Should you stop using your antivirus software?

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CULater
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Should you stop using your antivirus software?

Post by CULater »

Former Firefox developer Robert O'Callahan, now a free agent and safe from the PR tentacles of his corporate overlord, says that antivirus software is terrible, AV vendors are terrible, and that you should uninstall your antivirus software immediately.
https://arstechnica.com/information-tec ... us-is-bad/
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SmileyFace
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Re: Should you stop using your antivirus software?

Post by SmileyFace »

So the way I read this is that he is saying we should all stop using Antivirus software to make it easier for software developers to release their software?!?!
What a funny argument. Sure - I'll uninstall it - the developers can release their software faster (and potentially with new exploits!).

I'm not buying....
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Re: Should you stop using your antivirus software?

Post by Conch55 »

I still use Microsoft Defender (free) since it seems to impact system performance less then others I have tried. Use of a browser ad blocker (e.g., uBlock origin) will help more in my opinion along with either Chrome or Firefox for Windows/Linux systems. Keep all applications up to date, run a malware detector (e.g., Malwarebytes) periodically and you should be reasonably safe. And don't open those suspicious emails with external links embedded in them.
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Re: Should you stop using your antivirus software?

Post by White Coat Investor »

I stopped using it years ago.
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Re: Should you stop using your antivirus software?

Post by oldcomputerguy »

I don't use antivirus software.
:wink:
pangea33
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Re: Should you stop using your antivirus software?

Post by pangea33 »

smartinwate wrote:I don't use antivirus software.
:wink:
Your avatar says it all. There is definitely AV software on my PC!
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Re: Should you stop using your antivirus software?

Post by lazydavid »

DaftInvestor wrote:So the way I read this is that he is saying we should all stop using Antivirus software to make it easier for software developers to release their software?!?!
What a funny argument. Sure - I'll uninstall it - the developers can release their software faster (and potentially with new exploits!).

I'm not buying....
No, what he's saying is that AV software is getting in the way of making software such as browsers MORE SECURE. They do this by using techniques that PREVENT the use of security features such as Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR) or application sandboxing.

OS developers hate it too, since AV usually installs itself as a kernel-level rootkit, meaning any compromise of the AV software means your machine is totally pwned. And since the AV engines themselves don't have a particularly good track record for security (most are riddled with vulnerabilities), this means increasing your attack surface. One particularly bad one last summer was a long-standing vulnerability in Symantec's Decomposer engine (which scans files for viruses) that had been in place for four years. Because this engine runs as System and scans all I/O (network, disk, etc), it was vulnerable to exploit by the mere existence or transfer of a malicious file. The user didn't have to open, view, or in any way interact with the file, and they'd still get pwned.

http://www.pcworld.com/article/3089463/ ... cking.html

I won't go so far as to say everyone should swear off of Anti-X software entirely. But at best, it's a necessary evil, and some are more evil than others. Windows Defender is usually your best bet, because it's well-written and not a resource hog. I have to run a 3rd party AV for compliance reasons, so we're on Symantec Endpoint Protection (SEP). I then also run Crowdstrike to protect my users from SEP :oops: Crowdstrike is Malware and Rootkit prevention, but does not have an AV engine so it doesn't meet my compliance requirements on its own.
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Re: Should you stop using your antivirus software?

Post by Flymore »

smartinwate wrote:I don't use antivirus software.
:wink:
Ditto! never have. 8-)
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JupiterJones
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Re: Should you stop using your antivirus software?

Post by JupiterJones »

Flymore wrote:
smartinwate wrote:I don't use antivirus software.
:wink:
Ditto! never have. 8-)
Same here. I just run Mac OS X and leave it at that.

Not a lot of reason to bother installing and fussing with an alarm system when you live in a community with a very-nearly-zero crime rate.
Stay on target...
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Re: Should you stop using your antivirus software?

Post by SmileyFace »

lazydavid wrote:
DaftInvestor wrote:So the way I read this is that he is saying we should all stop using Antivirus software to make it easier for software developers to release their software?!?!
What a funny argument. Sure - I'll uninstall it - the developers can release their software faster (and potentially with new exploits!).

I'm not buying....
No, what he's saying is that AV software is getting in the way of making software such as browsers MORE SECURE. They do this by using techniques that PREVENT the use of security features such as Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR) or application sandboxing.

