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View Full Version : Virus-free and no AV!


purple_minion
02-16-2009, 09:19 PM
HA! It rhymes! Anyway, sometimes while surfing either some linux blog/articles or anything to do with virus's I come across people who claim to never run AV software on XP or Vista and to have never had a virus in YEARS. They claim to just be careful and to lock it down. Now I can imagine that these may be trolls since some of them are on a linux area and may just be trying to get people going. What do they do for drive-by downloads and infected graphics files served up in ads?

Does anyone here not run AV and never get a virus (on windows)? Granted I don't get too many warnings from my AV unless it's something I've done something (but when you are TRYING to get infected there just isn't anything out there!) And what are the odds that a normal windows user could run without AV and never get infected?!? Thoughts?

nonchalant
02-16-2009, 09:32 PM
What do they do for drive-by downloads and infected graphics files served up in ads?

Dunno, I guess they pull out their .45 and shoot their monitor..

Theres been a very recent thread on this topic btw..

MHCG
02-16-2009, 09:35 PM
I run an AV on my main home PC, but I don't know why. The only alert I've gotten in 2 years was a false positive.

dhrandy
02-16-2009, 09:45 PM
I don't run AV on my server or HTPC. But I also don't use the web on them. I scan all files before putting them on the server.

I would always run on my main desktop and laptop just to be on the safe side.

Flyingbull
02-16-2009, 09:53 PM
HA! It rhymes! Anyway, sometimes while surfing either some linux blog/articles or anything to do with virus's I come across people who claim to never run AV software on XP or Vista and to have never had a virus in YEARS. They claim to just be careful and to lock it down. Now I can imagine that these may be trolls since some of them are on a linux area and may just be trying to get people going. What do they do for drive-by downloads and infected graphics files served up in ads?

Does anyone here not run AV and never get a virus (on windows)? Granted I don't get too many warnings from my AV unless it's something I've done something (but when you are TRYING to get infected there just isn't anything out there!) And what are the odds that a normal windows user could run without AV and never get infected?!? Thoughts?

On my Win2kpro system, I ran it for 3.5 years without ever getting a virus or malware. I used it for my main computer the whole time. now my old laptop, which had all the virus protection in the world, I would take with me to conferences, and it would get viruses from the hotel network (Happened two times, pissed me off). My new lap top which only has clamwin, was infected once, and that was when I was using a program I got off of bit torrent, which was my own fault really --

14049752
02-16-2009, 10:07 PM
I don't use antivirus on my HTPC, and just recently installed it on my laptop. Generally, I know what I'm downloading as I only really download from trusted sources and rarely stray from the norm. I also use the MVPS host file to prevent most ads, pop-ups, etc. I keep all updates installed, and never use P2P networks. I also only get my e-mail through Google hosted mail.

I'm not trying to be a troll, nor do I really care or have anything to prove by not running AV, but you can have a perfectly safe computer without AV. If you want to do something questionable, you can always do it in a virtual machine, too.
As for how I know I've never had a virus; I do every once in a while try out antivirus programs at home. I usually try them out for a few weeks, and I always do a full scan.

I would never think of running my workstation at work, or anything in my office, without antivirus. There's too much risk of getting something from customers' computers.

dhrandy
02-16-2009, 10:39 PM
The other problem is that you can have a virus and not even know it. It could be working in the background or in a file waiting for you to install it. You may never even know it's there until you run a scan if you have just recently installed an AV program.

Flyingbull
02-17-2009, 12:34 AM
The other problem is that you can have a virus and not even know it. It could be working in the background or in a file waiting for you to install it. You may never even know it's there until you run a scan if you have just recently installed an AV program.

I don't know about that. I'm pretty familar with my computer, and would notice it I think

dhrandy
02-17-2009, 01:02 AM
I don't know about that. I'm pretty familar with my computer, and would notice it I think
I'm more talking about less computer skilled people.

gunslinger
02-17-2009, 03:39 AM
And what are the odds that a normal windows user could run without AV and never get infected?!?

The odds are 100% they will be infected with something.


The only system I don't run AV on all the time is my Mac. It has been up and going for 9 months now and not a hint of malware of any kind. Just to be sure I installed an AV program on it and it came up clean.

14049752
02-17-2009, 03:52 AM
The odds are 100% they will be infected with something.

