Do we really need antivirus software?

Forgive me if I’m missing some basic point here, but something I truly wonder over is if we actually need antivirus software. I mean, no matter the name of the operating system, isn’t there something fundamentally wrong with it if has got security holes that allows one to infest your computer in such a way that it becomes unusable?

Firewalls I buy. Naturally no one should get unapproved access to your computer. Same thing if you download some installation package from a dodgy web site: you’ve got yourself to blame.

But, in the case of Windows at least, you need to have some antivirus software running all the time that eats a lot of performance from your computer, and writing/downloading files to the hard drive takes forever since every file has to be scanned, it needs to constantly update its definitions etc.

Out of curiosity, I’ve unplugged the network cable on some computers and just tried doing some basic tasks and also transferring files over USB from an external hard drive. The performance experience is staggering!

And part of me starts to wonder if all these antivirus software vendors are riding the wave of people’s fears, that their product will be bought just out of “better safe than sorry”-panic. Sure, certain operating systems have some serious flaws, but shouldn’t those be fixed by the operating system vendor before the system is released to begin with?

Sure, of course there can be some glitches in a product, but none should be as serious as to threaten your computer in the ways it is now possible.

 

PS. If anyone knows of any good light-weight antivirus program for Windows (free would be great :-)), then I’m all ears. DS.

Posted in Technology |

80 Comments

  • Matt says:

    While I don't use any AV programs (never had a virus infection, likely never will have), I've heard only good things about NOD32.

    I mean, how can something not be good about an AV written entirely in assembler?

    I've also heard nice things about AVG as well.

  • Marc says:

    http://www.clamwin.com

    ClamWin Free Antivirus comes with an easy installer and open source code. You may download and use it absolutely free of charge. It features:

    High detection rates for viruses and spyware;

    Scanning Scheduler;

    Automatic downloads of Virus Database updates. ClamAV team regularly updates Virus Databases to include a new virus/variant immediately after it appears;

    Standalone Virus Scanner;

    Right-Click Menu Integration to Microsoft Windows Explorer;

    Addin to Microsoft Outlook to remove virus-infected attachments automatically.

  • Martin S. says:

    I decided not to install any antivirus software last time i reinstalled my OS from scratch and I haven't got any viruses at all – so far for a month.

    It's all about your habit – web pages you're visiting, what file transfers you accept from who when using any IM client, and so on..

  • ramin says:

    Several of my friends (Windows power users and frequent downloaders) use Avast. I also installed it for my wife instead of F-Secure's stuff.

    At least compared to F-Secure it's a lot faster and lighter. And it's free.

  • Uldens says:

    Hi,

    I'm a Windows user and I have used a lot of different antivirus softwears (Norton starting from 2000 – 2006, Panda platinium, McAfee, …), and in my opionion Kaspersky Anti-Virus is the best choise. I'm using Kaspersky Anti-Virus Personal Pro 5.0.376

  • Tim Huegdon says:

    AVG Free is a nice little lightweight anti-virus freebie:

    http://free.grisoft.com/

    I've been using it for years and have installed it on the computers of my family and friends because you can just install and forget about it. Which is always a bonus. :-)

  • Teddy says:

    I've lost all faith in Microsoft when it comes to security (and most other things as well) so even though the firewall in Service Pack 2 seems to be decent I'm using Zone Alarm instead which I've used for ages and am comfortable with how to set up and so on.

    Anyways when it comes to Antivirus Applications I use Avast Antivirus which is light-weight, free and is hiding in the background when it doesn't need my attention (which it generally never does if you're not visiting vicous sites or transfering stuff from unreliable sources).

  • Yannick says:

    I agree with Tim. AVG is nice, I use it on my computer as well and highly recommend it.

  • Jules says:

    I have used both Avast and AVG and I find AVG to be lighter in weight although both are effective.

    There is nothing that an OS can do to prevent spammers from sending you viruses so I disagree with your initial assertion. I would say that if anything a good OS should not need a firewall because these block directed attacks on your system.

  • Kalle Wibeck says:

    Robert, I disagree with you on this one. Perhaps I could manage quite well without AV, but I doubt the rest of my family will be as restrictive when it comes to opening mail attachments etc…

    After all, hardware is far cheaper than information. And since my office laptop is encrypted I need maximum RAM anyway…

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Thanks everyone for your tips, I need to go check them out.

    Jules,

    There is nothing that an OS can do to prevent spammers from sending you viruses so I disagree with your initial assertion.

    No, absolutely not. I just question the security holes in the operating systems that give viruses the option to create such a big damage as they can.

    Kalle,

    I can live with antivirus programs, but as it is today, they seem to have to be terrible bulky and the operating systems themselves seem to leak like a sieve…

    Also, I'm thinking of home users that don't know (and aren't interested in getting to know either) how things can be threatened. They just want it to work, and not to live in constant fear.

  • Stijn says:

    I do not use virus software at all. Went with Panda Antivirus for a while, but then realized that if I just used my common sense when downloading/opening files I would not get infected. It turns out I was right. If you use your common sense (don't open suspicous files) you can probably do without virus scanners at all.

  • Stijn says:

    Oh, and (sorry for the double post) OS's are not always the cause of virus damage. If a program is designed to lsearch the PC for e-mail addresses and send itself to it there's not much an OS can do about it without giving the user a lot of annoying confirmation screens.