OS developers hate it too, since AV usually installs itself as a kernel-level rootkit, meaning any compromise of the AV software means your machine is totally pwned. And since the AV engines themselves don't have a particularly good track record for security (most are riddled with vulnerabilities), this means increasing your attack surface. One particularly bad one last summer was a long-standing vulnerability in Symantec's Decomposer engine (which scans files for viruses) that had been in place for four years. Because this engine runs as System and scans all I/O (network, disk, etc), it was vulnerable to exploit by the mere existence or transfer of a malicious file. The user didn't have to open, view, or in any way interact with the file, and they'd still get pwned.

http://www.pcworld.com/article/3089463/ ... cking.html

I won't go so far as to say everyone should swear off of Anti-X software entirely. But at best, it's a necessary evil, and some are more evil than others. Windows Defender is usually your best bet, because it's well-written and not a resource hog. I have to run a 3rd party AV for compliance reasons, so we're on Symantec Endpoint Protection (SEP). I then also run Crowdstrike to protect my users from SEP :oops: Crowdstrike is Malware and Rootkit prevention, but does not have an AV engine so it doesn't meet my compliance requirements on its own.
Still not buying. The days before McAfee and Symantec (Norton) came along Windows was rampant with exploits. Some of these exploits simply weren't quickly/easily fixed by Windows and yet were quickly blocked by the AV Vendors (not saying all zero-day exploits where). If these 3rd products are removed and no longer on the market we will return to the days of lackadaisical Windows developers. Now you can argue that times have changed I suppose (and that Windows is following the model of our Penguin-icon friend's OS and is more security conscious these days along with the Web-Browser developers) but my argument is that any company that is shipping product for profit will err on the side of time-to-market over security when push comes to shove. I've also personally seen the value in these products in keeping my kids Windows laptops clean over the years (yes - I have found genuine issues blocked - far beyond the typical removal of tracking cookies) not to mention at work. I've read that Windows Defender is effective in some reviews - but asking Windows to watch Windows is like asking the inmates to guard themselves in prison. Nothing's perfect (including the open-source world BTW - there have been many exploits discovered and patched in OpenSSL, Apache, etc. throughout the years) but I continue to believe in multi-stage security with the use of these 3rd party AV solutions - especially on the laptops of kids and employees whose who will act quickly and rashly at times with the excitement of getting a seemingly friendly email or web-link.
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Re: Should you stop using your antivirus software?

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

Revert to factory settings. Click. Make a sammich.
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Re: Should you stop using your antivirus software?

Post by SmileyFace »

Jack FFR1846 wrote:Revert to factory settings. Click. Make a sammich.
Works well for a mild infection as well as in the case that your kid didn't spend all weekend on term paper without backing it up (although I guess that's one way they could learn their lesson....)
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Re: Should you stop using your antivirus software?

Post by midareff »

I do a couple of hours a day of reading on the net and occasionally get a Malwarbytes popup that they blocking something or other. I also use their anti-exploit software and windows defender. For a few bucks a year I'll keep them all up to date.
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Re: Should you stop using your antivirus software?

Post by SmileyFace »

midareff wrote:I do a couple of hours a day of reading on the net and occasionally get a Malwarbytes popup that they blocking something or other. I also use their anti-exploit software and windows defender. For a few bucks a year I'll keep them all up to date.

Note that many of us get McAfee, Symantec/Norton, or etc. antivirus for free. Check with your internet provider - most of the biggest ISPs (Comcast, Verizon, etc.) will give you free downloads/subscriptions as part of your package (since keeping you clean keeps them clean).
I haven't paid for antivirus at home for many years.
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Re: Should you stop using your antivirus software?

Post by Toons »

Windows Defender on 3 Windows 10 computers here.
I don't think about it. :happy
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Re: Should you stop using your antivirus software?

Post by CULater »

What is Windows? Is that something you can look through to see your Mac?
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Re: Should you stop using your antivirus software?

Post by SmileyFace »

CULater wrote:What is Windows? Is that something you can look through to see your Mac?
Its the operating system that allows you to run all the latest and greatest versions of industry-standard software and do so while being able to buy hardware from a multitude of hardware vendors at various price points/qualities (versus from being forced into a single over-priced proprietary vendor). :happy
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Re: Should you stop using your antivirus software?

