Antivirus/Security Software, and its effectiveness

Do you use security software, and do you recommend it?

  • I use and recommend security software.

    Votes: 2 50.0%
  • I do not use, but do recommend using security software.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • I currently use, but do not necessarily recommend, security software.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • I do not use, nor do I recommend the use of security software.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Other/combination of any of the above answers- please share and explain

    Votes: 2 50.0%

  • Total voters
    4
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Skylyne

Estimable
Sep 7, 2014
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I'm sure some of you have seen my "ranting" in another thread, but I figured I'd open a new thread to see if there are others who have run into the same problems I have had with antivirus software; or security software in general. I also wanted to see what security tips other members have to share, outside of running a security suite. I will add my own tips once this takes off; if at all.

Personally, I have had a hard time making security software both effective and non-intrusive with my daily activities. I've found more annoyances to the way security software handles things than I've found good, and this bothers me to no end. Today, I finally have called it quits on security software (ie: antivirus/security suites), and I'm quite happy about this. This will allow me to do more things on my computer with less hassle, and with less tied up resources; and, while resources haven't always been an issue, the constant sandboxing/etc. that security software does to various programs I use creates a problem. For example, streaming HD video from YouTube takes up more resources when running my last security software. I understand why certain tasks are handled in a certain way, but you don't really need a security software to protect yourself from all the risks they actively scan for.

As I've said before, it seems that, from my experience and consultation with "average" users, those who genuinely benefit from security software are those who don't take proper security measures on their own. This could mean that these people are either unaware of how to do things in a more secure fashion, they tend to prefer riskier methods of performing certain tasks (usually out of convenience), their work/employer does not support more secure options for at-home work, forcing them to choose from having two security protocols to follow (one for work, and one for off-duty activity) or sticking with the less secure safety measures all around; or they may just want a software to take care of security for them, because they don't care enough to bother learning practical security measures. I can honestly say that, as a personal opinion, the latter of the three is preposterous, because a security software cannot give a user proper security when they don't exercise effective security measures on their own. Also, I have personally seen plenty of people quickly move to unsafe/insecure methods for daily activities, because of their work/employer's requirements for at-home work. While I can understand the frustration that arises from using two security protocols (one for work, one for off-duty), I can honestly say that adopting your work security protocols for off-duty activities is typically going to be more likely to cause problems in the long term. It may not, but it definitely opens up more vulnerabilities.

But, enough of what I think, and my experiences... I want to see what other members have to say about this; if anything at all. From what I gather, it seems that most users on this forum either advocate security software as an "extra security measure" (which is almost pointless for the more advanced users), or they do not seem to be doing too much that would upset common security software; the latter of which may entail file sharing and/or pirating, or their software installs do not set off red flags in their security software. Considering I've had high quality security software prevent the installations of multiple genuine programs, I'd think the "average" user would have encountered at least one install that went wrong because of their security suite/software.

What is your experience of not using security software, and why did you stop using it?
Have you switched back to security software, and why?
Do you really think it gives you a level of protection?
Have you had any real infections/problems that did not arise from a combination of end-user laziness/lack of education and no security software?

I want to see all of this debated, so we can get myths debunked, misconceptions corrected, and see what data we can pull up to support all of our claims. This should be interesting!
 

Paul NZ

Admirable
Sep 15, 2014
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I dont use anything but the windows AV and firewall. Cant be bothered installing something else.

They're either bloated, will crash the system / block something sooner or later. Or slow the system down. And no I havent been infected by anything

I've never used security software / separate firewalls. Because of the above

And if people still open / run emails attachments) if they have no idea who sent them. Well this has plastered on the internet for the past 10-15. So it's your own fault i

And no I think most of the programs you install are crap / work for so long. You get infected, it'll still die / or get disabled. So whats the point? I bet if you paid for it and something disabled it, you would be peed off wouldnt you?? You paid money for it, and now its dead / disabled. Now what?

If you dont know what to do, how are you going to fix it?

But, I bet people who are into torrents who do install security software, would have more chance of getting infected, than someone who didnt install anything. Or someone who doesnt use torrents.

Nearly every single person's PC I've fixed (that has had malware on it), has had some kind of torrent program on their system


 

Skylyne

Estimable
Sep 7, 2014
405
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I'm kind of with you on that, Paul. I must say that the only part I have to disagree on is the vulnerability increase with torrents; then again, that's coming from a 10 year torrenter who's not had a single infection due to torrents...

I think torrenting is just as risky as browsing the web, or opening emails via Outlook, honestly. If you exercise the "common sense" security practices (ie: only use torrents from trusted torrent uploaders, and so on), the likelihood of you getting a computer infection is quite slim. I've checked out plenty of torrenting computers, and very few of them had infections that were genuinely related to their torrenting activities. I think, quite honestly, that there might be a correlation; but I don't think there's a direct connection, per se. I think that, given what I've seen from their internet habits/etc., these people are just not very security concious overall. The heavy torrenting computers that I have seen over the years had users who just sucked with security to begin with; they used Yahoo for most things (well known for their horrible security), they downloaded files from just about any website they could obtain them from, they would click on various advertisements (another overlooked means of obtaining viruses), they didn't have substantial pop-up blockers installed, and they would even install "codec packs" when a website claimed they needed it (usually a ploy by various streaming websites to install adware/malware for profit. Of course this is just my experience; so I could be biased from that experience. However, from what I've seen, and from my personal experience yielding no genuine security threats from a decade of heavy torrenting, I've not seen any direct connection between responsible torrenting/file sharing and computer viruses/infections. I might also be overlooking something...... it's definitely possible! Hell, I have found security flaws in things that professional IT guys have made, just because I started tinkering. All computer guys make mistakes at some point.

With the concept of using a/v software, I want your opinion on something that is rarely asked in the mainstream. I find that these security suites/programs are only effective against known threats; and that makes me wonder about the unknown threats (or the ones people are paid to keep quiet about). Thanks to Snowden's leaks, we all know that there are vulnerabilities being exploited by people who are paid to keep quiet, and not to fix them; however, do you think people should be worried about these kinds of vulnerabilities? Personally, I think that, if you pay for a security suite, it's their job to find the unknown vulnerabilities that these paid black/grey hats exploit. I'm not entirely sure if these "security" companies are really doing that kind of job; and, if they aren't, do you think they should? Just personal opinion, of course.

EDIT: I forgot to mention that these particular exploits in theory can be exploited by other black hats for malicious intent; not just for surveillance, like the NSA/etc. use it for. To me, that's quite concerning. The possibilities of what these exploits and vulnerabilities are capable of, in the wrong hands, is quite sobering. From identity fraud, to theft from bank accounts, to anything you do on the internet being compromised; it just is very discomforting. Hey, I have a right to be paranoid in this sense lol. After all, I have been the victim of a lot of fraudulent purchases with my credit/debit cards. In fact, I once had a ticket to the World Cup purchased with my debit card; the thief gave the website my phone number for confirmation calls (no clue why, but that's how I found out this happened... pure luck), all billing info, and had also purchased a number of other items that were to be shipped to a location in Africa. There's a reason I think about this stuff a lot!
 
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