    ("Do you really want to execute this search?", "Do you really want to open Mozilla Thunderbird?" etcetera)

  • Nope, no need for that stuff if you're using a Mac :-).

  • At home I use TrendMicro to scan my computer every so often. You can go to there web site and it scans your system from there. If you do find something then you can download software to clean your system.

    I haven't had trouble with viruses, but my children have. Since I made my kids use Firefox I haven't had any virus problems on their computers. I think if you are careful with what you download and don't use IE you'll be pretty safe. But I also have a router that has a firewall at home, which I believe is needed.

  • <blockquote cite="http://www.robertnyman.com/2006/04/25/do-we-really-need-antivirus-software/#comment-4313">Nope, no need for that stuff if you’re using a Mac :-) .

    There, it's been said! Hooray for Apple!

    I've had Apple computers for about 6 years now. I am always connected to the internet, I go to a lot of websites, and I get a lot of mail. I have never had a single virus. I do run an AV on my Windows machine. I've never had a virus, but I'm more careful with my Windows machine that I am with the Mac.

  • Chris says:

    What if there was some kind of relationship between AV vendors and virus designers? Because clearly the work of the latter makes AV vendors sell their stuff so…

    Because I have this doubt in mind, I did not want to pay for an AV software so I installed AVG free edition. I've never had a problem with viruses. Also it does not slow down my computers very much.

    But I am not sure I need an AV program anyway…

  • Hakan Bilgin says:

    If you question the existence of anti virus software, then the existence of virus should also be questioned. In my opinion viruses have positive effects. They force the software houses to build more robust programs.

    Also, I read somewhere that viruses are classified as living entities, as life’s purpose is to prevail and multiply. And viruses do this…for better and worse. And here is the best part; computer viruses are the only living entity that man-kind has created so far. After that the text continued on to AI.

    True or false? I found it interesting…

    I think there is a need for AV. In the evolution of man-kind, viruses have killed millions (as a tool of nature), selecting out the strongest “entities”. When comparing to computer age, the evolution proceeds much faster but more intelligently. With the help of human kind weaker entities can survive longer. Entities in this case are software’s and their providers.

    And a softwares popularity is due to a number of factors.

    Having said that…I don’t use AV at home, but I do have D-Link (Firewall/Switch/Router) between internet and LAN and my computer(s) doesn’t get infected.

    PS: EU demands that MS shouldn’t provide Windows Defender in the upcoming Vista, since it’s interpreted as AV-software killer. :-D

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Thanks for sharing!

    Interesting conspiracy theories, Apple promotion and other stories. :-)

  • Chris Kalani says:

    I like/use the ALL-IN-ONE SecretMaker.

    http://www.secretmaker.com

    It has a weird interface but it is lightweight and actually works. And you can choose to only use certain functions.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Chris,

    Thanks for the tip!

  • AV isn't necessary at all. Viruses are not mystical entities that come flying through the air, they are simply programs. If you don't open them, you are save.

    Except on Windows maybe… but even there I never had a problem with viruses. Only once I opened a software I downloaded and installed a Worm. I simply booted into Safe Mode, edited the registry, removed the files with the according date and everything was back to normal.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Markus, Johan,

    Thanks for your comments!

  • Matt says:

    "And part of me starts to wonder if all these antivirus software vendors are riding the wave of people’s fears, that their product will be bought just out of “better safe than sorry”-panic."

    I couldn't agree more with this statement. I personally don't use any AV software. I don't feel it's necessary. If you use common sense with your computer, viruses won't be a problem. I tried explaining this to my Dad since he kept asking about which AV software to get for his system and he actually gave me the “better safe than sorry” bit.

    I really think AV software is one of the biggest scams out there yet is so widely accepted by everyone, especially big corporations.

  • kevin says:

    avast is a free antivirus

    noadware protects your browser from hijackers (cost)

    plus system machanic, now i use 5.5 for general maintanance (cost)

    these are the products i have used since the early 1990's

    i have had no real trouble unless i search on mr & mrs dodgy web site

    used on my win 95 through to my win xp desktop

    try them and stay safe

    but best of all enjoy yourself while you trawl the web.

  • Stephen Hill says:

    Hello,

    Just to let you know I use Norton Antivirus Corperate Edition at home and at work because it is really light weight.

    It has the basic features required of an antivirus and is currently running on my system using about 3meg of memory.

    Cheers

    GK

  • Sami Cirpili says:

    Well, I've run without AV for a few years now.

    1) I ran into my first problem ever without AV. I tried logging into my school's wireless (they use Cisco Agent Access) and they blocked me because I didn't have AV installed on my machine.

    2) Yes, but as a teacher I've come to find out that common sense is not so common. That being said, anyone with a little bit of technical savvy can run an XP box just fine without AV.

    3) If you switch to another OS (Linux or maybe OSX) the need for AV protection diminishes further still.

    Now, periodically I will download AVG and let it run a full scan on every damn file on my PC then uninstall it. To date, I've never had an infection! Plus the people who talk about the viruses are kind of cult-like and scary. This week it's the Worm, next week the Hydra, etc. It's a sort of mythology to them I think. And sometimes the same people are as annoying as they get. Well I have to get to work now…peace.

