seanmcgpa

Giving up on Antivirus software

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I'm running XP Pro SP1 with all the latest updates (except for infamous 811493 security update).

I had been running McAfee VirusScan Pro 7.0 but had been noticing odd lockups. Sometimes the computer would not shut down properly. Somtimes programs that I use frequently would just hang for no apparent reason. And the whole system seemed a litle... sluggish.

So maybe it's my virus software. I backup, reformat and reinstall XP from scratch, and install Norton AntiVirus 2003.

All of a sudden my Duel Xeon system is a 486. Everything creeps along. Windows open after long pauses, opening up directories is excruciating. Can this really be what Norton does to Windows? Symantec tells me to download some patch and make a registry mod, which I do. It does seem a little better, but still painful. My mighty PC has been castrated.

Wow, I long for McAfee's sluggishness as opposed to Norton's painful Windows experience.

So I reformat and reinstall XP from scratch, and start doing some research on other Virus Software. In the mean time, Windows screams, everything opens the way I like it and want it to. No hangs. No crashes. Bliss.

And now I'm thinking, do I really need Virus protection? I know it sounds ridiculous in this day and age ... but do I really? Outlook won't let me open any attachments that contain exe or scripts. I don't use IRC or Kazaa.

Should I risk a virus to have fast computing in the year 2003?

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Yes, you need AV. I'd suggest NAV Corporate 7.6 or later. It has, bar none, the best scanning engine available with outstanding heuristics and, by the way, I didn't notice a performance drop on my 366 PII laptop let alone my dual 1.4-S workstation.

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The off-the-shelf junk for me has shown dramatic effects on even the most powerful systems I've run, while the kit designed for corporations usually is much, much better since corporations don't care about ease of use or any of that fluff, they care about effective scanning. On top of that, there is something to be said for going with a large company (e.g. Norton or McAfee) since their virus dragnets are larger, hence they get virui first and can have a fix out first.

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You still should use anti-virus software. I also use AVG on my XP Home and XP Pro systems at home and have none of the slowdowns associated with Norton.

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I noticed that Ultra Edit was launching increadibly slow after I installed McAffe. I think it was a version 5. I edited some preferences to ignore Utra Edit (it was apparently scanning it at launch). No problems after that.

If you can find an ISP with good mail filtering, I think you could go without virus protection. I have a hosting provider that has an email filter that allows you to block all email with executable attachments (you tell it all the extensions to consider executable). Haven't seen a virus come in since then.

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I never use anti-virus software. I've only had two viruses in the last 10 years, one on a 486, and one on my old P2-400. Neither of them did any damage whatsoever.

For the interests of full disclosure, however, I should mention that I never give out my "real" email address to anyone who might be at risk of getting a virus. I only use it for close, personal friends who I know are careful, and for online transactions. I don't think I have ever had a piece of spam sent to that account, much less any viruses. That's the account that I have Outlook set up for. The other accounts I have are given out to anyone who I think might be a risk. HTML and attachments are not allowed for those accounts.

So, why do I "need" antivirus again? At the worst, I'll have to reformat, which I like to do every month anyway.

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Grr, I hate not being able to edit! Anyway...

All I wanted to add was that I also used to have significant slowdowns when using NAV, but this was on that P2-400, with an IBM 14GXP. I wouldn't be surprised if the performance hit was smaller on my new system, but I don't need anti-virus anyway, so it doesn't really matter. Just thought that I should share my experience with it. It was the standard retail version of NAV2002, not the corporate or anything like that.

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Intelligent computer users who do not do stupid things do not need AV software. You need to use an email client that does not propagate viruses. You have to be wary of any Email attachment of any sort. You need to not use IE or use it only on high-security settings (disable activeX completely) , and delete or rename script interpreters (e.g. WSH.exe). Finally, you need to only install software from trusted sources (retail CDs, Cnet downloads - not fly-by-night shareware or warez sites).

Best of all, you could always switch to *nix or a Mac.

If you're unwilling to do those things, enjoy your "AV-tax".

I make do with the occasional use of housecall.antivirus.com.

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My "AV Tax" was $10 for 50 seats through an EDU liscense that when I graduate converts to a full liscense, so I'm not too concerned about price. I have, however, gotten scores of viruses, some even from "trusted" sources with AV software that I keep up to date for them, such as my mother (who calls me before opening any attachment because she doesn't know how to and there's always a "this might contain a virus" warning set up whenever she does). So I doubt you're as immune as you think. Another source for viruses is the large files I share through tapes and/or Zip disks.

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I'm utterly confident in my abilities and in my security measures.

I am actually refering to the performance penalty associated with AV software, rather than the cost, but hey, that's $10 you had to pay that I didn't, so that works too.

Media sharing obviously falls in the trusted sources category. If your friends and family are giving you viruses, they aren't trustworthy. Adjust your behavior accordingly.

