Electronic software distribution definition
Electronic software distribution (ESD) is a method where software is downloaded directly from the internet rather than bought on physical media like CDs or DVDs. With the rise of broadband internet and app stores becoming more popular, ESD has become the dominant mode of software distribution for many applications, especially for consumers.
See also: embedded software
Benefits of electronic software distribution
- Cost efficiency. ESD doesn’t need production, storage, and shipping, which can result in cost savings for both the software producer and the consumer.
- Immediate delivery. Customers can download and use the software immediately after purchase without waiting for physical delivery.
- Accessibility. Customers can access the software from anywhere with an internet connection.
- Updates and patches. With ESD, it is generally quicker and easier to deliver updates or patches to users.
- More environmentally-friendly. Reduces the environmental footprint associated with the production and disposal of physical media.
ESD security concerns
- Downloads from malicious websites. Not all websites offering software downloads are legitimate. Some may distribute malware or offer tampered versions of genuine software embedded with malicious code.
- Phishing attempts. Cybercriminals might impersonate legitimate software vendors, sending emails with links to download software, which, when downloaded and installed, might install malware or spyware.
- Man-in-the-middle (MitM) attacks. If the download isn’t encrypted (through HTTPS, for instance), there’s a risk that someone could intercept and tamper with the software during transmission.
- Outdated software. Downloading outdated versions of software could mean that you’re getting versions with known vulnerabilities that haven’t been patched.
- Download from trusted sources. Use official sites or direct developer platforms.
- Review feedback. Check app store ratings and reviews for insights.
- Ensure software integrity. Check checksums or digital signatures.
- Keep software updated. Update regularly to patch vulnerabilities.
- Use security tools. Install reputable antivirus or anti-malware.