Serial number software is a collective term for programs and applications that purport to provide serial numbers for unlocking a variety of applications and software programs for various operating systems. There are numerous websites and programs devoted to providing these keys or “cracks” to avoid purchasing the software.
While the legal and ethical questions surrounding the use of these programs and the fair use doctrine are topics of debate, sharing these numbers is a violation of the user agreements for many programs. This type of software deprives the developer of money it is legally due. Many of these developers are small, independent companies struggling to compete with established industry giants and offer beneficial alternatives to consumers. Their expenses must be passed on to consumers who legitimately purchase the programs.
Serial number programs often provide serial numbers for versions of software that are outdated, incompatible with current operating systems, or are no longer available or supported by the developer. They also expose the user to security risks, such as identity theft and computer viruses, since many of these sites and programs host numerous spyware, adware and Trojan infections.