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Is Antivirus Dead?

by Shanmuga| Tweet This | Google +1 | Facebook | Stumble It | Reddit | Digg | del.icio.us

"…antivirus programs have been getting less effective as new viruses are more frequent and existing viruses mutate faster. Yes, antivirus companies are forever playing catch-up, trying to create signatures for new viruses. Yes, signature-based antivirus software won’t protect you when a virus is new, before the signature is added to the detection program. Antivirus is by no means a panacea.

On the other hand, an antivirus program with up-to-date signatures will protect you from a lot of threats. It’ll protect you against viruses, against spyware, against Trojans — against all sorts of malware. It’ll run in the background, automatically, and you won’t notice any performance degradation at all. And — here’s the best part — it can be free. AVG won’t cost you a penny. To me, this is an easy trade-off, certainly for the average computer user who clicks on attachments he probably shouldn’t click on, downloads things he probably shouldn’t download, and doesn’t understand the finer workings of Windows Personal Firewall." – Content courtesy of Schneier on Security: Is Antivirus Dead?

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Andy Whittal November 14, 2009 at 10:59 PM

I somewhat agree with you considering the number of new viruses coming out daily. It is almost impossible to keep virus definitions updated to minutes and seconds. There is always a chance of picking up a new virus that your security cannot detect. But don’t you think that an average computer user should be educated not to download whatever comes across. I see so many people downloading those fish tank screen savers and downloading all sorts of funny executable files off the internet, for them internet is a safe place where they can download anything without paying its price.
Until such novice computer users stop clicking “punch the monkey” and win free goodies, the virus creators won’t stop doing all the evil. If an average computer user becomes a little more smart, bad guys won’t find much success in all their evil doing. Just my opinion.
Andy.

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Sohaib Alam December 12, 2009 at 11:53 AM

I’ve been working on security since 5-6 months.. it is necessary to keep the anti virus program up to date because of creation of harmful and dangerous viruses , trojan , spywares and etc.. every anti virus programs contains a vault which which shifts undeletable and unhealable viruses to it , it also helps in detecting the most advanced keyloggers {if updated} .. the only disadvantage is that it only detects those viruses and spywares which knowledge and infomation are updated to it and otherwise it will not.

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Scott December 28, 2009 at 4:25 AM

I completely agree – I think the web is getting to a major turning point where antivirus and firewall software is going to have to get much stronger indeed. Computers are getting so fast, and malware (viruses and trojans) are becoming far cleverer, or at least more common. One day the average pc user is just not going to be able to browse safely at all. Even apple machines are becoming more likely to catch viruses and trojans than ever before, and its only set to increase. Tools such as the “No-Script” plugin for the PC firefox browser help make it one of the safest ways to browse, but even that is still not perfect in its operation. A beginner only has to accidentially use the wrong wording in google (eg ‘free movie downloads’ when they really mean ‘free movie trailers’ or something similar) to end up eventually visiting an untrustworthy javascript loaded website that may unknowingly install trojans onto your pc that make it unoperable on many levels.

Even if you have an antivirus program running on your machine… its guaranteed that a high proportion of pc users that either browse freely into the odd hrs or click on everything they come across are unknowingly infected with at least a couple of trojans, possibly far more. Despite how good one program may be at catching trojans, one may still catch something lurking around in your system files or registry that the other does not. For optimum protection, I recommend Avira free antivirus, MalwareBytes AntiMalware, Comodo free firewall, and Spybot. You should NEVER have to pay for good protection, there are plenty of good freeware options around such as those I have mentioned. Scan your system at least once a week with Avira and Spybot, especially if you are a heavy user. MalwareBytes can catch many unwanted items that Avira (that has the highest detection rates) may not. Its unfortunate that it may have the highest number of false positives, but then all antivirus programs are merely checking their database of known viruses and trojans, and never actually run suspicious files – so, as always, its better to be safe than sorry.

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