    Sam

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Matt, kevin, Stephen, Sami,

    Thank you for your comments!

  • John Scott says:

    I aggree that if you are careful anti virus programs are not always needed. Also, I do aggree too that AV companies have put the fear into computer users that you will be infected without our help.

    Now techically if you do use a AV program it will slow your computer down because a good AV program will scan everything before it gets to your computer. Some of the "free" AV programs do not do this completely. They mostly scan mail thats downloaded and that is it. The rest of the time they sit idle until they do a system scan. Which,if it finds a virus it means its already on your computer.

    I personally think if you do not want to spend money on a AV program then skip the free programs that run on your computer.

    Just use a online scanner like Trend Micro "housecall" which is a Java script based AV scanner. But, you have to remember to run it at least once a week to be safe.

  • Louie says:

    I was on a corporate anti-virus team that cleaned over 10,000 desktops of the Kris worm sometime ago. We must have lost at least 1000 of them permanently from the damage and had to throw them away. The worm was delivered through an E-mail from someone known to the user. As soon as the mail was opened, it planted itself and our nightmare was on.

    This taught us many lessons. The most important was anti-virus software is essential. Can you afford to lose your entire desktop investment? Hardware and software? Our estimated loss was 25 million.

    Most anti-virus companies, governments, and corporate leaders create virus's. That is why anti-virus companies release updates twice a week. It is the casual hacker, however, that gets all the bad press. Have you ever heard IBM or our government being blamed for virus distruction? Chances are you won't.

    My own company had its own "investigative reporting" team that lead a virus group. There target was our competition. Destructive code can be planted in a picture. You open a website that has the picture and bang, you are infected!

    So opening mail and attachments with great care is no guarantee of a safe and secure environment. Don't be fooled. Be as safe as you can be. Have a 'live' anti-virus program running all the time you are logged on. It's for your benefit.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    John, Louie,

    Thanks for your comments.

    Louie,

    I definitely understand your standpoint and the concern in your case. I guess in a scenario such as the one you describe, it might also be a matter of what software you use for e-mail and web browsing, and because Microsoft software is so widespread, it is often the most affected one.

  • Daniel says:

    I used to have the full Norton works with Intrusion Detection, Firewall, Anti-Virus etc. etc. I always hated it because it slowed my system down but never really thought about whether I really needed it or not. Then I started thinking, don't viruses always come in the form of files that you have to click on before they can infect your system? In the whole year I had Norton Anti-virus it never detected a single virus. That's because I'm not the kind of person who will click on .exe attachments sent to me by strangers, or will even accept files over MSN except from my good friends who are all like me when it comes to viruses.

    So, I've decided not to install anti-virus software on my new computer. That means I have to be that much more vigilant and careful about what I do on the net, but it also means my computer isn't weighed down by anti-virus software that chews up half of my RAM.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Daniel,

    Good for you!

  • $$$ says:

    I think I'll use: " "LOL" …. "

    I don't use A/V.. couldn't care-a-less. I run firewall, nd the secutiry setting are up almost to max. I never search for rubbish on the net, so 99% of your worries are put to rest. Keep the money, and if you ain't great on the computer monitoring side of things, spend a 100 bucks, its your money, waste it if you wanna :-/

  • burt says:

    use AV software. I occasionally do a reformat of my hard drive and if I don't put AV software on my computer before I connect to the net, the moment I enter the net I usually have several worms or viruses. That is without using a firewall or router. My ISP is a constant target for viruses and worms as most ISP's are because they are the ones that can spread it to individuals. If you aren't extremely computer savvy, then it's in your best interest to get AV. Most software have a money back guarantee, if you don't like a certain software, just get rid of it and try something else, eventually you will find one that works best for you. If you do any kind of purchasing, form-filling, or basically anything that gives out any kind of identity information then you would be foolish to not have AV.

  • Coagmano says:

    There are too many ways to be auto-infected on a windows pc if you don't use protection. whether it be scripts on the Internet, emails, documents, or just being on a network, you should always have an AV and firewall active. I've used Norton AV in the past and had it circumvented by a clever worm that managed to sneak in and delete a dll for the main scanner. I've also had an interesting time when I connected to a friends lan and pretty much straight away got a warning from avast! that a worm had just copied itself into my full shared folder and attempted to execute, all from a remote pc. Funny thing was I was the only person on the network who configured their AV well enough to notice (everyone else had all their drive roots full shared and only a few had AV)

    I recently switched to Kaspersky AV with Internet Security, but i'm about to uninstall it in favour of Avast!. Kaspersky is extremely secure, but uses too many resources and seems to increase my internet usage considerably. It also took me 9hrs 30min to scan my pc. Avast is nice and lite and works. For firewall I simply leave it to the router, and check active connections every now and then for trojan like activity.

  • Davis says:

    The first worm that infected my PC after two years came from a USB flash drive and avoided being detected by avast. I even had to remove it manually. I think that common sense is really more important than any anti-virus program. Now, I use Firefox's Firefly to browse a flash drive.

  • Brian says:

    AV is for idiots. Stay away from crap, use a webmail email account from a reputable place…ie yahoo, gmail, hotmail etc. and they will provide free virus protection for your email. Stay away from instant access porn sites. And while downloading music only download .mp3 files not myfavoritesong.EXE as this could be bad…DAR DAR DUH. Wonder why microsoft doesn't recommend running av on servers if you supposedly have to have it right? The answer is you don't it's a scam. A tax on stupid people….

