Do I need an Antivirus Program?

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  1. #1
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    Default Do I need an Antivirus Program?

    Firstly I'm NOT suggesting that the average user should run without antivirus. I would consider that foolhardy. But....

    I've just done a fresh Vista install. I've got all my drivers and programs installed and all data is back on board. This machine is absolutely flying along. Best performance I've had from it including an XP install (with a/v). But I've yet to install an antivirus program and I'm thinking of not bothering. The reasons for this are:

    1. I'm an experienced user.
    2. I never open attachments and the like unless I know the sender well.
    3. I have a hardware firewall (and Vista's firewall)
    4. I don't install "freeware" and unknown programs on this machine. I don't experiment with software on it.
    5. I use software to "automatically" log into secure web sites and that password is different from the log-ins so I'm not worried about key loggers.
    6. I have a full backup of my install with Acronis which was done before the machine was connected to the web and I intend to do a full restore about every three months.

    So I think I'll be OK. I also have another machine that I have a/v on that also gets my email so I can "test" suspicious stuff there.

    So.... Are there any other reasons that I should install a/v software? Do any of you go the unprotected route?

    Thanks in advance for your opinions.

    Gordon
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Do I need an Antivirus Program?

    I haven't used an anti-virus since my defragging + a/v issue. (Long story short I left it on auto scan accessed files, and the defragger went through the entire hard drive... not a good result.)

    I'm running Windows XP with a software firewall; mostly behind a router. I install stuff randomly, barely checking credentials :P Haven't run into a single problem yet. Maybe I've just developed a sense for certain things. In any case I don't even have major full drive backups.

    As for the keylogger part, as long as you don't allow foreign programs to connect to the internet you should be able to protect yourself even in the case of an infection.

    Most anti-virus software only work for maybe 75% of the viruses... The 75% which aren't as harmful :P


    My advice: if you feel confident enough I say go without the constant memory resident

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Do I need an Antivirus Program?

    People don't buy insurance because they plan on their house burning down, but s**t happens.

    One day you'll get a link or message from someone you trust, even on a corporate network and it'll be game over. And without AV, you won't even know it.

    There's a couple of free AV programs that have worked well for me ( Antivir and AVG ), I'd suggest picking one and using it. New systems today can handle the resource usage.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Do I need an Antivirus Program?

    Omg running a computer (windows) these days without antivirus is like running outside without pants on. It just shouldn't be done, and the two go together. you have a windows OS, you get antivirus (along side antispyware). Sites can auto install things without you knowing these days.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Do I need an Antivirus Program?

    That's my issue. Can they? I run a limited user account for day to day activities and I think in Vista that it's actually very difficult for an install to occur without you knowing. I don't use messenger, games, facebook etc here. Just work stuff, notetaking, email and web browsing.

    But as alpha swift said s%%it happens. I wonder with care what the odds actually are.

    It's not the cost by the way. This machine is used for work, so I wouldn't use "free" software as it violates the licence. I have AVG on a few machines at home that are non-commercial.

    It's more the way the software invades everything almost like a virus itself. Norton is disgusting, so that's out. I trialed MS One care which removed the ability to hibernate and the power icon from the taskbar everytime it did a clean up (HUH!!!!! c'mon MS they're both YOUR programs and they don't work together!!!!). I like NOD32 sorta. But all these things add running programs, eat resources, slow down boot up and hibernate (especially hibernate which doubled after installing a/v software and WMDC).

    I'm trying to keep the computer lean and mean you might say. I'm not going to sync my mobile device to it anymore as WMDC is just such a hog and I'm questioning EVERY program that I put on this machine.

    Thanks for the replies. Keep em coming.

    Gordon

    p.s. I'm Australian. Running around outside without pants on is a national pastime (google "cricket" and "streaking" to see what I mean) so that argument only encourages me :-)
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Do I need an Antivirus Program?

    Quote Originally Posted by gordoncahill View Post
    1. I'm an experienced user.
    2. I never open attachments and the like unless I know the sender well.
    3. I have a hardware firewall (and Vista's firewall)
    4. I don't install "freeware" and unknown programs on this machine. I don't experiment with software on it.
    5. I use software to "automatically" log into secure web sites and that password is different from the log-ins so I'm not worried about key loggers.
    6. I have a full backup of my install with Acronis which was done before the machine was connected to the web and I intend to do a full restore about every three months.
    Some replies to your remarks:
    1. Sometime ago I read a a survey of which the result said that 85% of drivers believed they were above average drivers.
    2. Someone you know well might still send you infected attachments.
    3. Firewalls or routers may stop some malicious network traffic, but it won't prevent your pc being infected with a virus.
    4. ok, can't nitpick about this one
    5. most of that software still sends keycodes to the applications (e.g. your browser) so keyloggers can still detect those passowords.
    6. Just out of curiousity, you don't install new applications, you use your pc for working, mailing, internet etc. Yet you want to do a full restore (from an image) every three months?? What could possibly "slow down" your computer, as I'm assuming this is the reason you want to do the full restore?

    Quote Originally Posted by Surfer666 View Post
    I'm running Windows XP with a software firewall; mostly behind a router. I install stuff randomly, barely checking credentials :P Haven't run into a single problem yet. Maybe I've just developed a sense for certain things. In any case I don't even have major full drive backups.

    As for the keylogger part, as long as you don't allow foreign programs to connect to the internet you should be able to protect yourself even in the case of an infection.
    If you're not running any antivirus, you might never know your pc is actually infected or not. Not every virus turns your screen upside down and screams "you're infected!"