Yeah, I totally agree with you on this. A person with no interest in how their computer works doesn't know the difference between "DownloadedSong.mp3.exe" and "DownloadedSong.mp3", wouldn't even know what the hosts file is let alone why to edit it, and generally like to click flashy banners. I wouldn't dream of telling a customer that I don't run AV on my windows computers...that's a little white lie that "Yes, I always use antivirus on my computer, no matter what!"

gunslinger
02-17-2009, 04:23 AM
Exactly. I can have my machine locked down, and do all web surfing inside a virtual machine using firefox. I can also have an Acronis backup of my system so if something does go wrong I can be right back to perfect in minutes. I have never met a customer who takes all of these safety measures.

I think even if you do run without AV its irresponsible to boast about it because people who don't know what they are doing will think its ok.

purple_minion
02-17-2009, 07:24 AM
Wow, took off here alright. I agree, most people just can't seem to help themselves from getting into trouble. Personally the only time anything popped up from my AV was from files I got that were from shady sources. In my usual surfing and all that I don't hear a peep, then again shiny banners don't attract me (though those viagra ads I get in email, hmmmm... ;)

What seems to be the norm is that someone hints that linux is secure and that windows isn't and that's why they get virus's, from there it explodes and goes back and forth. Personally I would never run windows without AV, it's just not bright. It's like meeting some new girl and not wearing a condom? How do you know until it's too late? I've heard of legitimate sites giving out malware through someone hacking their ad network, or perhaps they themselves got hacked and you just had bad timing before they cleaned it and found out. There was a linux distro's website that got hacked with some malware a while back, can't remember the name. A lot of people commented how ironic it was and that they haven't heard a peep from their machines (running linux).

Personally I think from the virus side of things linux is more secure no matter what, I can pop into whatever midget russian porn site I want and blissfully run around to my hearts content and not get a thing. I dare you to do that on an unprotected windows machine. Not that people couldn't do harm to a linux machine, but when there are millions of virus's for windows and from what I've heard only a handful for linux which one has more of a chance?

I dunno if you read it, but my other post http://www.technibble.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4825 has a link about some dumb security ideas that a fellow talks about, most seem to make sense. I especially like the part about Default Allow or whatever, I would guess keeping track of legitimate software WOULD be easier then the millions of virus's that constantly mutate. How often to random people change their software? Most would be a patch now and then, or a new version, seems A LOT simpler to me!

Fireddog
02-17-2009, 11:41 AM
I used to hear this when I worked in a store. "Oh I don't need Av.. I haven't had a virus on any of my pcs and I have had them for 10 years."

I would crush their stupidity with one anology.

"Saying you don't have viruses when you have never had a professional check out your pc..is just like the patient who finally after 15 years .. gets a physical done at his local doctor. The Doctor tells him I am sorry but you have cancer.
The patient rails" but I have no symptoms I haven't had a problem period!"
the Doc responds.. "Sure if only you had come to me for a checkup 15 years ago.. like I asked you too.. we could have caught it sooner."

when I say that and its harsh but its so true. Its why I do a free pc checkup with any visit. If they allow me to do the checkup and I find serious trojan or 3 I offer them a malware removal on the spot. Works wonders.

Flyingbull
02-17-2009, 01:00 PM
For me personally, I usually keep the AV turned off and do manual checks, because having it check my system every time I run a compile is just a pain in the ass. But for your customer or for an environment where you have suspect computers connecting to your network, you have to take the approach that **** happens and you can't assume that any environment is safe. Assumming that Linux, Mac's or Unix systems are safe because they aren't windows and therefore more secure is sloppy thinking.

gunslinger
02-17-2009, 01:00 PM
I would love to personally check out some of these long time non-AV users computers.

JohnG
02-17-2009, 03:00 PM
Me too, 'Slinger...me too.

Blues
02-17-2009, 04:35 PM
As I said in the other thread I have done this with a windows 2k machine. I admit my HTPC does not have anything on it but I also don't do anything on it except watch files. I push all the files to it instead of it downloading them.

usacvlr
02-17-2009, 06:17 PM
Don't run av software myself and never caught a bug. You've really got to do something fairly stupid to catch one,,, like use IE for example.. heh

dhrandy
02-17-2009, 06:47 PM
AV software is kind of like condoms. You can go with out it but eventually it may catch up with you. :eek: :D Always better to play it safe.