    I have cleaned more viruses from pc's that had an antivirus than those that did not. Good Luck God BLess. 911=Inside Job

  • Ben says:

    You guy's should really be more careful, viruses dont always come as EXE's that people send you. Viruses can be disquised to look like another file, like a jpg photo, or they can be embedded in a video file. They can even be embedded or forced to download from a website. Virus creators are thinking of better more effective ways of infecting and spreading their viruses.

  • Muhammd says:

    Hey,

    I am really so tired of being hacked, Virused, etc…

    So here is what i made i am using SpeedUpMyPC, Spyware Eraser and Registry Booster from uniblue thos r very effective for speeding ur PC and Keeping it clean from Spywares and Register Hackers.

    But for the Viruses I use clamwin free AntiVirus .. belive me these compinations made my PC powerfull, Safe, Stable and the Best is I didn't chang my XPWin since last Feb.

    Hope u can be as safe as i am .. My Regards

    Muhammed

  • Muhammd says:

    Sorry i have forgot to post u the Links this is the Uniblue Softwares link: http://www.liutilities.com

    And this is the AntiVirus Link: http://www.clamwin.com/

    Best luck And Regard

    Muhammed

  • Reby says:

    "Destructive code can be planted in a picture. You open a website that has the picture and bang, you are infected!" – Louie

    Destructive code?

    I think it's an exaggeration.

    As far as i know, it works like this:

    *you visited a website with a picture like this for example: (^_^) *

    *(^_^) picture will be stored in your computer*

    when a you re-visited that website that contained (^_^) picture, you can be identified by that website that you visited their website even if you deleted the cookie session with that website.

    How can that be a destructive code?

    If there's anything behind it, i am willing to listen and know.

  • Sam says:

    I too would like to go naked into cyberland. I have been using Avast! and think it's nice. However, I have been using it for at least three years , and other than the very first scan, it has NEVER picked up a virus!

    It seems lately that the Avast! icon on the tool bar is always spinning, hogging my machine's resources.

    Having said that, I also use Zonealarm firewall and periodically run free spy-ware clean-up programs.

    I think my ISP, Media Com High Speed Internet scans everything. Also, I use Gmail and Google scans all inbound e-mail. My feeling is that these service providers are already cleaning things up before it gets to me.

    I suppose I could do a once a week scan with Avast! just to make sure.

    Wish me luck and Merry Christmas!

    Sam

  • Steve says:

    Your argument seems the same as that one that goes "should I wear a seat belt? I'll never crash!" – if you're a good enough driver, you'll probably never crash. But if somebody crashes into you, you're buggered!

    Perhaps on your personal home machine, you don't need anti-virus. If you are confident enough to use your machine and avoid viruses like the plague, then that's fair enough. But after working in a school, I can tell you that anti-virus has its place!

    We have the W95.Nimda virus (I think that's what it was called) infect ALL of our machines – a network with 12 rooms spread far apart, and more than 200 computers. Can you imagine shutting the computer network in a school for a week, and the havoc it causes? The teachers weren't at all happy, and more so we'd have to restart the whole process of "cleaning the machines" everytime somebody would switch a computer on DESPITE OUR NOTICES TELLING THEM NOT TO.

    What it comes down to is the knowledge of an individual. Not everybody knows what to be wary of, some users try sticking floppy disks in CD drives because they "couldn't find another slot". I run a PC repair business now, and I think many of my customers would be lost without anti virus software. Saying that, I always recommend AVG free edition because of its weight on the system – I feel its a very awkward compromise on system performance.

  • Bob Foss says:

    For the people who think they don't need antivirus software, you need to realize that the days of "I don't open suspicious files" are gone. Two things are needed if you're using the Internet today:

    1. Make sure you have all the latest security patches for your operating system (whether it's Windows, Linux, or a Mac OS) and all applications like Quicktime, Acrobat Reader, etc.

    2. Always use memory-resident antivirus on Windows, and it's starting to be recommended by those "in the know" for Macs and Linux, as well.

    Without both of these things in place, you will end up with some nasty software on your computer sooner or later, if you're using the Internet at all.

    For many of the newer security holes, all you have to do is open a compromised website, and your box is compromised. You don't have to "click on something" or "run a program." All you have to do is look at a page in your web browser, and it's game over if you don't have Antivirus and the latest security patches.

    And these don't have to be random "www.evilhaxxors.com" websites; there have been plenty of nasty things hosted on facebook, myspace, financial institutions, and even a high-profile (in the security community) compromise of the Miami Dolphins' website. (http://searchsecurity.techtarget.com/originalContent/0,289142,sid14_gci1242107,00.html)

    Many of you are saying, "I don't run antivirus, and I've never had a virus!" How do you know? Today's "viruses" (a small subset of the larger "malware" category) are often designed to be stealthy, sitting in the background doing nothing more than hiding and stealing your banking, credit card, and email information the next time you log in.

    Without antivirus running, you may never know that your computer has been compromised until it's too late (kind of like saying, "I never go to the doctor, and I've never gotten cancer!")

    Please, for your own sake, and the health of the Internet (your infected computer is being used to send me spam and try to infect my computer) , run antivirus software all the time.

