"The Christianity of history is not Protestantism. If ever there were a safe truth it is this, and Protestantism has ever felt it so; to be deep in history is to cease to be a Protestant." (-John Henry Newman, An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine).

"Where the bishop is, there let the people gather; just as where ever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church". -St. Ignatius of Antioch (ca 110 AD)a martyr later thrown to the lions, wrote to a church in Asia Minor. Antioch was also where the term "Christian" was first used.

“But if I should be delayed, you should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth.” 1 Timothy 3:15

"This is the sole Church of Christ, which in the Creed we profess to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic." -CCC 811

Monday, December 20, 2010

Vatican City using pirated software?

This popup warning from AVAST definitely alerts the Vatican.
Source: Catholic Answers Forum username markomalley)
Many bloggers and those who are against pirated softwares (like me) are very quick in pointing an accusing finger to Pope Benedict XVI for detecting two usernames under the domain .va which believed to be using a pirated software of an anti-virus AVAST. In a Catholic Answers Forum, one thread concludes that "The Vatican is a software pirate" and there were some individual bloggers who wanted the head of the Pope on a platter and there are those knowledgeable in Info. Tech explaining to us rationally why such things could happen within the Vatican State. We should take note that the Vatican State is a country and all domain coming from within its jurisdiction would fall under the .va domain but not necessarily the Vatican State as responsible.  According to Markomalley, there are possible reasons why those two users could be found under the domain .va. markomalley said:

"It sounds to me like they got the list of IP addresses not from monitoring all the Warez sites, but rather from people going in and getting virus definitions from their location using this license key to validate the download.
  • In light of that, it could feasibly be a pretty innocent thing. Not to say that somebody within the .va domain could not have gone to a warez site and downloaded it, but there are a couple of other possibilities that are just as likely (and, in some cases, even more likely):
  • - A person could have picked up a CD for 5 euros that had this software on it (I've seen disks for sale with a lot of "freeware" / "shareware" on them in the strangest places)
  • - Somebody could have sent their PC or laptop in for repair, tuning, or virus cleaning and the shop could have installed this software on it. There are a million and one little mom and pop computer shops out there -- they could have done that as a "free" service.
Here is the orginal statement from AVAST which is more professional than what's being circulated in the blogsphere.

PRAGUE, Czech Republic, December 6, 2010 - AVAST Software has always prided itself in how the avast! antivirus program spreads virally, with 80 percent of new users coming through the recommendations of satisfied friends. But the rapid global expansion of one multi-user license for avast! Pro Antivirus surprised even the company’s top management.

What started as a 14-user license for a small firm in Tucson, Arizona issued on June 30, 2009 quickly mushroomed to 774,651 active users by late 2010. The license has been used in over 200 countries ranging from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe – even the Vatican City. Phenomenal growth yes, but except for the original 14 users, all of the others are pirates.

“We made a decision to see just how viral this one license for avast! Pro Antivirus could be. The answer is ‘very’,” said Vince Steckler, CEO of AVAST Software. “Now we are in the process of converting these pirates over to legal products.”

The speed at which the pirated license spread from Arizona was accelerated by warez sites, a common source of downloaded films and programs. “We found our license code at a number of warez sites around the globe,” said Mr. Steckler. “There is a paradox in computer users looking for ‘free’ antivirus programs at locations with a known reputation for spreading malware.” He pointed out that downloading at these sites is not risk-free as the avast! Virus Lab has documented examples of warez sites distributing packages of a ‘cracked’ antivirus program combined with malware.

Users of the pirated license have been tracked by their geographic IP address to over 200 countries. “The list contains about every country you have heard of – and some you haven’t,” quipped Mr. Steckler. Russia, the country with the largest number of pirated license users, still has less than 9% of the total. With no pirated licenses identified at the North Pole, the most unexpected location is for the two computers located within the Vatican.

Top Dirty Dozen*


*data from internal reports on pirated license usage, sorted by country.

By using the pirated license for avast! Pro Antivirus, over a quarter of a million computers have had access to the avast! antivirus engine with two additional features. “Pro does have the virtualization sandbox and a Script Shield to scan for internet-transmitted script viruses,” said Mr. Steckler. “However, the antivirus engine in Pro is the same used across the entire avast! product line, including the avast! Free Antivirus.”

The identified users were sent a pop-up notice that they had a pirated avast! license and that they would be cut off from virus database updates. They have also been given the option of converting to avast! Free Antivirus or buying avast! Pro Antivirus.

AVAST Software (http://www.avast.com/) protects over 130 million registered users in virtually every country and territory in the world with its avast! antivirus program. avast! Free Antivirus sets the standard as a free, full-featured computer security application that matches or exceeds the performance of other paid products. The avast! 5.0 portfolio includes Free Antivirus, Pro Antivirus for customized protection, and the premium Internet Security with its no-hassle Silent Firewall. Anchored by the Community network of sensors for reporting on-line threats and supported by multiple protective shields, avast! performance has been certified by VB100, ICSA Labs, and West Coast Labs. Available in over 30 languages, avast! provides global protection for homes and businesses.


Lyle Frink
AVAST Software
Phone: 00420-274-005-787
E-mail: frink@avast.com

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