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So I have this trial version of AIDA64 and it's almost over, it is asking me to buy it. I searched on the internet for a product key and found one that works. I didn't download anything for the product key just copied it straight from the site and pasted it in AIDA64. Could this possibly harm my pc, using that key?

marked as duplicate by forest, schroeder Sep 13 '18 at 7:20

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    You do realise that what you are doing is illegal, right? – schroeder Nov 27 '16 at 17:42
  • Are you asking if pasting a character string into a text field in a program could harm your computer? – schroeder Nov 27 '16 at 17:43
  • As long as the developers don't publish seemingly innocent and working product keys on pirate sites which then enable some malicious functionality in the software (i.e. if you want to harm them they harm you too) it is probably safe but not ethical. – Steffen Ullrich Nov 27 '16 at 18:03
  • Asking illegal instructions – Chaminda Bandara Apr 26 '18 at 4:12
  • It is not illegal in most parts of the world, and ethics of this kind are subjective (gets into the whole "is it stealing if you're using a copy" argument). Just saying. – forest Sep 13 '18 at 1:50
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No, at least not directly.

Unlike downloading a key generator or a cracked version of software, simply copy-pasting a product key will not directly have an impact on your system.

However, if the product key is tied to some sort of online account, it may be possible that an attacker can use that as an attack vector.

For example, imagine a software with some sort of vulnerability - for example a buffer overflow. An attacker would now somehow have to place user input into the vulnerable functionality. If the software retrieves values from an online account, this might be a sensible attack vector. An attacker would create an account, place the payload in the account, distribute the product key, and wait until others use it.

Another example may be that an online account + product key is used to create backups of the state of the application. You may thus accidentally expose sensitive data to the owner of the key.

I ignored the legal and ethical implications of the question, as they are not relevant to this site. But depending on your location, what you are doing is very likely illegal.

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