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I'll chime in Mercutio here. You don't need to run AV software if you're smart about how you use your system. I would not use Outlook for a e-mail client, for example, and I would keep my browser up to date with security patches. In almost 20 years of computing, I have never had a virus infect my system. I don't use AV software and get about 1000 e-mails/week. These days, I use linux for my main desktop and my mail client (kmail) is set to show text only. But, even on the few win boxes I use, I don't run AV software and don't feel that I'm taking a risk.

OTOH, I know plenty of people who do use AV software and still get infected (usually because they don't keep their virus definition files up to date).

The cynical/paranoid side of me thinks many AV companies are indirectly involved in the propagation of viruses anyway (they're public companies and need to keep their revenue stream alive. What better way to do it than to constantly introduce new viruses into the wild. If they have a hand in creating them, they'll know exactly how to protect against them too. It's a near perfect scam.) Anyway, that's my 2 cents.

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I also agree that AV software is unneccessary. I've never used it in my 5 years of owning my own PC, and have caught 1 virus which did not do anything destructive. My old virus protection basically consisted of reformatting and reinstalling windows every 6-9 months. With the newer versions of windows being a bit more stable, the reinstalls don't come as often, but I still don't have problems w/ virii. I even use outlook express, though I will soon bite the bullet and make the switch over to k-mail for my everyday use...

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I see a LOT of people here saying skip the AV software. I think you should only skip av software if the following circumstances are met.

1. (depending on how you get email, pick which ever scenario applies to you)

A. You only use web based email on a system that has an antivirus scanner in place

(yahoo does this, i think hotmail does too).

B. Your pop or imap server has a antivirus scanner in place and checks any incoming

or outgoing mail.

C. You never ever use email period.

2. You never ever use p2p programs or copy programs from friends, family, etc.

3. You are not on a Lan with other people.

4. You do not download programs from the internet.

5. You have every incoming port of relevance on your computer closed or firewalled.

( I mention this one because some viruses can infect machines through open netbios ports)

If 1 through 5 arent true, then you need at least some form of virus protection on your box. Others have suggested AVG, and i will second that recommendation. Its stable, fast, and causes none of the bloat or slowdown that norton or mcafee induce.

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6. You do activities 1 - 5 on a computer that is unaffected by DOS/Windows viruses.

#6 helps a lot.

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When was the last time you downloaded something from a legitimate, popular site, that had a virus in it? Never happened to me.

Also, I've never got a virus from p2p software. Stick to releases that have been confirmed by others, and you should be okay.

Anyway, I never said that everyone should skip AV software. Just that I personally don't use it, and I don't have any problems without it. I don't meet condition 5, and maybe I should be worried about it, but I'm not. After all, the most important data that I have doesn't get affected by any current viruses. Couple that with the performance loss (show me benchmarks to prove otherwise), and I think I'm pretty safe.

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You see, family does fall into trusted sources when they're using the exact same protection I am. In addition, a good AV client uses how much of your system? Not a whole lot, compared to any recent system. It uses less than .25% of a Pentium MMX 233 MHz, so that's not noticable. It doesn't even show up as a percentage of time used on my dual PIII-S box, and as about .10% on my 366 PII laptop. Memory footprint? Buy more RAM, it's cheap nowadays. The answer is to get a good AV scanner. Oh, I also run AV on my UNIX boxes, but that's mostly because they scan for the Windows boxen. Shoot, at home I have an AV scan run on every packet and preload scans on all removable media and there are still some that get through.

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jec, if that's the case, you REALLY need to modify your behavior. No offense, but having AV software doesn't give you license to make poor decisions.

I've used PCs for as long as they've been around. I've done tech work, worked at campus computer labs, and encountered thousands of viruses in my professional life. I check my home PCs, all 12 - 16 of them, about once a month with housecall, and there's never any viruses. None. Ever.

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I get alot because quite a few of the people I work with use highly contageous virui on test machines and I need to load the data onto my machine, usually through tapes, but the burned CDs seem to be the most common way for me to get virui. I catch about one virus a month through my AV, and my home machine about one virus a year. There are also viruses that I've gotten form "trusted" sources such as large financial institutions that do run AV on their servers.

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i've gotten 3 would-be viruses from commercial software because the cd had one on it, and the last stint i had with a big company shipped a virus on a release too

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Why do you actually need the AV running all of the time? If you are going to open something questionable, manually scan the folder it's in first.

Better yet, as you already have McAfee, install only the command-line scanner and make a shortcut like

C:\PROGRA~1\VIRUSCAN\SCAN.EXE C:\DOWNLOAD /all /unzip /sub /clean

Download update DATs at http://www.mcafeeb2b.com/naicommon/downloa...d/dats/find.asp and you're set!

Works great in Win XP/2k/NT.

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That could work as well, but with me it's more of a "why not?" type of thing. I have more physical memory than I can find in a contiguous block in virtual memory, and for those time when it doesn't matter I'm paging to disk anyway. Besides, even with benchmarks there is no difference (including long FEA benchmarks), let alone with regular usage.

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