Resler
02-17-2009, 08:24 PM
It seems the conclusion we've come to here is that everyone that posts regularly on these forums has enough sense in them to avoid viruses without any help from an A/V program but we all also know why these programs are needed for most users and it makes sense to protect ourselves from viruses because it can't hurt to. I like the example about not going to the doctor and having cancer. If the patient had gone to the doctor then either the cancer could have been treated before it became untreatable or the cancer could have been avoided completely. Theres a lot of people out there that go to their doctors like they should and die from cancer as well as many other things while there are most definitely many people who live a long life and never see a doctor (or not regularly). Just because some people are lucky, or whatever you would attribute that to, doesn't mean that everyone should follow their example.


On a side note, why is it that the examples that reference some of the worst topics make the best examples for other things.

purple_minion
02-17-2009, 08:46 PM
On a side note, why is it that the examples that reference some of the worst topics make the best examples for other things.

I find it to be extremes that grab peoples attention. If you said something about getting a cold and missing a week of work people don't pay attention. Sometimes you need that shock value I think. Plus, for me at least, my dad always thought about the worst outcome, kind of that plan for the worst and hope for the best attitude I guess.

On the topic note, you have all said what I've thought, and I just needed a sanity check. I see these people now and then and thought "what the hell am I missing?" After hearing about unprotected people here, and thinking about how often I get warnings I suppose it makes sense. What doesn't make sense is how all these other people get them. Are they really that stupid to click the Viagra ads? I don't expect them to setup their own website or server, but come on doesn't that crap just scream fake! Do they all think they are the 10,000,000 ad viewer and they won $1000 or something? I suppose that's another topic.

nonchalant
02-17-2009, 09:30 PM
Don't run av software myself and never caught a bug. You've really got to do something fairly stupid to catch one,,, like use IE for example.. heh

So no-one out there with a virus infested PC has you on their email contact list then? (Im referring to viruses that send themselves by email to everyone on the users contact list).

Or are you smart enough to tell that the emailed viruses arent really from the person but sent by the virus? If so, how do you do this? cheers

14049752
02-17-2009, 09:46 PM
Or are you smart enough to tell that the emailed viruses arent really from the person but sent by the virus? If so, how do you do this? cheers

Like I mentioned, if you use webmail (such as google) e-mail is a non-issue.

nonchalant
02-17-2009, 09:52 PM
Like I mentioned, if you use webmail (such as google) e-mail is a non-issue.

My post was directed at usacvlr however in response to your reply I take it you dont use Limewire or do any type of file-sharing either? And you obviously dont use MSN or any other type of chat program that viruses propogate through these days.

Jory
02-17-2009, 10:42 PM
I don't run any anti-malware software, and for that matter never really have for any extended period of time. If you're even slightly competent you shouldn't have a problem doing this.

My system is fully patched running behind a hardware firewall. I've been using Firefox since before it was even called that. In Firefox I use adblock, flashblock, and noscript. Before that I used Proximitron. I swore off WMP long ago and have always used an alternative. I've always used webmail. Anything even remotely sketchy gets ran in a VM first and checked with VirusTotal. I could go on, but everybody probably gets the point.

I can't even remember the last time I had an infection, but I'd be willing to bet I was doing something stupid before I knew about VMs. The amount of time is certainly measured in years though. Too many people here buy into the hype of this garbage. The reality is the detection rates are abysmal, and their ability to cleanup an infection are even worse. Throw in a heaping dose of false positives and deceptive marketing and it's not hard to see why I go off on a rant every time a topic like this pops up.

purple_minion
02-17-2009, 10:47 PM
I don't run any anti-malware software, and for that matter never really have for any extended period of time. If you're even slightly competent you shouldn't have a problem doing this.

My system is fully patched running behind a hardware firewall. I've been using Firefox since before it was even called that. In Firefox I use adblock, flashblock, and noscript. Before that I used Proximitron. I swore off WMP long ago and have always used an alternative. I've always used webmail. Anything even remotely sketchy gets ran in a VM first and checked with VirusTotal. I could go on, but everybody probably gets the point.