    (And in case you were wondering, I do *not* work for any antivirus company. I work in information security, and my job would be a lot easier if there weren't thousands and thousands of infected home computers on the Internet right now.)

  • blinkdt says:

    No AV for me. None needed on my Windows PC.

    Bob, I hear you, I've seen alot of compromised machines and I am familiar with the type of behavior that causes such problems. I've stopped downloading/installing/scanning/uninstalling any AV program "just in case." Like my visits to the doctor, good genes and good lifestyle render the outcome quite predictable.

    And to the Mac user who cheered about the secure nature of Apple's OS, you need to wake up: Apple ain't issuing security updates just for sport. Macs are quite suseptible to compromise. Your good surfing habits and the fact that you are using a marginal OS have you reasonably covered.

  • Abhijit says:

    You can use Avira Antivirus: Personal Edition. It's free, it has virus detection capabilities even better than costly commercial AV's like NOD32, and is extremely light on resources. Although, it has no email scanner ( if you use gmail or something like that, I guess there is no need of it).

  • Greg says:

    Here is my point of view:

    You can use every AV Under the sun and NO COMPANY can GUARANTEE 100% PROTECTION! Why? Because NO AV catches everything. If you run Avast, NOD32, Kaspersky, Avira, AVG or whatever even, an unknown virus can pass because they only DETECT THINGS!

    I haven't been running an AV for a few months. Simply because I use a HIPS solution and Sandboxie. I also use common sense and use web based email.

    AV's are based on 25 yr old radio active technology. COMODO Firewall Pro 3 (And Defense +(HIPS)) while sandboxing my browser does the job for me!

    Prevention vs Detection!

  • Amanda says:

    Interesting discussion… I have always felt like AV was for people who have absolutely no clue how viruses or computers work and download programs/attachments indiscriminately. The rest of the time, it really seems like companies are trying to scare people into believing that viruses, as another poster nicely put it, are "mystical entities" that just magically end up on your computer for no reason. This is great for selling a product (it kind of reminds me of natural health product marketing… You know, like "there are horrible dangerous yet mysterious chemicals in everything that are the source of all the health problems you've ever had in your life! Buy our natural stuff!" kind of deal, people go for that), but I've never seen anything to actually convince me that it's true. So far I've never heard a reasonable technical explanation for half the things people claim about viruses, such as the idea that you can get them from non-executable files like images and mp3s (aside from the case where a Windows user has their file extensions hidden, which is the default Explorer setting, so a file can have an extension like .jpg.exe without them noticing, and execute when they double-click to open it… that's believable enough).

    In any case I've been using the internet basically all day every day for about ten years. I've been prudent with what I download in terms of executables (though I download tons of media files from all sorts of different sources), and have never had AV software or gotten a virus. Though when I do get programs from, um, disreputable sources I scan my computer a couple times afterward with Trend Micro's online scanner Housecall, which has picked up and deleted a couple trojans for me over the years.

    Though, I do think that AV software is useful for those people who don't know how to avoid threats. If anyone ELSE got to use my computer, I'd probably put AV on it. :)

  • Amanda says:

    (Though yes, I also install all security patches and use a firewall… I'm sure that helps too haha. That stuff isn't ANNOYING like AV software…)

  • PMD says:

    Reinstall OS install all softwares which are used dialy then install deepfreeze or norton go back then no need install any AV.Freeze only C drive(OS here).If you Updates of any other, stop that freeze after restart then update all you want then start deepfreeze after restart.When a drive is in freeze state it not allow a bit change also in data.

  • sally says:

    I have norton 2008, avast, avg, and pc-cillan installed and they are all constantly detecting viruses even when im not doing anything online.

    my computer runs really slow aswell, so im thinking about just uninstalling them all and hoping for the best.

  • Yoh says:

    If you want the lightest antivirus , eset nod32 is a good choice.If you want free antivirus and lightweight , the pctools antivirus is a good solution.

  • bb_dd says:

    I've been testing my system with no live/background AV software, I surf prudently and have firewall blocking all the dangerous ports. At the end of each week I do a one time virus check, and after 6months I have never found a virus/worm/trogan…

    However, Bob Foss's comment (repeated below) worries me.

    Bob Foss said:

    "2. Always use memory-resident antivirus on Windows, and it’s starting to be recommended by those “in the know” for Macs and Linux, as well…Many of you are saying, “I don’t run antivirus, and I’ve never had a virus!” How do you know? Today’s “viruses” (a small subset of the larger “malware” category) are often designed to be stealthy, sitting in the background doing nothing more than hiding and stealing your banking, credit card, and email information the next time you log in…Without antivirus running, you may never know that your computer has been compromised until it’s too late (kind of like saying, “I never go to the doctor, and I’ve never gotten cancer!”)"

    Is Bob implying that I have not found any virus' because the one off virus scanners can't find them? Can someone confirm this interpretation of Bob's comments and then confirm whether or not such stealthy virus' that are beyond the detection of one off virus scanners really exist?

  • Matt says:

    Hi I use G DATA it was ranked as the number 1 antivirus more information can be found here http://www.ultimateinternetsecurity.com it's very light :)

  • Ashutosh says:

    I am Not a Programmer and Due to overload caused on system by Virues I often Don’t use an AV… Though I would Definitely Like to Scan my Data before Backing them up on CD/DVD.

