Over 90 percent of new personal computers purchased by Microsoft from India have a high-level of pirated software, according to an analysis by the software-giant.


Nine Asian countries, including India, have a high-level of pirated software loaded on personal computers.


Microsoft purchased the personal computers between May and July this year, and then tested them, which showed that more 83 percent of them acquired from the nine countries were loaded with pirate software, according to the analysis of newly purchased systems.


The tests showed that India had 91 percent of the new personal computers loaded with pirated software, followed by Indonesia 90 percent, Taiwan 73 percent, Singapore 55 percent and the Philippines 43 percent.


The worst were South Korea, Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand, all with 100 percent of the purchased personal computers loaded with pirated software.


Out of the 166 personal computers bought from nine countries, 22 were purchased from Indian shops at random, 20 of which were loaded with pirated software when tested out by experts, said Mary Jo Schrade, Assistant General Counsel and Regional Director of Digital Crimes Unit in Asia at the Microsoft in Singapore.


Calling on consumers to make a choice for genuine software when buying computers, Schrade said 17 units had malware out of the 20 acquired in India for the tests.


Overall, the 166 personal computers acquired from Asian countries, 137 or 83 percent were loaded with pirated software.

In her efforts to educate people, Schrade cautioned: "Think! Free software is not really free."


Pirated software, initially cheaper, will lead to extra time and costs as it comes with embedded virus such as Trojan.


Compromised personal computers performance is not only slowing the computer but stealing information and access to the system for there are malware allowing Bitcoin mining among other illegal activities, said the Microsoft executive.


"We saw that in every step of this whole process you encounter malware," said Biplap Sikdar, associate professor at department of electrical and computing engineering at the National University of Singapore.


Sikdar, who analysed the computers, also cautioned about the time and cost of a compromised system.


Sensitive information such as personal, family pictures and banking, is stolen while the system is encrypted and locked, in some cases ransom is demanded as a way to unlock.


Schrade warned, "Cybercriminals are constantly evolving their techniques to evade security measures and embedding their malware into pirated software is one of their tactics as it allows them to compromise large numbers of personal computers and access the amount of stolen credentials with ease."


"When vendors sell pirated software containing malware in their personal computers, they are not only fueling the spread of malware in the region but are also putting their customers' personal information and digital identity at the mercy of cybercriminals," she pointed out.