“I hate finding good deals,” – said No One Ever. Even if the bargain-priced shirt has loose stitch, or the recently-reduced loaf of bread is near the end of its prime, you’re saving money, and who doesn’t love saving a buck or two? Of course, some products are safe bets for a bargain basement deal, but software for your PC isn’t one of them. Illegal software may save you money at purchase, but it exposes everything on your computer to cyber-threats like identity theft, data loss and system crashes.

To learn more about software piracy, Microsoft and IDC recently surveyed more than 2,000 consumers and found that people will waste $22 billion and 1.5 billion hours dealing with security issues from counterfeit software in 2013. Also, 1 in 3 PCs with counterfeit software will be infected by malware in 2013. Think of what’s housed on your computer and what could potentially be stolen: personal photos and videos, confidential documents and passwords – all of that information and more is potentially up for grabs when you install pirated software.

So how can you tell if the software you purchase is legit or not?  Microsoft’s www.howtotell.com website walks you through the indicators of properly licensed products including the correct labels, packaging, hardware embossing and more for both PCs and Xbox so you can buy with confidence.

Remember, if the software deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Keep your personal information and PC/home network safe by using genuine software products.