As we first reported in the Microsoft Security Report Volume 13, Keygens have become the number one threat reported by users of Microsoft antimalware products. The research also indicates that 76 percent of users that downloaded Keygen or software cracks were also exposed to other, more dangerous malware.
Keygens are typically not very dangerous on their own. However, malware authors are having great success using deceptive downloads that either pretend to be Keygens or contain them as well as other malware to spread their malicious payloads. Customers reporting Keygens have higher rates of additional malware infections compared to other threats. Some of these threats try to trick users into paying for software that’s distributed for free from trusted sources.