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The UK’s Most Pirated Software Revealed

If you’ve been without your normal work computer throughout the coronavirus lockdown, you may have faced the frustration of not having your usual apps and programs to hand. The question is: would you resort to illegal means of getting the software you need?

It’s perhaps no surprise that, during this strangest of years, online piracy has hit record highs. And it isn’t just music, films and TV that people are illegally downloading; many have turned to torrent sites in search of software too.

With this in mind, we wanted to find out which software has been pirated most in 2020. Looking at Google Search data, we matched the terms “torrent” and “download free” with hundreds of software names to discover which ones have been illegally downloaded most frequently over the past twelve months.

Let’s take a look at what we found.


The Top 20 Most Pirated Software


uk's most pirated software visual


Perhaps unsurprisingly, the most pirated piece of software was Adobe Photoshop, with 4,400 monthly searches. Endlessly popular, impressively user friendly, and crucially, very expensive to buy, Adobe’s excellent image and graphics editor hits the top spot.

In fact, our top 10 is populated by a lot of illegally torrented creative/design software, with 50% belonging to Adobe alone. Elsewhere, two examples of music production software, Adobe Audition and Fl Studio, also appeared in the top 20. Audition, in particular, is an adept podcast editor, and during these locked-down times, there’s a chance that many a new podcast has been started as we look to find our entertainment elsewhere.


The Top 10 Most Pirated Creative Software


UK's most pirated creative software


All belonging to the same Adobe Creative Suite, Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and Premiere Pro were the most popular design software to pirate. Again, they all cost a pretty penny to buy, so their appearance here isn’t too surprising.

In fact, only two creative platforms in the top 20 didn’t belong to Adobe. The first was AutoCad, a drafting application popular with engineers and architects, and the second, Final Cut Pro – a video editing program used to edit major motion pictures, including last year’s Best Picture Oscar winner, Parasite.


The Top 10 Most Pirated Security Software


UK's most pirated security spftware

Given that the world of illegal downloading is rife with opportunities to infect your device with viruses and malware, it’s funny that security software also makes an appearance in our list. Nevertheless, here we are.

That said, only two firewall platforms appear in the top 20, which does suggest we’re more willing to pay for security software compared to more creative programmes and suites.

Malwarebytes Premium was the most popular, beating out more well-known names such as McAfee and Kaspersky. Lastpass, a password protection platform, was also readily pirated and downloaded, beating out the popular 1Password, too.


Comparing the Most Pirated Software by Price

Despite having a 40-day free trial period that seemingly doesn’t end anyway and only charging a one-time cost of only £29.95 for a single user, WinRAR takes the crown for the least expensive pirate software, beating out far more expensive pieces of software such as Autocad and Fl Studio.

Similarly, LastPass is a cheaper alternative to 1Password, but was still illegally downloaded more times than the latter.


CDL is one of the UK’s leading IT disposal companies, working to help private and public businesses and organisations safely retire and recycle their outdated IT assets. To find out how we could help your business, or more of the latest tech news and advice, visit our homepage or call our team today on 0333 060 2846.

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