Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
How do you safely install virus protection - when you don't yet have virus protection? A firewall is very good security. That plus one other practice should keep you safe.
I recently did a clean install of my OS, but I did not backup my antivirus software and had no way of getting one, so I decided to download one from the internet with only the firewall running: Windows firewall and no security patches for Windows had been updated either. Was this a bad idea? And what were the chances of getting infected by doing something like this?
In this excerpt from Answercast #10, I talk about downloading anti-malware tools (from a trusted source) when starting up a machine from a clean install.
It was not a bad idea.
I typically do something like that myself when I start up a new machine and start fresh.
What are the chances? Pretty low.
Here are the ways you protected yourself:
Make sure that the firewall is on as soon as possible. In fact, most current versions of Windows do that for you automatically. They start with the firewall turned on. That prevents malware out on the internet from accessing and infecting your machine.
The next most common way that malware infects your machine is to be invited in. By that I mean, you click on a bad website; you download a file that's infected; you open an infected attachment in email.
As long as you avoid all of that, don't start surfing the web, don't start downloading other files, don't start opening attachments that are in your email, you should be fine. Focus first on downloading your anti-malware from a trusted source and then installing those.
In my opinion, that is not just reasonable. That's a pretty safe way of bootstrapping the security of your system.
So offhand, I'd say the chances are pretty low to get an infection, and you done good!
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