    I Till Now I have been occasionally Using AVG Free.. But Recent Edition has been taxing performance of my PC which is uite ancient from today’s standard… I use a HP VEctra Vei8.. P3 500 MMX… 128+256 MB Ram.. 80 GB Seagate baracuda HDD= 1 160 GB Western Digital HDD…
    It works Pretty fine EXCEPT for when I run Video Encoding or ANTIVIRUS.. Recent AVG Free caused Frequent crashes when I tried Scanning My HDD.. Otherwise Access is fine When I DISABLE its RESIDENT Shield.

    Only ONCE My OC had been Severely Infected with a worm– Passma worm??

    Since then I have been careful about my Browsing… I BROWSE LOT OF SO CALLED INSECURE WEBSITES… Still…..

    As a security measure I DISABLE AUTOPLAY COMPLETELY ON MY XP SP2 MAHINE.
    I UsuAly Use EXPLORER XP instead of windows Explorer to Browse CD/Flash Drives Which Play Major role in virus spread these days… I think More than Internet Directly… and these has been really useful to me to avoid activating viruses by double clicking.. or Autoplaying..

    This Has brought my attack rates Down to I guess Less Than 1% of what would have been otherwise.

  • Ashutosh says:

    I have Personally Seen and MANUALLY Removed Viruses Which managed to SNEAK right under the NOSE of MULTIPLE WORLD FAME AVs.. NORTON 2009. AVAST. KAV, BIT DEFENDER.. ALL UPDATED TO DATE…. ONE OF such visuses was new folder.exe, another was powerpoint.exe, and still many.. I usually treat as”If any unknown process is running ans any exe file that I didn’t download is VIRUS..

    Anu ways.. I gott a Agree that NOT NECESSARILY All the windows’ Virusea Need to be .EXE Files…

    Once I Encountered a Malware that CHANGED MY CONCEPT ABOUT VIRUSRS… Infection consisted of 3 files.. None of them were EXEW file… Visus made my PC CRIPPLE.. the most I had ever experienced.. The main file excuted was a .BAT file.. named CL.BAT.. And I Checked it under EXPLORER XP.. it was registered as .BAT… WHEN I OPENED it in a SOURCE EDITOR… CODING Was VERy UNUSUAL for any BATCh Files I had EVER Seen… it ran as a hidden SERVICES (Didn’t show up on PROCESS EXPLORER) which I cvould Pick up and stop.. then and Only then I was able to get rid of the virus. otherwise It was making same 3 files again and again in the ROOT of all my oartition EVERy SECOND.. imagine how much pc performance it can affect… especially on a slow machine as mine..

    MY PERSONAL RECOMMENDATION IS… IF U DO ONLINE BUSINESS/ INTERNET BANKING/E-SHOPPING.. U MUST HAVE A REALTIME AV/ANTISPYWARE/FIREWALL.. for uR own security,,.. otherwise its OK.. YEAH… DEEP FREEZE/ DISK FREEZE is a good option… BUT I PERSONALLY found it VERY IRRITATING,,,.. EVEDRYTIME U did some Customization UNLESS U PLANNED it in advance and disabled it in advance… its gone Once U restarted Ur system… otherwise its safe in naive hands.

  • Ashutosh says:

    Sorry!! FOR LOTS of typing msitakes in my post… I am NOT a very good typist. Please BEar with me..

  • darkness_and_light says:

    To put it simply: USE ANTI-VIRUS SOFTWARE.

    Careful browsing and e-mail habits will protect you from getting into most types of trouble but there are plenty of other ways for malicious code to get onto your system.

    Almost anything can be used to infect a system, yes even an image file opened in an e-mail, an image that has been download, or that loads when a website is openned. Its called steganography, which basically amounts to hiding a message (or malicious code in this case) inside of an image. A 500 line segment of code within a .jpg file will only result in a few blurred pixels or a blurred line at the bottom of the image.

    Another trick is to put a virus inside of a .zip file, add an image file to the .zip file and rename it with a .jpg extension. It will look like a .jpg, it will behave like a .jpg EVEN WITH FILE EXTENSION NOT HIDDEN and the only thing to give it away is perhaps an unusually large file size. The only protection would be to set your browser to NOT load images when it opens a page and check the size of all images on the page manually which is ridiculous.

    I'm barely scratching on all the ways computers can be infected, virii don't "magically" infect computers but there are many ways to be exposed. Thats not even touching on Trojans, worms, and system exploits. An anti-virus program is a cheap and minimal-effort method of risk management.

    Doing nothing is neither risk management or risk mitigration, it is RISK ACCEPTANCE.

  • James says:

    I use AVG Free. I don't have a clue what the weight is but I like it better than Norton. It seems to be more effective.

    I think an antivirus software isn't necessary but I wouldn't go without one. At the very least I recommend that you get an anti spyware. A good Anti-spyware is Spybot Search and Destroy.

    I've been virus free since I built my computer about 2 years ago.

