There are also a number of web sites and other “grey” operations that sell old or “backup” WS_FTP products, dispensing license keys from old lists Ipswitch provided to resellers, dispensing copies of product that should be free (e.g., WS_FTP LE) or dispensing dead copies of the software.
From a technical point of view, there have always been risks from accepting these software packages, from installing software that may have been tampered with to add spyware to getting old product that may not work with Windows Vista and Windows 7 because it was developed before those OS’s existed.
However, you also take a risk against your credit history when you do business with these “grey” reseller firms, as they often use dubious financial services to convert your credit card information into cash. Assuming these services aren’t stooping to the level of unabashed credit card harvesting, a recent security incident demonstrates why doing these transactions is still unsafe.
One of these “grey” financial services, Amsterdam-based, Russian-run Fethard, was recently reported as hacked, possibly by a rival. This hack exposed shady internal processes and personally identifiable customer data to the entire Internet – information that criminals could use to impersonate and then draw on the credit of customers of sites that use Fethard.
Do you have any experiences with “grey” software vendors or the financial services that enable them (whether you used them for WS_FTP or not)? If so I’d like to hear them.