Is Antivirus Software Really Necessary?

A thread on OSNews popped up recently and I was very surprised to see someone argue that he didn’t need anti-virus protection on Windows. I suggested that it’s simply not worth the risk on Windows – viruses ARE out there, and it’s plain ol’ reckless to just assume you’ll never come in contact with one. However, lots of people seem to agree with him – that the right steps make AV software unnecessary. Read on for more.

The argument started as such: if you’re behind a router and don’t use IE, you’re safe.

Well, of course, this is bunk. There are MANY ways for malware to transverse a router (or even a firewall). So I responded: “Do you use email? Have you EVER allowed an ActiveX control to run? Do you have Java installed? Do you ever run applications you’ve downloaded from the internet?” Surely, this was proof that AV software is a necessary precaution.

But apparently not. It goes on and on, here’s a clip of the thread.

Now, I know from experience that I can run XP for several years with no infection whatsoever. But the facts are there: Windows is capable of making any file “executable” via associations. Recent iPods were shipped with viruses on them! USB thumb drives are more and more common and their whole benefit is portability. Email attachments are a necessity. How can anyone be so obtuse as to believe that Microsoft Windows – a security NIGHTMARE – is somehow better off without AV protection? Furthermore, how can supposedly educated people (it’s OSNews, they probably have computer experience) be so foolish?

Folks – you’re trying to argue that your smarts keep an unprotected system protected, and the best defense is not using the computer to do anything productive. It’s like saying “It’s easy not to get a cold if you know what you’re doing.” Sure it is – provided you don’t leave the house, which makes just about everything in life pointless.

Running Windows without AV protection is irresponsible. That doesn’t mean you’ll get a virus, because if you know what you’re doing, you probably won’t. But you might. So why take the chance?

Tagged , , , ,