I can't even remember the last time I had an infection, but I'd be willing to bet I was doing something stupid before I knew about VMs. The amount of time is certainly measured in years though. Too many people here buy into the hype of this garbage. The reality is the detection rates are abysmal, and their ability to cleanup an infection are even worse. Throw in a heaping dose of false positives and deceptive marketing and it's not hard to see why I go off on a rant every time a topic like this pops up.

Now teach joe sixpack to do all that religiously?

14049752
02-18-2009, 12:07 AM
I take it you dont use Limewire or do any type of file-sharing either? And you obviously dont use MSN or any other type of chat program that viruses propogate through these days.

Limewire, no, absolutely not. I occasionally download torrents and I download other software from trusted sites. Anything beyond that, I do in a virtual machine.

I don't use the MSN client, but I use Trillian for AIM, ICQ, MSN, Yahoo....and I'm not stupid enough to click the few "SOMEONE HAS A CRUSH ON YOU!" spam messages I get.

Flyingbull
02-18-2009, 12:29 AM
Like I mentioned, if you use webmail (such as google) e-mail is a non-issue.

What if there is script malware, that downloads onto your machince - this is problem for all browsers, it only takes once to get screwed. I remember once when earthlink had a virus that got in because someone opened an e-mail inside the network -- infected over 100 websites back in 2001 -- all it will take is for the same thing to happen at google, and google mail because Google Malware.

14049752
02-18-2009, 12:33 AM
What if there is script malware

http://noscript.net

purple_minion
02-18-2009, 12:49 AM
I think I'll throw this out there. Many of you seem to be arguing on whether you can keep a clean machine clean by being careful who/what you deal with. How do you know those that you deal with are clean? That they aren't using a zero-day exploit? I take it back to the condom analogy, you aren't married to these sites, and these sites are out there sleeping around with MILLIONS of other people, would you do them without a condom?

Another thing to think about is sure, maybe for the most part you can be safe without av, but what if you caught something and that led to your identity being stolen? Now that is going to be a MUCH BIGGER HEADACHE then a format or several hours cleaning it all up. There can be malware that just sit there quietly, they don't all have to have popup's or instability, it's really up to the author of the malware what they want it to do. Remember most of these things are to make people money, one way or another!

purple_minion
02-18-2009, 12:52 AM
http://noscript.net

I use it, and feel naked without it, but I also know it's not 100%, they are always fixing bugs/improvements. And what happens when the site you allow has a problem?

14049752
02-18-2009, 12:53 AM
And what if you catch something with your virus protection that it can't detect? I don't see your point.

And what happens when the site you allow has a problem?

I guess, on the off chance, I might deal with that problem. I don't see why this is such a big deal. It's easy to run a computer without AV, it's easy to run it with AV. Your AV protection IS NOT an end all security fix...it's just one extra layer of that proverbial condom that's just as easy to break as everything else.

The REAL security on my computer is ME. I know what I'm doing, what I trust, and what's obviously a virus or unsafe page. That's what you guys aren't grasping, I think. I'm not saying anyone else should run without antivirus, I'm just saying I do at home (and have for years) without any problems ever.

purple_minion
02-18-2009, 12:59 AM
And what if you catch something with your virus protection that it can't detect? I don't see your point.

That's true, but the more layers you use the closer you come to 100% I believe. If you just rely on noscript then your rate is lower. Personally I use AV, spywareterminator (sometimes), teatimer, firefox, noscript, flashblock, adblock plus, spam control, and sandboxie.

Now I have a NEW system so it's all nice and fast, but on my old system it was very slow, and I used to run a virtualbox webbrowser too! I think that's a bit much though. Sandboxie works wonders, I've run infected keygens sandboxed and you dump the box and I haven't had a problem yet.

BTW, quick reply!

purple_minion
02-18-2009, 01:03 AM
And what if you catch something with your virus protection that it can't detect? I don't see your point.



I guess, on the off chance, I might deal with that problem. I don't see why this is such a big deal. It's easy to run a computer without AV, it's easy to run it with AV. Your AV protection IS NOT an end all security fix...it's just one extra layer of that proverbial condom that's just as easy to break as everything else.

The REAL security on my computer is ME. I know what I'm doing, what I trust, and what's obviously a virus or unsafe page. That's what you guys aren't grasping, I think. I'm not saying anyone else should run without antivirus, I'm just saying I do at home (and have for years) without any problems ever.

