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YouTube - Home To Software Piracy

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David Silversmith
David Silversmith

While most people visit YouTube to hear some music or see a funny video - usually because a friend sent a "check this out" email, YouTube is fast becoming the top source for ways to steal software registration codes.

It’s not uncommon to find music videos and pirated movies on YouTube but you may be a little surprised to know that the world’s most popular video sharing site has now become a haven for software piracy as well. People have been sharing product keys, licenses, and cracked software on the internet for years and YouTube has now become home to much of this. People are using YouTube to share serial numbers of software as well as step-by-step “tutorials” explaining how one can activate dozens of popular software titles and video games.

Looking at the YouTube metrics you can see that some of these videos have been viewed hundreds of thousands of times.  Even if YouTube removes them, the next one is uploaded just moments later. YouTube makes suggestions as you type in searches and when you type in "Microsoft Serial" or "Adobe Serial" you'll immediately see suggestions to finish your typing and view this software piracy videos.

Watching one of these videos, the sample video shown below (it will be a test for YouTube to see how long this video is there, or if this post will be showing a "removed video") provides you with explanations on how to obtain and enter registration codes without purchasing the software legally. 

So why are software pirates giving away these codes?  Well one reason these pirates are using YouTube is traffic. YouTube videos are highly likely to appear on Google’s first page of search results and that could bring enormous amounts of traffic to the pirates sites.  They may have a few "free" codes, but mostly they have sites filled with ads to sell you cheap pirated software. Or, if you are unlucky, their sites are the source for spyware and malware that they will try to download to your PC.

Underground software pirating websites, hosted in countries like China, are unlikely to make it the front pages of Google for popular queries.  But with the help of some well placed YouTube videos they may have an easier time getting close to Google page 1 and finding more people to scam.

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