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Why some anti-virus programs can be worse than the actual viruses


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#1
ice11

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I'm probably in the minority on this one, but I believe many anti-virus programs can be worse than the actual viruses they protect you against.

From what I've seen, these security programs like Norton and Mcaffee, pretty much take control of your entire computer and have influence over every program a user runs. This can be a MAJOR pain in the neck when it comes time to use some of your common everyday programs. Just the other day my friend couldn't use his AIM instant messenger because Norton was blocking access. Another time I was fixing a relative's computer and saw the pure devastation of Mcaffee virus scan. Its combined running processes took up an excessive amount of resources and many programs did not function because of the security settings. Not only that but software like Norton is easily damaged or disrupted if you close or disable any of its processes. Also it can be incredibly difficult to uninstall (as I've seen many times) and often traces are left behind which can cause problems.

To the average every day user many of these security programs can become a nightmare if they do not know the proper way of re enabling a program that was labeled "dangerous". They immediately assume that a virus has caused the problem when in fact it is the program they are using to guard against them! Sad how so many people are fanatical about using them.

Firefox + common sense + weekly scan
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#2
Johanna

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Prevention is always easier than the cure. I wouldn't get too complacent using FF as a substitute browser, though. It's just as insecure as IE these days, thanks to its popularity.

Yes, security programs will "take over" the computer, but it's easier to configure the security than to clean up the mess caused by disabling the security. The only time a disable should be used is for diagnostics, and that should be rare.

I wouldn't put much faith in using FF as a substitute for a security program/policy. You might get lucky, or it might come back to bite you.
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#3
sari

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You've also only mentioned the big security programs. Norton and McAfee are well-known system hogs, especially if the user goes with the full security center or internet security versions. They try to be everything in one program, which is why they consume system resources at the rate they do. There are many other options for anti-virus programs that are vastly superior, in my opinion. I myself use Nod32; looking at task manager, it's currently using less memory than MSN Messenger. It scans quickly, uninstalls easily, and has been far more effective in blocking viruses than either of the two programs you've mentioned, both of which I have experience with. There are other programs out there which are also effective: Kaspersky, AVG, and Avast, among others. There are other good free utilities, such as Spywareblaster and Spywareguard, that also help protect your PC from malware, and again have a much smaller footprint than Norton and McAfee.

I think educating yourself on the different options available is far better than advocating no protection at all. As Johanna said, Firefox is not a foolproof method of protection. Common sense is helpful, but virus and malware writers keep getting more and devious, so you can't guarantee that you're protected unless you're not connected to the internet and never plug a device such as a usb drive into your PC, or allow any other connection to any device that could transmit something. If you advocate to your friends and relatives that they shouldn't bother with an AV, you're doing them a disfavor and probably creating more work for sites like ours. I see this was your first post on our site; your time would be better spent reading some of the information we've posted to help people protect their PCs and educate yourself on better solutions.
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#4
ice11

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Yea I know there a good AV programs out there that's why I didn't say "all". Just the major ones like norton and mcaffee are so terrible that I'd rather not use them and take my chances. They remind me of AOL, worst possible service, yet one of the most popular companies.

Oh and this is not my first time posting, I was a former upper classman in geeku.

Edited by ice11, 15 August 2007 - 02:53 PM.

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#5
sari

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I guess my point would be that since there are other options, why even take chances? Install something else and stay away from bloatware. If you were a former upperclassman, then all of your previous posts must have been deleted, as your post count is now at 2.
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#6
Troy

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I think one of the biggest things you can do is get yourself a good firewall and take the time to configure it properly. Also you can look at getting a hardware firewall. Of course you need the anti-virus with good heuristics and real-time scanning as well, I agree with Sari's suggestions - Nod32, Kaspersky etc...
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#7
ScHwErV

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Bye, bye again st0rm :whistling:
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#8
Troy

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Oh wow, that's just crazy, some people really don't learn do they? I did see the point he was getting at, though. On some systems, (like under-specced ones), something like Norton just kills the performance. The trick is to find a neat little combo that doesn't eat your resources. But anyway, :whistling: Thanks ScHwErV for keeping us safe and doing the hard work you do! :blink:
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