Post by Epsilon Delta »

midareff wrote:I do a couple of hours a day of reading on the net and occasionally get a Malwarbytes popup that they blocking something or other. I also use their anti-exploit software and windows defender. For a few bucks a year I'll keep them all up to date.
A warning does not mean the anti-virus has done something useful. The few times I have taken the time to track down a warning it turned out it wasn't protecting me from anything I cared about. A cynic might argue that at least some anti-virus cries wolf as a marketing ploy. That doesn't mean the anti-virus isn't doing it's job. It had silently blocked some things that were unambiguously bad, but the warnings are pretty useless.
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Re: Should you stop using your antivirus software?

Post by Epsilon Delta »

CULater wrote:What is Windows? Is that something you can look through to see your Mac?
Its the operating system that allows you to run all the latest and greatest versions on industry-standard malware and do so while being able to buy hardware from a multitude of hardware vendors at various price points/qualities (versus from being forced into a single over-priced proprietary vendor that only runs over priced proprietary malware). :twisted:
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Re: Should you stop using your antivirus software?

Post by cowboy »

DaftInvestor wrote:
CULater wrote:What is Windows? Is that something you can look through to see your Mac?
Its the operating system that allows you to run all the latest and greatest versions on industry-standard software and do so while being able to buy hardware from a multitude of hardware vendors at various price points/qualities (versus from being forced into a single over-priced proprietary vendor). :happy
+1 :sharebeer

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Re: Should you stop using your antivirus software?

Post by Flymore »

CULater wrote:What is Windows? Is that something you can look through to see your Mac?
What is Mac? Oh, that's some high price OS that's built on free Linux. :shock:
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Re: Should you stop using your antivirus software?

Post by Afty »

The problem is not the idea of AV software, but the fact that AV vendors often don't know what they're doing and do hacky things that actually introduce vulnerabilities. The article mentions a number of serious vulnerabilities in Symantec/Norton antivirus products. There was a critical vulnerability in Trend Micro last year that allowed anyone, anywhere to read all of the passwords stored in their password manager and execute arbitrary code.

Security experts place much less importance on anti-virus than non experts do:
Image
(source: https://security.googleblog.com/2015/07 ... urity.html)

Windows Defender is all right. MS developers are "generally competent," as the article states.
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Re: Should you stop using your antivirus software?

Post by SmileyFace »

removed
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Re: Should you stop using your antivirus software?

Post by Blueskies123 »

CULater wrote:
Former Firefox developer Robert O'Callahan, now a free agent and safe from the PR tentacles of his corporate overlord, says that antivirus software is terrible, AV vendors are terrible, and that you should uninstall your antivirus software immediately.
https://arstechnica.com/information-tec ... us-is-bad/
This is just stupid. Sounds like a disgruntled ex-employee. I have had Norton prevent me from accessing malicious sites. I get Norton for free from Comcast but I do pay for MalwareAntibytes.
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Re: Should you stop using your antivirus software?

Post by midareff »

DaftInvestor wrote:
midareff wrote:I do a couple of hours a day of reading on the net and occasionally get a Malwarbytes popup that they blocking something or other. I also use their anti-exploit software and windows defender. For a few bucks a year I'll keep them all up to date.

Note that many of us get McAfee, Symantec/Norton, or etc. antivirus for free. Check with your internet provider - most of the biggest ISPs (Comcast, Verizon, etc.) will give you free downloads/subscriptions as part of your package (since keeping you clean keeps them clean).
I haven't paid for antivirus at home for many years.
Nor did I for many years using AVG Free, Malwarebytes Free, etc. I decided I wanted real time protection in addition to scan on demand protection which is an after the fact action.
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Re: Should you stop using your antivirus software?

Post by midareff »

Epsilon Delta wrote:
midareff wrote:I do a couple of hours a day of reading on the net and occasionally get a Malwarbytes popup that they blocking something or other. I also use their anti-exploit software and windows defender. For a few bucks a year I'll keep them all up to date.
A warning does not mean the anti-virus has done something useful. The few times I have taken the time to track down a warning it turned out it wasn't protecting me from anything I cared about. A cynic might argue that at least some anti-virus cries wolf as a marketing ploy. That doesn't mean the anti-virus isn't doing it's job. It had silently blocked some things that were unambiguously bad, but the warnings are pretty useless.