  • Dalton says:

    well as far as AV's go well there not completely full proof because all the components to the AV software are run as tasks so if your familiar with Batch programming you can stop AV software and batch is used specifically with windows so you cant be completely shielded from it but good AV software can scan the batch for malicious code but clean code in a batch program is un detectable

    As for Linux/unix computers if the virus coder is familiaf with python than your supseptable to those viruses and as for firewalls they arent full proof because theres ways for the hacker/virus coder to just simply

    turn it off

    for the conclusion to those statements well they should make those turn-off options inaccessable because if the admin of the computer cant do it neither can the hacker/virus coder but well theres still ways because nothings full proof when it comes to computers because if they can forcefully gain controll of your computer you have potential to be screwed but if the vendors of the computers get inventive and create a new way the new computers compute and go about there processes and invent a new coding/scripting languages and incorporate the AV and firewall software not as a task but incorporate it in the regular base functions of the computer and disguise them and make them not completely controllable

    and make them malleable so it can change itself uniquely so it can shield itself from "out-dated attacks" that kill the system.

    but still theres a problem in that solution

    because if they incorperate the AV software in the base functions of the computer if someone successfully alters the AV it can lead to system failure

    but when it comes to computers and other technology

    ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE

    it doesnt take that much to kill a computer

    examples

    search for AUTOEX.bat open it in notepad and before anything type

    "exit" or "pause" as for that file is the file that initates the computer to start the windows core files.

    another example

    open my computer open C: and open windows and open system32

    and delete CONFIG you can make a program in batch that forcefully does this.

    those will successfully messup your computer to were it will make it

    unusable

    but the best AV software I've found is AVG

    it works and it doesn't take up enormous amounts of computing power

    as for the hacker/virus coder

    i am 15 years old and i obtain the knowledge to

    really screw up your computer like kill your computer and kill everyone elses computer thats connected to your network

    and your printer because printers can be used to back track

    but enough about me being able to do this

    but seriously if a 15 year old can do it so can you

    but the awnser to all this is they only thing they really can do is make hacking and virus coding more challenging

    because as i sayed

    anythings possable for technology

    sincerely,

    Dalton

  • Dalton says:

    ooh and sorry for all the typos i havent been to typing classes yet so

    typing errors are …consistant

  • Dalton says:

    and also as for the security holes you metioned its not completely

    security its more the fact that core OS files are accessable to admin and hackers basically you can kill your computer if you really want to

    but if they could make the core OS files inaccessible to programs and people ect. that would make a difference to everything it would prevent hackers and virus coders from crashing your system

  • Robert says:

    Unlike the typical home user who has been indoctrinated to believe they can allow the computer to automatically protect itself by using software which compares everything in the computer against everything in an ever increasing list of potent threats. I see a PC user who counts on antivirus software, is running a software spyware adware and malware battleground in constant competing for web access. From advertising toolbars to hardware and software manufacturers looking for market research information('automatic updates'), license verification, advertising and many many more applications with far more harmful intention as well as those prioritary advertising search bars all get in line to 'call home' every time you boot. Where commercial antivirus software attempts to secure by providing your PC with a list of 'two million' of what they considers, potential threats, I have a very short list of those programs I see as necessary to have web access.(Google Earth, email and web browser<as example, I count three items here)

    Heaven forbid I am denying access to ports to Windows.

  • myke says:

    i use comodo internet security, light weight and easy to use…

    it needs to be updated everyday for additional virus signatures

    try it. it's free….

  • [...] Do we really need antivirus software? Out of curiosity, I’ve unplugged the network cable on some computers and just tried doing some [...]

  • ridhoyp says:

    hmm.. someday maybe.. offcoursely is about your habit too :) your environment and what you seek off over internet, someday i browse abour crack program, and get much of viruses which can;t be handled by antivirus too.. the anvirus program had false alarm too and delete my file system, i had to reinstall my windows.. i think, we must find the very lightly antivrus which is pass the false alarm test.. i've heard kaspersky which is pass the test.. but maybe it kinda weight.. T_T

  • Consumer says:

    Interesting thought. Virus writers + antivirus = zero productivity, with hard-earned money transferred from users to antivirus vendors & degraded computer performance as side effect… sigh. I’ve bookmarked this article in Computer Buying Basic topic at consumer-resources.org. Thanks.

  • SEO says:

    Its worth spending few bucks to buy some good antivirus software instead of going for a free edition. I suggest you to Buy K7 Antivirus Software @ lowest price which is of light weight, user friendly with good detection rates as you expect.

    You can find K7’s Internet Security / Antivirus Software Review here – http://softdiskindia.com/articles.php?show=18

  • seb says:

    Quite frankly, if you don't have AV software, how will you ever even know if you have a virus? You're risking identity theft and putting others at danger by providing a platform for the virus to spread.

  • Maiza says:

    Hi. I know its 4 years late but try using Microsoft Security Essentials. They didn't slow down my computer. In fact, its much better than the ones I usually use which is Zone Alarm and Avira. You're much more secure with the new Microsoft Security Essentials and when you start up and shut down your computer, It's all a breeze. Same as opening applications. Try it. :) Hope that helps.

  • David Robert Jones says:

    Hi, After 10 years of web browsing, I deinstalled Mcaffee 3 years ago from my laptop (it slowed it to a halt).

    And surprise, I haven't caught a virus since. My wife also never installed an anti-virus program on her laptop.

    I think if you use common sense in your browsing and filter what comes in your inbox, you shouldn't get infected. That means steering clear from illegal downloads and porn sites I suppose.

    D.

  • Arvin says:

    I am using computer for now more then 10 years and I stopped using anti-virus 2 year back when I moved to windows vista.

