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Pakistan's tax office denies pirated software caused outage – admits it sometimes runs unsupported software

Can't keep up with software licence payments but says it's been on top of VMware payments for at least a whole year now

Pakistan's Federal Board of Revenue has stated that a recent outage of its public-facing applications was not caused by pirated software, but admitted it's not always on top of licences and some of its code may be unsupported.

Local media fingered an attack on Microsoft's Hyper-V software as the source of the mid-August outage, which the Board (FBR) attributed to a migration going pear-shaped.

An FRB update refutes those reports and says it has licences for software it uses, including in the facilities that went down.

"In the data centers there are numerous software products which are being used to perform different functions such as cyber security, virtualization, firewall, etc.," the FBR update states. "Key companies whose products are being utilized include Oracle, Microsoft, VMware, Kaspersky etc."

But the update also included the following:

FBR has added that the original licence of the product remains intact, if the support to the software expires. However, at times support for these services may not get renewed in a timely fashion due to unavoidable circumstances.

The statement therefore leaves open the possibility that the FBR has software in production but can't patch it. And we know that until May 2021 Hyper-V had a very nasty bug that could crash hosts.

No explanation is offered for the "unavoidable circumstances".

The FBR has also admitted that in 2019 the US government pointed out that it was illegally using VMware software. The Board paid up and in its new update states: "For over a year no such issue regarding VMware has cropped up." ®

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