    As for the keylogger part, you seem to assume that your firewall is perfect and that there is no way whatsoever to bypass it. Please reconsider.

    Quote Originally Posted by gordoncahill View Post
    But as alpha swift said s%%it happens. I wonder with care what the odds actually are.

    It's not the cost by the way. This machine is used for work, so I wouldn't use "free" software as it violates the licence. I have AVG on a few machines at home that are non-commercial.
    Do you really want to find out what the odds are? I don't really care that maybe some of the work I do on my PC/Tablet is 1% slower (quite frankly I don't spot the difference in performance except in for example unzipping large archieves). However, if my Tablet does get infected with a virus, and I have to do a reinstall or restore from image, and reinstall all updates of the last x months and again adjust all configuration settings/preferences etc. It will take me much longer, and will definitely annoy me much more as well.

    And I do agree that being a little bit cautious and responsible will prevent the vast majority of virus related problems and that no anti-virus software is perfect or will be able to stop every possible virus. But if it prevents only one, it's already worth it for me. Especially as on recent hardware the performance penalty is very minimal. (I'm using AVG btw, and I wouldn't want to use Norton either for that matter.)

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Do I need an Antivirus Program?

    There are various signs that point to an infection. Most viruses these days don't bind to any specific programs... (eg they have their own processes)

    Also there's the factor that the anti-virus programs do not actually detect the newest, fastest-spreading, most destructive. I mean Norton anti-virus is a joke. If that anti-virus prevents one virus, it's probably the one that you should already have seen if you were paying any attention or a false positive.


    PS I don't think I can ever recall _any_ of my friends ever sending me unsolicited attachments in their email... Speaking of unsolicited messages, sometimes people send links which random urls which often try and exploit Internet Explorer; but the people never respond/go offline when you try and talk to them so it's obvious.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Do I need an Antivirus Program?

    Quote Originally Posted by Surfer666 View Post
    There are various signs that point to an infection.
    And then it is already too late. Even if it is as low as 75%, at least those would not have infected you. If they do, its too late and you will have to format and start over. Most tests I have seen put NOD32 at better than 90%.

    The 1st line of defense is how you act. If you ever - I mean ever open any attachments you need an AV. Just because you know them does not mean their system is clean.

    2nd line of defense is the AV program. If you never open attachment then your probably safe from 98% of infections because most are sent via email. This includes links in emails too!

    3rd is to use Windows Update - regularly. At least once a week. Most vulnerabilities are discovered by malicious people after they are announced and patched by MS or other vendors. They can use these to go after the unpatched systems.

    4th Use a hardware firewall and MS Windows software firewall. If you put your system on a home network with an infected PC, a hardware firewall will not detect this at all. They do not stop internal traffic or outbound traffic unless you close those ports. Even then infections will just use port 80 and you can't shut that off unless you don't want to browse the internet. Any outbound traffic requests will be permitted and then the inbound traffic for that request will be allowed because it was an internal request- including the root kit you did not want.

    5th - Use a limited account, and don't shut off Vista's annoying UAC (user access control) - that is the single most important upgrade in Vista and prevents a majority of Vista infections. With a limited account the installing infection must ask permission to install. But people do have a tendency to ignore this because of the hassle in XP to install what you did want installed. It's also easy to just click ok and install something because you wanted to watch that cool video on the link you were just sent.

    6th, run anti-spyware such as defender and ad-ware and spybot search and destroy. They are less useful these days because they don't actually remove the worst offenders but at least you wil have some defense from them.

    My linux security instructor told us of a story with a Dentist having over 1100 viruses on his Windows server. He did have a firewall, but no AV, and did not patch his system. He also did not use this server to browse the internet, but did open attachments form business associates on his networked PC's.

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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Do I need an Antivirus Program?

    LMAO. "90% of statistics are wrong, including this one"

    If NOD32 blocked 90%, it's the 90% of things which have been deemed as a recognized virus. Sure that's good but 100% would be better. The viruses which are spreading are the ones which aren't recognized as viruses. Those are the dangerous ones.

    It's all up to the system administrator to prevent infections. There is no surefire way to eliminate the threat entirely, unless you remove yourself from contact with other systems and people. I mean it would be easier to just turn off your computer if you were that paranoid.

    I think the whole discussion on how to load up your computer with billions of tools, programs, limited accounts, etc. will only lead to slowing the system down. I mean even if you had all of that, the chances something exists that will bypass it all is high.


    If you really want some good advice, switch to an operating system not used by a majority (such as linux for the time being). The main target is a large audience, unless of course you have something of great value.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Do I need an Antivirus Program?

    Sure it would be better if 100% of malware were stopped, but that is still only a dream. I wish my immune system would stop 100% of diseases, also just a dream. But why not use the AV to stop some just like you immunize yourself for some viruses but still can't stop all?

    If you feel confident in not getting a virus, great for you. That however is not the majority of people. And while undetected viruses are more dangerous - only because they are undetected, the ones you stop are just as dangerous if you had not stopped them.

    In all my computer experience, beginning in 1981 on home built computers and programming main frames, I have had one virus on a IBM PC that did not have AV running. It was detected by the AV when I ran it. In those days you could also remove them without much difficulty. In todays world if you get one, your toast because it will invite in a host of other malware. My AV software over those same years has stopped a number of them. One in a download program and all the rest via emails. I see that as a good thing and will give up the CPU time it uses for that extra protection over and above my own intuition.

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