Like most other popular software, Malwarebytes has many unauthorized users who use cracks or keygens to unlock the programs paid features.
Traditionally, Malwarebytes has taken a fairly lenient stance towards pirates. Two years ago the company started tracking down this group of users, asking them kindly not to steal the software.
Now, the San Jose company has a new surprise in store. A few days ago Malwarebytes began scanning for pirate and counterfeit keys, as part as an upgrade of its licensing system.
Those found to have used an “abused” key then get the “amnesty” option to upgrade their software for a year without any cost, replacing the pirate key with a legitimate one.
“Malwarebytes is offering a free replacement key for Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Premium customers who have been inconvenienced by piracy or abuse. This new key will be exclusive to you going forward,” the company explains on its website.
While the offer is certainly generous, it’s also a necessity because legitimate and pirate keys are often duplicates. This means that pirates and paid users have the same keys.
Going forward, Malwarebytes will use a more advanced license key algorithm which prevents this from happening. This means that it will be harder for pirates to get a free copy after their one year subscription expires.
Interestingly, those who choose the second “I purchased my key” option get a lifetime subscription at no cost.
Malwarebytes’ Bruce Harrison previously told TorrentFreak that they don’t plan to crack down too hard on pirates.
“Piracy is not really a huge problem for us in my opinion. There are a lot of people who simply won’t pay for our software and being aggressive against them won’t change that,” Harrison said.
Offering amnesty to pirates is in line with this stance. It certainly isn’t an aggressive move and could even trigger some to pay up when the free offer runs out.