Microsoft Statement on Software Piracy Arrest by Riverside County (Calif.) Sheriff’s Computer and Technology Crime High-Tech Response Team

REDMOND, Wash. — Jan. 31, 2007 — Microsoft Corp. issued the following statement by Senior Attorney Bonnie MacNaughton applauding the Riverside County (Calif.) Sheriff’s Department’s arrest of an individual allegedly responsible for the production and sale of counterfeit computer software.

“Microsoft applauds the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department’s efforts to stop the production and sale of counterfeit software. The arrest of an individual allegedly involved in a piracy operation worth hundreds of thousands of dollars is a great success and sends a strong message that counterfeiting has the potential to carry significant criminal penalties for those who choose to engage in it.

“The Sheriff’s Department’s CATCH (Computer And Technology Crime High-Tech Response) Team should be congratulated for its professionalism and tenacity in the eight-month investigation that led to yesterday’s arrest. The Riverside team is one of five task forces in California charged with investigating high-tech crime, and Microsoft strongly supports the professional investigators working behind the scenes to stop fraudulent and illegal behavior. Their work has a direct impact on helping to protect consumers from counterfeit software and the risks associated with its use.

“Counterfeit software has emerged as big business and one that Microsoft is deeply concerned about. It has, for example, become an increasingly common way for criminals to steal personal information. Last year, Microsoft sponsored a study conducted by IDC that showed that using counterfeit software can pose real risks to consumers. Among the study’s conclusions was that 25 percent of the pirate Web sites analyzed attempted to install either malicious or potentially unwanted software.

“Microsoft will continue its efforts to fight software counterfeiting and support those, such as Riverside’s CATCH Team, who share our commitment to protecting consumers. The arrest yesterday of an individual allegedly involved in a piracy operation that defrauded Microsoft® software is an important victory in what is an ongoing, global fight. We send our thanks and support to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, and especially to the dedicated professionals of the CATCH Team.”

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