Basically agree but a sign that says such and such was BLOCKED is a bit different than a warning. :-) .. it's all in the mays, might, does, shall and so forth.
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Re: Should you stop using your antivirus software?

Post by lazydavid »

Flymore wrote:
CULater wrote:What is Windows? Is that something you can look through to see your Mac?
What is Mac? Oh, that's some high price OS that's built on free Linux. :shock:
Technically it's based on FreeBSD :P
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Re: Should you stop using your antivirus software?

Post by Conch55 »

Flymore wrote:
CULater wrote:
What is Windows? Is that something you can look through to see your Mac?


What is Mac? Oh, that's some high price OS that's built on free Linux. :shock:


Technically it's based on FreeBSD :P
More precisely it's based on NextSTEP, the Mach kernel and BSD. A hybrid UNIX per the vision of Steve Jobs.
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Re: Should you stop using your antivirus software?

Post by serbeer »

Depends on what you are doing on your PC:
If you are browsing mainstream sites, you don't need AV.
If you are downloading torrent/warez/xxx sites, I'd say get not only AV but also Malwarebytes Premium, Malwarebytes Enti-Exploit, and Zemana Antilogger to boot--and you will not be safe anyway btw but only much safer than without them
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Re: Should you stop using your antivirus software?

Post by MossySF »

Antivirus is pretty much useless against today's phishing attacks. Our work computers had everything enabled -- latest patches, antivirus, firewalls, etc. -- and a user clicking an email attachment activated ransomware that encrypted half our drives. Antivirus can only protect against known signatures -- so only after several days have passed of people getting hit left & right do they finally respond with an update that can protect against it.
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Re: Should you stop using your antivirus software?

Post by SimonJester »

Does everyone here remember the early days of the PC, remember how easy viruses spread via floppy disk. Not soo much now, why because everyone has antivirus software installed and the attack vector changed. But does that mean we should all get rid of anti virus software? No nor should we stop getting vaccinated because we are not seeing mass outbreaks of measles.
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Re: Should you stop using your antivirus software?

Post by daveatca »

SimonJester wrote: But does that mean we should all get rid of anti virus software? ...nor should we stop getting vaccinated...
But, antivirus software contains mercury and will poison you and your children.
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Re: Should you stop using your antivirus software?

Post by quantAndHold »

I did computer security for a number of years. Modern operating systems and browsers do a better job of defense than antivirus software does. In today's world, it's more important to keep your operating system and applications up to date than it is to have antivirus. I use Windows defender with Windows 10 because it's there. On my Mac and Linux machines, I don't bother.
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Re: Should you stop using your antivirus software?

Post by Raryn »

The one Norton product I use regularly (even on my Macs) is the Norton ConnectSafe DNS servers. I find that it's actually helped me avoid a scam site a few times, and it's an easy product to use that I've never seen a downside to.

OTOH, my father still uses the full antivirus suite, despite me telling him it primarily slows his computer down. *shrug*
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Re: Should you stop using your antivirus software?

Post by lazydavid »

serbeer wrote:Depends on what you are doing on your PC:
If you are browsing mainstream sites, you don't need AV.
Not true, and hasn't been for the better part of a decade. Most of the major campaigns the past few years have involved either the compromise of legitimate sites, or submitting malicious ads to the major ad networks, to be delivered when people visit trusted sites. You could have been exploited by visiting one of these sites, among hundreds of others:

Facebook
Yahoo
Huffington Post
Drudge Report
The New York Times
BBC
MSN
Realtor.com
Xfinity.com
NFL.com
Reuters
YouTube
Spotify
Forbes

This is not exactly the "seedy side of the internet".
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Re: Should you stop using your antivirus software?

Post by grabiner »

There is also the issue of compliance with policy. Vanguard's online fraud policy says, "Make certain that any computer you use to access Vanguard.com has up-to-date security and anti-spyware, antivirus, and firewall software." Therefore, in order to benefit from this policy, you need to be running an anti-virus program.
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Re: Should you stop using your antivirus software?

Post by TinkerPDX »

Epsilon Delta wrote:
CULater wrote:What is Windows? Is that something you can look through to see your Mac?
Its the operating system that allows you to run all the latest and greatest versions on industry-standard malware and do so while being able to buy hardware from a multitude of hardware vendors at various price points/qualities (versus from being forced into a single over-priced proprietary vendor that only runs over priced proprietary malware). :twisted:
:o
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