Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
This is Leo Notenboom for askleo.info.
Every so often I hear of people who run Windows without anti-virus or anti-spyware software. A good friend of mine runs this way, and the other day I happened to hear that a couple of high profile tech industry folks do the same.
Now, while it might be OK for them, I'm concerned that it sets a misleading example, and might cause others to think that they can get away with doing the same.
Here's the deal.
If you're behind a firewall, and if you really know what you're doing - and I do mean really know what you're doing - it is possible to simply avoid almost all sources of spyware and viruses.
Unfortunately while the rules sound simple, in practice they're not. And one little mistake on your part can result in disaster.
In order to run without malware protection:
You would need to never open any email attachments unless you're absolutely positively certain you know where it came from. Absolutely positive - if there's any question at all, the attachment is discarded, no matter where it looks to come from. Some folks simply reject all attachments.
You would need to never download anything from the web, again unless you're absolutely positively certain you know it's from a trusted source. Absolutely positive - if there's any question at all, you simply bypass the download.
And so on. The key to running safely without malware protection is extreme skepticism - don't trust anything - and what I'd call a lower level of curiosity - don't visit or run anything just to see what it might be. It requires a lot of knowledge and experience to know by looking what is, and is not, potential malware, and to act accordingly.
Knowledge and experience most folks don't have.
The fact is we all need to be wary and skeptical and develop that sense for what is, and is not, legitimate, but that only comes with a lot of time and a lot of experience. For 99% of Windows computer users out there, there's simply no excuse: you must be behind a firewall, you must run anti-virus software, you must run anti-spyware software and you must keep the databases for all these tools up to date on a daily basis.
I supposedly know what I'm doing, and I run these tools anyway. The cost is low compared to the cost of infection.
I'd love to hear what you think. Visit askleo.info and enter 11030 in the go to article number box and leave me a comment. While you're there, search over 1,000 technical questions and answers on the site.
Till next time, I'm Leo Notenboom, for askleo.info.
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