Risks of Downloading Pirated or Cracked Software on Your PC

pirated software

Buying software can come at a hefty price. Whether we are talking about apps, editing software, or games, these digital products can be costly. So, it’s not a surprise that people look for alternative ways to acquire these solutions. 

The seemingly easiest way to do this is to download cracked or pirated software. While it might seem like a good idea, we assure you that it is not. First, downloading pirated content is illegal. Secondly, it is a dangerous activity as well. After all, hackers understand that users might be tempted to get cracked software. Thus, they use it as bait to spread malware and viruses. In May 2021, reports revealed that a research facility was hit by ransomware after a student installed pirated software. 

Today, we’re going to talk about the risks of downloading cracked software and convince you that this activity is not worth it. 

Cracked software is usually downloaded from unsafe sites 

Those sites that crack software are generally quite sketchy. In many cases, they are filled with popups, ads, redirects, and other nuisances. But this is not the only issue here. They often “force” you to click on things, and in all this commotion, you might unknowingly download a computer virus. 

On the other hand, these sites are on the other side of the law. Since they don’t have problems cracking valuable software, they might not have any issues stealing your personal information or even tracking you online. Therefore, it is best to leave such websites immediately. Fake websites could also pretend to be reliable game distribution channels. However, never reveal your payments details or other information to sites that feature a different URL than you are accustomed to seeing. 

Such copy-cat websites attempt to trick you, and it is important that your connection is safe. A Virtual Private Network can guarantee that your connection is encrypted up to the latest standards. It also hides IP addresses and lets users gain more anonymity by blending into the crowd of other connected users. More advanced tools can block fake websites and trackers as well. Thus, your connection will be interrupted before it reaches the potentially dangerous site. 

Cracked programs can have viruses 

Hackers and cybercriminals often include malware within cracked software. Then they post these programs on torrenting sites for people to download. When you install some infected program or app, the malware can stay hidden for a very long time and steal your personal information. 

Such malware can download even more malicious programs and cause even more significant issues. Malware can do many bad things to you and your device. It can take screenshots, steal passwords, check bank account credentials, send your credit information to someone, and so on. 

To make things even worse, many people don’t detect that they have malware and keep using their devices regularly while all kinds of things are happening in the background. 

The program might not work 

Downloading cracked software doesn’t guarantee you that it will work. The worst part of it is that there’s customer support you can contact to help you with the issue. Naturally, developers won’t appreciate you using a cracked version of their software. 

There are all kinds of reasons why cracked software might work poorly or not even work at all. Sometimes, the people cracking the program break its code or functionalities somehow. 

On the other hand, developers implement clever tricks that will prevent you from using the cracked version. In some cases, they might limit functionalities or make it impossible to use the software normally. On top of that, it’s impossible to get updates or upgrade the tool you’re using to get the latest features. 

You might get caught by the company

As you might know, using pirated software is illegal in most countries. It means that you will have to suffer the consequences if you get caught. Many companies today make software that can be tracked and identified in some way to ensure that their users have genuine copies. 

For example, if you have a cracked game that’s on Steam (the official gaming platform) and you download it from a torrent site, the game might want to go online and connect to Steam when you turn it on. It will automatically show that you haven’t bought the game legally. 

In the US, a fine for owning cracked software can go as high as $10,000. The law sees using pirated software as theft and treats people who do as criminals. 

These programs could be vulnerable 

Using cracked support means there’s no support, no updates, and no upgrades. In other words, you stick with the version you’ve installed. This might be fine for a while, but this could lead to major security risks over time. 

Most software updates are all about security. They have essential patches that fix a variety of vulnerabilities. Not having updates means that your vulnerabilities won’t be fixed. Hackers often learn about the weak spots for a program and figure out different ways to break into these tools. 

From there, they can steal your data or insert malware into your device. 


It’s best to avoid using pirated software. Yes, there are benefits to doing this, but a lot can go wrong. At the same time, you should be conscious about the company that made the software. Is it fair to use someone’s product without paying for it? 

It’s not just that things could go wrong, but there are serious moral implications here. You wouldn’t want someone not to pay you for your hard work, would you? 


IITSWEB is the Chief Business Development Officer at IITSWEB, a Magento design and development company headquartered in Redwood City, California. He is a Member of the Magento Association and an Adobe Sales Accredited Magento Commerce professional. Jan is responsible for developing and leading the sales and digital marketing strategies of the company. He is passionate about ecommerce and Magento in particular — throughout the years his articles have been featured on Retail Dive, Hacker Noon, Chief Marketer, Mobile Marketer, TMCnet, and many others.

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