Avoid running software releases that are no longer supported
When IBM stops support for a release IBM will no longer provide security fixes. Hackers can review the security bulletins and try to determine if there are unsupported releases they can try to attack. Some hackers may discover security vulnerabilities, but wait to exploit them until the vendor has stopped supporting the release. The IBM Support Life Cycle website contains a list of the vast majority of IBM's software products and information regarding the support lifecycle for each listed product. Please ensure you have supported software and keep it up to date. It is also highly recommended you subscribe to security bulletins by using My Notifications and for the z Systems environment that you subscribe to the IBM System z Security Portal.
Dangers of pirated software
Pirated software is often found on torrent sites. Many torrent sites are loaded with viruses and malware and just clicking on buttons may infect your computer. Many of the pirated releases are out of support or may contain malware. BSA.org (a leader in piracy prevention) has shown a clear link between unlicensed software and malware. Even if the software is still being supported and does not contain malware, if you do not obtain a valid product license, you will not be authorized to download or install security fixes.
Only buy from authorized software providers
Buying software from unauthorized providers may carry additional risks. Providers that are willing to sell pirated copies of a software product, may also be willing to share personal information including credit card information to identity thieves. When providing personal information on the web, you should always view the security certificate by clicking on the padlock icon in your browser's frame. If there is no padlock visible on the page, the site may be unsafe. Also verify the URL address starts with "https," instead of "http". The "s" indicates your data will be encrypted. Even websites such as Amazon or eBay may have unauthorized sellers. To find a list of authorized IBM Business Partners, please use the IBM Business Partner locator, select the IBM product and solution areas in which you are interested and under the heading 'Business Partner Type', select 'Reseller/VAR'.
Danger of purchasing used hardware with pre-loaded software
Used machines with pre-loaded software may contain viruses and malware. A best practice is to wipe the hard drives and install licensed, supported software. You should also get the latest software updates to avoid security vulnerabilities. In some case the software on a used machine may not be transferable to a new licensee. Please keep in mind some IBM software, such as AIX levels higher then 5.3, may not be transferred by the original purchaser. The license that comes with the software should indicate if the license is transferable.
IBM is a member of the Business Software Alliance (BSA) and you may report suspected piracy of IBM software to BSA.org.