    When I was using XP, I never felt the need of AV. As it was already installed so I never bothered to uninstall it.

    This is what I do to keep my self safe.

    1. Do not install every program or freeware you see.

    2. Watch what website you are visiting. (Did someone ever got infraction from facebook, yahoo, ebay, banking websites, news website, etc..)

    3. Don't share folder if you are on network.

    4. Be careful when transferring files from other computers. ( All I share is doc files or PDF, I request my friends to email me.)

    I think the problem arise when we look for free stuff like software, music, porn, etc. I am lucky to have friends who can find such stuff for me. :)

    Bottom line – You can live without AV if you can control your habits. If your daily routine includes surfing to untrusted websites or exploring internet for search of free stuff, AV is must and you better have a good AV.

  • Daniel says:

    A friend of mine did a search on the web.

    The link looked like a legit business one but NOD32 went crazy.

    Some trojan made its' way through but the program wasn't able to resolve the issue.

    Why bother having an AV program (shareware on top of that!) which can't handle the heat?

  • WugFresh says:

    I have used all these anti-virus programs, and I will agree with you that they do slow down your performance, however you can configure them to function as a layer of protection but not hoard all your resources. Also I am going to describe some basic ways to stay virus free.

    Take Avast for instance; it has some default settings that you may want for protection, but only if you are completely carefree and don’t consider what you are doing before you do it.

    In the Real-time shield>expert settings
    It scans all .exe’s when launched (like even Microsoft word)
    It scans when files are written by the local user (you i.e. saving a document).
    It scans every time you open a file.

    Unnecessary–> There are better ways to protect yourself.

    Lets assume your computer is clean.
    How are you going to get infected?
    –From the internet
    –From an external input (i.e flashdrive or cd)

    Ok. Files that aren’t scripts or executable aren’t going to start messing with your computer. (i.e. you download a .rar archieve and inside contains a virus that you aren’t unaware of). The achieve (assuming its not an SFX and you double click it) isn’t going to self extract and start infecting you. Its only going to be a problem when you open an .exe or extract a .rar or run a script…

    So… there are programs you know are cool, legit sites and what not. And there are things you are sketch about (if not, start assuming this more frequently).

    Try a manual scan of the file your concerned about.
    Now Download Sandboxie (a great free, isolation environment)
    Run you sketchy .exe or whatever inside sandboxie, (and configure your virus protection to have an active shield.) your host is safe, if a virus is found, then you can delete the whole sandbox. If the program is cool, then delete the sandbox and install it normally.

    Try first then use.

    Other than that, turn off all that monitoring junk. And enjoy a faster computer.

    Use firefox (get Addblock Plus addon)

    DONT USE:
    iexplorer – holding back web technology and they are insecure
    Norton – i hate norton, it is a virus in my opinion, takes forever to get it off your computer; unless your running some beast servers stay away from this bloatware garbage

    Mcafee – I also hate mcafee, slows down computers too much, and I don’t like their interface, its obnoxious

    Stop downloading random bad freeware! do a little research.

    Stop choosing default install option, choose custom and disable all the toolbars and junk these installers are trying to put on your comp.

    DO INSTALL:

    Firefox
    CCleaner
    Sandboxie

    Either Avast with proper configuration, or clamwim, but be a little bit more careful.

    OPTIONAL/RECOMMENDED APPS:
    7-zip
    win-rar
    Gizmo drive
    VLC

  • cindy says:

    I think antivirus software is a bunch of baloney! I’ve used several since 2004 including AVG (paid and free), Avast, Norton, McAffey and MSE…none of them have ever found ONE VIRUS. If I let them run in the background “keeping me safe” haha….they slow down my computer!

    Keep your Windows updated regularly, set your firewall and security settings, and be careful where you go on the internet! I do ALL of my banking and shopping on the internet. Not ONCE has a virus scan found anything to this very day (7-10-2012). Any feedback is appreciated, but probably won’t change my mind! They slow my computer down, hog up my registry and I have deleted a few from my registry that took my files right along with them! AVG and Avast are two of the worst for that! LastPass is an excellent part of my security and maybe a lot of people don’t realize that their router is also a firewall.

    Granted, you don’t see any people who agree with me but I will be the first to let you know if I ever get a virus and even THEN I might not install a virus protector! ppffffttttttttttt

  • cindy says:

    Wugfresh: I used to use Ccleaner, but I like the WiseCleaner and Wise Regisry cleaner better, they are free also. Waddya think?

  • Urgh says:

    Firewalls I buy. Naturally no one should get unapproved access to your computer. If you haven’t got unsecured open ports, you shouldn’t even need a firewall.

  • harpo210 says:

    Some one, really hit the nail on the head, sorry, cannot
    remember his name, but he is the only person I have
    read, that brings the fact that the People that sells, the
    windows, and other programs for our computers, should
    have considered the danger of getting virus into the system,
    and include inside the program, an automatic detections
    of any thing that might impede the normal function of our
    systems, which most of us use, Windows.

    Is a complete rip off, of all these antivirus programs who
    do nothing. Some one was praising the Kaspersky” program
    for me has been a night mare, worst than before.
    As I said, the gentleman that wrote this notes, about the vendors
    is absolutely correct. Thanks for those wise remarks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>