What you need to know
- Microsoft is offering a 50% discount on Microsoft 365 Personal or Family.
- The discount is only available to people that have pirated the software.
- It appears that the discount is part of an effort to convert pirates into genuine license holders.
Microsoft's Office apps are ubiquitous pieces of software that are often pirated to avoid subscription fees or save money. It appears that Microsoft wants to convert Office pirates to genuine license holders. A report by gHacks shows that at least some owners of pirated versions of Office can get Microsoft 365 Personal or Family for 50% off.
A screenshot shared by gHacks shows a banner across the top of a pirated version of Excel. "GET UP TO 50% OFF. For a limited time, save up to 50% on a genuine Microsoft 365 subscription," reads the banner. Clicking that message leads to a Microsoft webpage about pirated software. In addition to listing some of the risks of using non-licensed software, the page has a buy button with a 50% discount.
The link does not appear to work for those that have not pirated a copy of Office. There's a chance that having a genuine subscription attached to your Microsoft account prevents the link from working, though we cannot confirm that as the cause. The source of gHacks was able to take advantage of the discount, which indicates that it will work in certain scenarios.
It's worth noting that the pirated piece of software used by the source of gHacks was part of the desktop suite, which is available through a one-time purchase. The discount offered by Microsoft is for subscription-based versions of Office.
In related news, a security report by Red Canary shared details about a fake version of KMSPico that's being used to spread Cryptbot malware. KMSPico is a tool commonly used by pirates to activate Office and Windows.