Indonesians share a computer. Counterfeit software is widely available in the country. Photo: Reuters
Many Indonesian students favor the creation of an Islamic state, recent surveys show. Photo: Facebook

Microsoft’s new Digital Crimes Unit (DCU) has started an initiative to identify and take action against those selling counterfeit software in online marketplaces or e-commerce sites in Indonesia. This action is expected to minimize the cybersecurity danger of using counterfeit software for consumers and businesses.

As a result of an initial wave of legal actions, some online vendors have admitted providing counterfeit Microsoft software and/or illegal product keys. This month, Suryabaru IT in Surabaya, Room 56 in Jakarta and Inotech in Bandung – as well as offline shops such as ASEAN Notebook and Ruphen Shop in Jakarta – have published apologies through several media outlets such as Bisnis Indonesia, Pikiran Rakyat, Jawa Pos and They admitted that the software they had been selling might contain dangerous malware that could allow hackers to steal private information from the buyers’ computers.

The level of counterfeiting, including of software, in Indonesia is still alarming. A recent study by Masyarakat Indonesia Anti-Pemalsuan (MIAP) and the faculty of economics at the University of Indonesia listed printer ink (49.4%), clothing (38.9%), leather goods (37.2%) and software (33.5%) as the goods with the highest incidence of counterfeiting in Indonesia.

Justisiari P Kusuma, general secretary of MIAP, said: “Efforts to reduce harm and loss caused by the circulation of counterfeit products can be done if the stakeholders of consumer protection, ranging from manufacturers, sellers [and] law-enforcement officers to the consumers themselves, agree to work together.”

The establishment of the Copyright Act is also expected to encourage the creation of healthier commercial transactions in Indonesia, for one of the main causes of the high amount of sales and use of counterfeit products is the lack of real sanctions against the sellers and buyers. More than 64% of consumers feel that they would not be prosecuted if they used counterfeit products, while more than 32% of sellers admit that despite frequent raids, they have not been exposed to legal sanction.

Linda Dwiyanti, Consumer Channels Group director for Microsoft Indonesia, said: “Over the course of three months, Microsoft DCU managed to identify at least 23 regular sellers of counterfeit software operating in e-commerce. Currently, we will also be suing three of these sellers in court. We are cooperating with MIAP and the government to follow up on the rest of the online counterfeit sellers. The objective is first and foremost to ensure the consumers are protected from the danger of counterfeit software provided by unscrupulous sellers.”

In the second quarter of 2016, 45.2% of computers in Indonesia encountered malware, compared with the worldwide encounter rate of 20.8% in that period. Microsoft’s genuine software is equipped with a Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT), a free tool distributed through Microsoft update services that removes more than 200 highly prevalent or serious threats from computers. The MSRT detected and removed malware from 34.4 of every 1,000 unique computers scanned in Indonesia during the period. No such tool is available in counterfeit software.

In addition to taking legal action and submitting leads to the authorities, Microsoft conducts educational programs for sellers and consumers, for example through, to help people distinguish counterfeit software from the original. It is developing the microsite with a variety of educational articles about the dangers of counterfeit software, as well as cooperating with five top e-commerce enterprises to create a healthier online business ecosystem through the “Clean e-Commerce” initiative.

Aulia E Marinto, chairman of the Indonesian e-Commerce Association (idEA), said: “In the highly competitive world of e-commerce, trust and transparency play very important roles. In order to support business growth, we need to maintain our credibility, as well as consumers’ convenience and safety, by always improving consumer protection, which we believe can be realized through the implementation of the Clean e-Commerce initiative. This collaboration is in line with iDEA’s commitment to become the leading association in accelerating healthy growth for e-commerce in Indonesia.”

Microsoft says this series of activities to eradicate counterfeit software is meant to demonstrate its commitment to giving the best customer protection from every aspects. Linda Dwiyanti said: “Microsoft will continue to fulfill the mission and strategic plan to reduce the negative impact of counterfeit softwares such as malware and security breaches by socializing, educating, and taking legal action according to applicable regulations to support the government and protect consumers. Collaboration with e-commerce players  on the ‘Clean e-Commerce’ initiative is still going strong and we are happy to invite every e-commerce [enterprise that is] not yet participating.”

A Former Journalist | A Maverick Indonesia PR Associate | A Writer