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The rules of ”basic hygiene”

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Stole it to bring it home

Read: 700 Comments: 3 Rating: 8

Our corporate license has been blocked. It turned out that our employee
used the serial number to renew our license on his home computer.

A typical request submitted to Doctor Web's tech support

Despite what many people think, anti-viruses do not scan networks in search of other security software installations in order to determine whether someone is violating EULA terms. That’s pointless. How can this help determine that someone is using the same license on their home PC and office machine? It can’t since the machines connect to different local networks and do not communicate with each other directly.

As the author was writing this issue, he imagined how all the applications on users' machines would start looking for "neighbours" and try to determine their identity (serial numbers). And soon they'd start negotiating with each other about how they could distribute updates more effectively (a mesh network)… And what would be the next step? Skynet? Well, we'd rather trust our users. :-)

Licenses are verified when updates are being downloaded. This approach offers many advantages for users because this way a license is not associated with a specific system, so even if the computer breaks down, the license owner will be able to use their license on another machine. And if the verification system identifies that the number of queries related to one license exceeds the number of machines it allows for, this may indicate that the license is being misused.

Doctor Web doesn't block corporate licenses automatically because doing so will prevent corporate machines from receiving updates and put the IT infrastructure at risk of getting infected with brand-new Trojans. First, we try to contact the company's representative—that's why we ask users to provide accurate contact information during registration and to keep it up to date. After all, the company may be unaware that its corporate license has been leaked. But if no response is received, then…

License verification may also help identify unscrupulous employees who have access to licenses and can't resist the temptation. Sometimes absurd situations occur. Companies are known to be too frugal to buy security software for their employees' personal computers and handhelds. But because the employees often work from home, the devices need to be protected too. So, instead of buying an appropriate number of licenses, the software is installed on personal devices under the corporate license. And as long as the total number of anti-viruses being run simultaneously doesn't exceed the quantity covered by the license everything seems to be fine. And then one day a certain employee chooses to renew the license on their machine. That very corporate license. Just for themselves.

#license #anti-virus #corporate_security

Dr.Web recommends

More often than not, restrictions are imposed on our customers because of incidents like the one we've just described rather than because we simply choose to do so. Therefore:

  • Keep your contact information up to date.
  • If your license has been blocked, do not panic—if a misuse incident has only occurred once, you can recover your license.
  • If you want to protect your employees' devices too, try Doctor Web's corporate solution which facilitates remote anti-virus software administration. With Dr.Web Enterprise Security Suite 11, system administrators can generate group installers and deploy anti-virus agents on employee machines and apply custom settings tailored for specific groups of computers. And forget about license issues—when anti-virus agents are administered remotely via a Control Center, no key files are stored on protected hosts.

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