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Would be correct to avoid crack/keygen software because of the risk of malware, even if an updated antivirus doesn't detect anything? (ignoring all legal problems involved)

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closed as primarily opinion-based by fixer1234, smc, Kevin Panko, Nifle, nerdwaller May 7 at 22:59

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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Or, to paraphrase, "should I trust software with known illegal intent, to not try and install malware?" –  Rowland Shaw Nov 3 '09 at 18:34
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This is part of a risk/benefit analysis of stealing software. You can decrease the risk by getting the software from trusted sources but even then sometimes the trusted source releases are repacked with malware. Most of the supply groups that do releases are delivering clean software, it's the repacker/distributer that add the bad stuff. –  Matt Nov 3 '09 at 20:21
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Spyware is the least of your worries... Nothin' like a good file crypter that throws away the key. What can happen in 2015 is much more interesting... –  Fiasco Labs May 7 at 4:58

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Well, this question is quite subjective... Every software that does not come "untouched" from an original "trusted" editor should be treated as suspicious. So if you personally know or trust the creator of the keygen, you can consider it as safe.

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(ignoring all legal problems involved) you run the key generator in a 'disposable' virtual machine with the virtual network controller disabled. what's there to worry about (besides all legal problems involved)?

enjoy your virtual machine going berserk for a while, before trashing it. :)

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Sometimes the supplied package doesn't put the malware in the keygen they put it in the install media (or both). And sometimes the keygen needs to be on the installed PC to grab reg/hardware data to make a key. So yes running the keygen in a throw away VM is a good idea but not always possible/perfect. –  Matt Nov 3 '09 at 20:17
    
you might as well test the installation inside a VM, then run some up to date scanner over it ... but you are right, there is no 100% security. go and buy that stuff, some folks code for a living, ya know :) –  Molly7244 Nov 3 '09 at 20:32
    
Some malwares are smart enough now to check if they're running on a VM. Proves nothing to have it run without incident, once it's up a level, it knows it's got the whole playing field. The newest ones do drive wipes if you try to clean them... Get used to making good backups. –  Fiasco Labs May 7 at 5:08

The higher up the chain that the keygen comes from, the less likely it has a virus in it, but there is no one answer fits all.

Personally, in the few times I have needed to use one, I always do it on a PC that is about to be rebuilt (and disconnected from the network) or I do it in a VM and then go back to a snapshot.

But.... Don't use one illegally!

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Yeah, because you might be the first one to download the Trojan. Not forgetting that big releases like Windows 7 causes some of the more creative black hat programmers out there who wish to make a name for them selfs tend to make 'key gens' under the guise of distrubing there new Trojan / spyware / kengen. Besides the fact the key gens tend to be legal bad juju.

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