Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
This is Leo Notenboom for askleo.info.
Every so often I get asked by someone if they really need anti-virus software.
Common wisdom is that you do, and true to that label it's a wise thing to do. In fact, if you have any doubt what the answer to the question is, then the answer for you is clearly, positively yes. Yes you do need to run anti-virus software, and of course keep it up to date.
But you can tell from the way I put that, I left us an out.
Here's the deal - anti-virus software monitors and scans for and (hopefully) eradicates any viruses that appear on your machine.
Well, what if they never appear? Or if they do appear, what if they never get executed?
Well, then it follows that your anti-virus software is kinda redundant. Perhaps even pointless.
So there you go: if you can be 100% certain that you're able to prevent viruses from even reaching your machine or you're 100% certain that a virus would never get executed, then you're done. You don't need anti-virus software.
Remember: you need to be 100% certain.
Now, it may sound like I'm being a little sarcastic or facetious, and I suppose I am a little. But on the other hand, I do know people who match that criteria. A good friend of mine runs without anti-virus software. He's not a geek, but he is very internet savvy. He can get away with it because he knows what he's doing.
Personally, I run anti-virus software and I have for years. But to be totally honest, I probably haven't had to. I've never been infected and the anti-virus software has never detected an actual threat. Like my friend, I too kind of know what I'm doing and how to avoid viruses in the first place.
But I have come close a time or two. I almost fell for a phishing scam some months ago. Had I done so, it could have resulted in a real infection.
So I'll keep running anti-virus software. In my opinion it's cheap insurance even for those who know what they're doing, or especially those who just think they do.
As for everyone else? It's a requirement. Run anti-virus software and make sure to keep it's database of threats up to date.
Oh, and get behind a firewall. Everyone needs that - know-it-alls and newbies alike. That's actually a key part of keeping the viruses at bay in the first place.
I'd love to hear what you think. Visit askleo.info and enter 11905 in the go to article number box to access the show notes, the transcript and to leave me a comment. While you're there, browse over 1,200 technical questions and answers on the site.
Till next time, I'm Leo Notenboom, for askleo.info.
Comments on this entry are closed.
If you have a question, start by using the search box up at the top of the page - there's a very good chance that your question has already been answered on Ask Leo!.
If you don't find your answer, head out to http://askleo.com/ask to ask your question.