem to have various functions, including the role of launch daemons. One such daemon launches a shell script called Crax, which makes sure that the malware is hidden from the security researchers. The malware further checks to see if your Mac’s CPU is operating at more than 85 percent load to avoid running the cryptomining script in this case. Bird Miner uses Tiny Core Linux emulation The last piece of the puzzle is the launch of an executable named Nigel, which is an old version of an open source emulator named Qemu. For those who don’t know, Qemu is a terminal-only virtualization software that lets one run Linux packages on non-Linux machines. The Qemu emulator further uses a file named Poaceae, which is a bootable Tiny Core Linux image. Finally, as soon as the Tiny Core system boots up, the xmrig miner starts running to mine the Monero cryptocurrency. The Malwarebytes researchers mention that familiarity with Linux could be the reason why creators of the malware chose the Linux route. This malware further shows why using pirated software increases the chances of getting infected very easily. Source
  2. Label Apologizes For All The Cracked Software Visible in Rapper’s YouTube Video Music production software is both notoriously expensive and heavily pirated, quite often by those just getting into the game. However, if you're an already famous performer and screenshots of your desktop appear on the Internet, removing evidence of cracked apps is probably a good move. Once upon a time, people with an interest in music production could get into the game cheaply. Back in the 80s, Amiga users (like myself) could mess around with tools like SoundTracker or OctaMED for hours, producing music at home that could be potentially fit for human consumption, if it wasn’t for a lack of talent. Later, software like Cubase began to gain traction, since it was often bundled (in cut down form) with PC sound cards. But, of course, times moved on and in the short years that followed an avalanche of amazing tools became available; Fruity Loops and Reason, to name just two. These days users are spoiled for choice but great production software in the 2010s often has great prices attached too, meaning that many turn to torrent and similar sites for their fix. Anyone who’s visited a back street studio will also let you know – they are often rammed with pirate software. While controversial, pirate software gets many people into the music production business and, in common with those familiar with Windows or Adobe products, also trains people to stick with products when they can afford to pay. Some, however, forget to clean up the mess after. Earlier this month, K-pop star Jeon So-yeon(Soyeon) learned that lesson the hard way. The rapper, singer, songwriter and general all-round star is signed to Cube Entertainment, which had put out a video on the label’s official YouTube channel (now deleted) which included a snapshot of her desktop. That turned out to be a big mistake. Not only is Soyeon’s workspace the most cluttered in human history, eagle-eyed fans noticed that the star had some interesting additions that should’ve been kept away from the public eye. Pirate software galore – Full size (Credit: Asian Junkie) The revelations in the video left the star having to explain why she had cracked copies of Native Instruments’ Komplete, Kontakt, and several other pieces of pirated production software on her desktop. Like many before her, Soyeon’s excuse was that she made mistakes with pirated software before she became famous a few years ago, and forgot to clean up the free stuff she’d trained herself with. “First of all, I would like to sincerely apologize for causing any worry due to such disgraceful news,” she said, as translated by Asian Junkie. “I remember using many different programs back when I first started learning how to compose music. For reasons that I neither deleted nor organized these files in the past, and for not even having consciously thought about it, I sincerely reflect back on it with remorse.” While it’s certainly not unusual for starting musicians to learn their trade using pirated software, it becomes a bigger issue when they use that software to sell records. Soyeon, however, insists that wasn’t the case with her. “Ever since I began in earnest to produce music, up to the recent songs that I have made, I have only used official programs, but I apologize once again for worrying you with an ignorance of copyright issues as a creator, no matter what the circumstances. From now on, I will study and act more carefully, never to use or own any kind of illegal file in the future.” In an apology, Cube Entertainment sang the same tune. “The program in question were downloaded when Soyeon was a trainee and was just beginning to learn about composing music in the process of her using various programs and learning about them. The program was never used again after Soyeon began seriously committing to musical composition,” the company said. “We have confirmed that all of Soyeon’s compositions that have been released till now were created with a licensed Logic program, instruments we own, as well as Splice, which requires a monthly subscription fee.” Fans don’t seem to be too concerned about Soyeon’s use of pirated software but of course the news will be an embarrassment to her label which will have piracy issues of its own. That said, she certainly isn’t the first artist to get caught using pirated production tools. Stars including Kanye West, Avicii (rip) and Martin Garrix have all been caught using less-than-licensed software in the past. They certainly won’t be the last. Source
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