Sales of illegitimate copies of Microsoft programs may be doing more than just lining hackers’ pockets. According to Microsoft’s lawyers, notorious Mexican drug cartel La Familia Michoacana is selling counterfeit Microsoft software to help fund kidnappings, drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and other criminal activities. David Finn, Microsoft’s Associate General Counsel dealing with Worldwide Anti-piracy and Anti-counterfeiting, wrote about the problem in a blog post on Thursday. “An important theme that resonated among the international groups is the number of organized criminal gangs that rely on the profits gleaned from pirated software to fund other crimes,” Finn wrote on a Microsoft blog. “Sophisticated criminal syndicates and drug cartels are building large scale counterfeiting operations and selling illegal software to consumers. These illegal enterprises have generated astronomical profits that the gangs funnel toward violent crimes such as drug trafficking, arms and weapons trafficking, kidnapping and extortion.” Finn went on to cite a study conducted by Mexico’s Attorney General stating that the Familia cartel earns more than $2.2 million each day — over $800 million annually — from sales of counterfeit goods.

[Via Seattle Post-Intelligencer]

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Zach Epstein has worked in and around ICT for more than 15 years, first in marketing and business development with two private telcos, then as a writer and editor covering business news, consumer electronics and telecommunications. Zach’s work has been quoted by countless top news publications in the US and around the world. He was also recently named one of the world's top-10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes, as well as one of Inc. Magazine's top-30 Internet of Things experts.