Monday, January 12, 2009

Antivirus and Windows 7

Microsoft recently released a beta of Windows 7. Some people (probably mostly McAfee sales) is upset that the new OS has changed enough that their antivirus virus doesn't work any more.

I'm not a big fan of antivirus companies. I rank them up there with life insurance companies. They are playing on people's fears and ignorances to sell product.

They try to force us to run Symantec where I work. I don't follow the rules. When you are writing time sensitive software, any extraneous crap messes with the timing. The antivirus softwares are the worst. Sometimes they degrade performance so badly that they are worse than the viruses they are protecting you from.

Here's how to easily protect yourself from viruses without purchasing and installing one of these viruses to protect you:
  1. Don't download anything from an unknown source (there are plenty of known sources who scan all the files they put up for download -- I use Snapfiles).
  2. If you absolutely positively have to download something, scan it before you install it. If you are running Windows Vista, it won't let the installation do anything fishy without asking you for permission (unless you know what you are doing and have disabled the security features). There are scanning programs that are "run as need". These don't even necessarily have to be installed. Just run them and tell them which file to scan.
  3. Put passwords on your computers for all users and don't share anything with full anonymous access. If you do share anything don't share anything that can be executed.
  4. If you are running Windows XP, upgrade to Vista. I've found that Vista is much better at enforcing a secure virus free environment. Of course, I've been using XP daily since its release and I've never had a virus. And by daily, I mean greater than 8 hours per day connected to the Internet, downloading stuff, getting emails, playing games, etc.

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