Pirated Microsoft software funded Mexican drug cartel

pirated-officeAnd Microsoft thought its biggest problem this week was Google. According to the company’s lawyers, the sale of pirated Microsoft software has been lining the pockets of infamous Mexican drug cartel La Familia Michoacana. The money from the counterfeit copies has funded the group’s extremely illegal activity, including kidnappings and drug and weapons trafficking.

La Familia Michoacana is an elite gang in Mexico and sees a profit of $800 million annually, much in thanks to the sale of pirated and counterfeit products. Microsoft associate general counsel David Finn wrote on the company’s blog that the criminals had been distributing the illegal material “through thousands of kiosks, markets, and stores in the region.” La Familia Michoacana also demanded that vendors carrying the software met sale expectations, enforcing “a ‘form of extortion’ on locals.” Finn revealed that Office 2007 discs bearing the “FMM” logo (Familia Morelia Michoacana) of the cartel not only hurt the consumers buying them, but Microsoft’s reputation.

In addition to the ring of extremely illegal and likely terrifying activity, Finn also adresses the possibility of the many computers now exposed to Microsoft software laden with viruses. “It’s not just the fact that they’re concerned that purchasing counterfeit software could contribute to violent gang activity; they’re also concerned that illegal software is infected with ‘malware’ – computer viruses, Trojan horses, or botware – designed to damage computers, destroy data, compromise security, and steal their identities.”

Last March, a string operation in Los Reyes turned up “rooms crammed with about 50 machines used to copy CDs and make counterfeit versions of software like Microsoft Office and Xbox video games. [Police] arrested three men on the spot,” The New York Times reported in November. One source who remained anonymous for fear of safety said that, “the entire operation was very complicated and risky.”

Microsoft is one of many software manufacturers taking a stand on piracy this year, claiming the continued profit loss and connected violence are escalating at unjustifiable rates. Google has taken subtle measures to prevent illegal downloading, Nintendo claimed this fad is on its way out, and Microsoft has made clear it will combat counterfeit software with a “team of 75 investigators, lawyers, engineers, and advisors [who] will continue to build new anti-piracy technology to keep ahead of these sophisticated operations.”

Gaming

Google Stadia is the upcoming Netflix for games that will hurt game creators

Google Stadia promises a world where gaming is more convenient than ever, but it’s a future that will damage the way people make games.
Movies & TV

Skip the flowers and sunshine this spring and watch the best shows on Hulu

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix right now (April 2019)

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Smart Home

Amazon workers listening to Alexa recordings isn’t a big deal. Here’s why

Thousands of Amazon workers are reportedly listening to recorded conversations between Alexa and voice assistant speaker owners. The idea that humans are listening to our conversations is an outrage. Or is it?
Deals

The Dell G5587 gaming laptop is on sale for one of the lowest prices we’ve seen

Even diehard desktop PC gamers have to admit that gaming laptops have come a long way in recent years, and the beefy Dell G5587 – now on sale from Walmart for $300 off – is a solid sub-$1,000 machine for work and play.
Computing

HP’s new Zbook, EliteBook 800 workstations go 4K with 8th-gen Intel CPUs

HP's new line of workstation laptops includes some seriously durable EliteBook and ZBook designs, with options for high-end, eighth-generation Intel CPUs, 2TB of storage, and discrete AMD Radeon graphics chips.
Product Review

You won't buy Microsoft's Surface Hub 2S, but it could still change your life

The Microsoft Surface Hub 2S wants to change the way you collaborate at work. That’s a lofty goal most devices fail to achieve, but the unique Hub 2S could be an exception. And trust us – you’re going to want it.
Computing

Light up your external GPU with Razer’s new Core X Chroma enclosure

The Razer Core X Chroma external graphics card enclosure is big enough for three-slot graphics cards, with enough space for a 700w PSU and it brings back the RGB lighting of the Core V2 — all for the same price as its predecessor.
Computing

Microsoft accelerates carbon reduction plans in new sustainability push

Microsoft wants to accelerate its sustainability goal of becoming a zero-carbon company. To reach those goals, Microsoft is doubling its self-imposed carbon tax to incentivize business divisions in making sustainable choices.
Computing

MacOS update may include external display support for iPads

Apple's upcoming MacOS is rumored to include a new native external display support feature. Code-named "Sidecar" the new feature is expected to allow MacOS computers to send app windows to external displays like iPads.
Deals

Apple’s MacBook laptop is on sale for just $800 for a limited time

If you have your heart set on a MacOS-powered laptop, B&H has a sale on Apple's MacBook that takes the price down to $800. Only select models are on sale right now, but you can score up to a $600 savings if you act quickly.
Computing

AMD could offer ray tracing with next-gen Navi graphics cards

Navi is the next-generation graphics card line from AMD and it's coming in just a couple of months time. When it does arrive, one of its major features may be ray tracing, which has to date been an Nvidia-exclusive feature.
Features

Exclusive: The Surface Hub 2S will revolutionize work. Here’s how it was made

Exclusive interviews with the designers, futurists, and visionaries behind the Surface Hub 2 paint a dramatic picture of how Microsoft thinks collaboration will change your office.
Computing

Exclusive: Microsoft’s Panos Panay has a trick up his sleeve

Microsoft Chief Product Officer Panos Panay gives us an exclusive peek at the 85-inch Surface Hub 2, and explains how innovation and collaboration will transform your workplace.