9 popular apps you can use for free or at low cost


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Although there is a lot of great free software out there, people still hack apps. Maybe they don’t know about the free alternatives or don’t think the app is worth the cost – either way, it’s not fair to steal apps you haven’t paid for.

Let’s take a look at some of the most commonly hacked apps, as well as how you can use them for free, cheaply, or through an alternative.

The list of the most hacked applications

Computer Disposals Limited, or CDL, recently published a list of the 20 most pirated software tools in the UK. The list was created based on the number of Google searches for popular software that also contained the terms “torrent” or “free download”.

While there are certainly other popular hacked apps out there, this list gives a good overview of the most popular apps that people are trying to steal. Let’s see how to access these apps for less than full price, without hacking them.

1. Adobe Creative Cloud applications

Most of the top 20 apps are Adobe CC software, including Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere Pro, After Effects, and Lightroom. Since these apps are all under one umbrella, we’ll cover them together.

You have a few options to use premium Adobe apps at a discount. If you are a student you can get the full Creative Cloud Suite for Students for $ 19.99 / month, down from the usual cost of $ 52.99 / month.

If you are not a student, you should still check Adobe’s special offers page. It offers other ways to save, such as the Photography plan, which bundles Photoshop and Lightroom for $ 9.99 / month.

Adobe CC offers

To see if an Adobe product is right for you, or to complete a quick project, see Adobe downloads page for a seven-day free trial of several of its apps.

Don’t need the full Adobe suite? Adobe Photoshop Express and Adobe spark are free online tools that you can use to edit in your browser.

The company also offers Adobe Elements line. Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements are lite versions of full applications that are available for a lower one-time cost instead of a subscription.

Failing that, we’ve also looked at the best free alternatives to Adobe apps, including many on the most hacked list.

2. WinRAR

WinRAR has become a bit of an online joke, as it asks you to pay after the “trial period” has expired, but never requires payment to continue using it. As a result, it is quite strange that so many people want to hack it.

If you really want to use WinRAR for some reason, then you can keep using it without paying. Otherwise, we recommend that you use another file compression tool.

In particular, 7-Zip is a great free option that is lightweight and will meet the needs of most people.

3. Adobe Reader

Screenshot of Adobe Reader with an open pdf

We don’t know why Adobe Reader made the list of most pirated apps because it is a free tool. For this reason, it’s worth discussing separately from the Creative Cloud suite.

Adobe Reader (now known as Adobe Acrobat Reader DC) is available as a free download from the company. If you don’t care, there are plenty of other free PDF readers out there that are great substitutes for Adobe Reader.

On the other hand, Adobe Acrobat is a paid tool for editing PDFs. You can get it at a reduced price using the same methods as mentioned above for other Adobe tools. Otherwise, check out the best free PDF editing tools if you don’t need all of its features.

4. Autocad

Autodesk’s AutoCAD software is the standard design tool for engineers, architects, and others. At $ 1,690 a year, it’s not exactly affordable.

Unfortunately, given the scope of this tool, you don’t have a lot of options for completely free use other than the free trial. worth checking out Autodesk’s offers page for any current offer, as well as Autodesk Educational Page to access it if you are a student or a teacher.

SketchUp is an alternative that offers a free web version for personal use, which is worth trying if your CAD needs aren’t too intense.

5. Malwarebytes Premium

Home Premium Malwareybtes

It’s quite ironic that a security app is so high on the list of pirated tools, given that pirated software is much more likely to have embedded malware in it. While Malwarebytes is a trusted on-demand scanner, it also offers a premium service that includes real-time monitoring for malware, ransomware, and other threats.

Each installation of the free version of Malwarebytes includes a 14-day premium trial. After that, it costs $ 3.33 / month to protect one device or $ 6.67 / month to protect five devices.

Unless you’re particularly concerned about these threats, a combination of standard antivirus (like Windows Defender), occasional scans with the free version of Malwarebytes, and a little common sense will keep your computer safe. There really isn’t a way to use Malwarebytes Premium for free, so you might want to consider the best free Windows security suites as an alternative.

6. FL Studio

FL Studio is a popular DAW tool that actually offers a generous free trial. You can use the free version for as long as you want and it is fully functional. The only big limitation is that you cannot reopen the projects that you have saved.

If that’s not enough for you, check out the best free music production tools for beginners for comparable options that cost nothing.

7. Kaspersky Security Cloud

Kaspersky comparison

Kaspersky is a respected antivirus that offers a few different editions. The free version includes basic virus protection, while the Personal and Home editions include extras like a VPN, password manager, and software updates.

This is common with most third party antivirus applications these days. Basic protection is what you really need; most of the other stuff is unnecessary. You can get services like a VPN and password manager elsewhere for less or for free, and features like “PC optimizers” are mostly unnecessary.

Instead of hacking the premium version, just use Kaspersky’s free tier. If that’s not enough for you, try one of the other best free antivirus apps for Windows instead.

8. Microsoft Office / Microsoft 365

According to the list, people are looking to hack both Microsoft 365, as well as individual Office apps like Word. Fortunately, there are many ways to get a Microsoft Office license for free, such as using Office Online.

If none of these methods work for you, the best alternative is another Office suite. LibreOffice is our favorite; it is a complete office suite available free of charge.

9. LastPass / 1Password

LastPass pricing

1Password is a premium password manager, so there is no way to use it for free after its 14 day trial. However, you can save by choosing the Family plan. It costs $ 4.99 / month and allows up to five people to take advantage of the service.

LastPass, on the other hand, offers a free plan with few limitations. The free plan lets you sync as many passwords as you want across all of your devices. LastPass Premium costs $ 3 per month and includes a few additional features like one-to-many sharing, 1GB of encrypted storage space, security monitoring, and more multi-factor authentication options.

For most people, the free version of LastPass or one of the other best free password managers will therefore work fine.

Take advantage of free and discounted apps

While it is usually not possible to enjoy premium apps for free, you can often find a way to use the app at a discount. And failing that, alternative tools can come in handy if you don’t need all the features of the mainstream app. Now you know how to use the most commonly hacked apps for less than full price!

In the meantime, if you are a student, there are plenty of other discounts like this available to you.

Image Credit: Marcos Mesa Sam Wordley /Shutterstock


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