Agreed. I haven't heard of many technicians with issues. However these people (OP commenter's) I'm talking about are probably the same as us with little issues, however how about the normal computer user? Perhaps a poll should be started on how many people come back with virus's after you clean them and educate them?

Blues
02-18-2009, 02:26 PM
how many people come back with virus's after you clean them and educate them?It varies with how well they listened. Most of those who decided to return to norton come back within a few weeks and often with the same virus or something very similar.

purple_minion
02-19-2009, 02:05 AM
It varies with how well they listened. Most of those who decided to return to norton come back within a few weeks and often with the same virus or something very similar.

What I find interesting is that they don't teach anything in school about this crap. I mean when I was in school it was typing, and typing, and then a few mac crap like typing.

First off though I HATE windows why wouldn't you use what is, even then, the standard? Second there were virus's and things even then, how about teaching about that stuff? I know they aren't doing it even now because all the people I help with kids download crap on limewire and get infected or they are on myspace and get infected. you'd think if they were teaching the kids anything they would at least impliment some of it. Then again abstinence isn't really working now is it?

Jory
02-19-2009, 05:25 AM
Now teach joe sixpack to do all that religiously?

Joe Sixpack is only using his computer to check nfl.com, play solitaire, and listen to Yahoo! music. I get computers all the time that are 1-2 years old and the only anti-malware installed is the trial of norton/mcafee that expired 3 months after they bought it. A lot of times these are SP2 systems too. So they have no infections, are not running anti-malware, and are as novice as a user of you can find.

If they bring me the system like that I'm going to remove the trial version and not replace it with anything. I'll let them know what I did, and inform them of the free alternatives if they want it. It's important to give them a reasonable expectation of what to expect from anti-malware packages. Some people still want something, but most people decline to have anything once they realize they've used the computer all that time with no infection.

It's a good idea for some people, but the percentage is not even close to what a lot of people here would make you believe. Maybe they want that $10-15 for selling something, or maybe convince the user they're "doing something", but I'm in the business of providing services people need. I'm not in the business of selling everything I possibly can at the expense of customers that trust me.

gunslinger
02-19-2009, 01:19 PM
Joe Sixpack is only using his computer to check nfl.com, play solitaire, and listen to Yahoo! music. I get computers all the time that are 1-2 years old and the only anti-malware installed is the trial of norton/mcafee that expired 3 months after they bought it. A lot of times these are SP2 systems too. So they have no infections, are not running anti-malware, and are as novice as a user of you can find.

If they bring me the system like that I'm going to remove the trial version and not replace it with anything.


I also get a lot of these kinds of systems in the shop, but the difference is they are always infected with something. Always. The more people that are on the computer the worse it is. Especialy if there are teens in the house. You see around here Joe Sixpack surfs porn in his free time and his 2 teenagers are on myspace more than they are at school. These computers always have limewire installed as well.

I think removing the trial version of Norton or Mcafee is a good thing, but to leave it naked is irresponsible as a tech. At bare minimum I will install a free AV program and Spywareblaster.

Bullfighter
02-19-2009, 02:51 PM
Joe Sixpack is only using his computer to check nfl.com, play solitaire, and listen to Yahoo! music. I get computers all the time that are 1-2 years old and the only anti-malware installed is the trial of norton/mcafee that expired 3 months after they bought it. A lot of times these are SP2 systems too. So they have no infections, are not running anti-malware, and are as novice as a user of you can find.

If they have no infections, why are they bringing them to you? Out of curiosity.

On the contrary, 99% of my virus customers have brand name systems with trial antivirus and never bothered to renew or replace it when it expired. Of course, it also seems that in addition to nfl.com, solitaire, yahoo music the other item is porn (as Gunslinger mentioned)... wherein lies most of the problem.

EP

ZenMike
02-19-2009, 04:56 PM
Over the past 7 or so years I've gone through periods of having and not having A/V installed running primarily XP and then Vista for the past year. I don't recall a single infection or warning.

I do keep the windows firewall on at all times. I do not use any P2P software or download music/videos/warez. I use Yahoo! or Gmail webmail for my email client and rely on thier virus and spam filtering. I do not open the "adorable" attachments even my family sends me. I use FireFox w/ AdBlock for web surfing, which I do heavily on this PC. I don't install toolbars/screensavers/free-ware indescriminately (or really at all). I do manual scans every couple months and never find anything worse than tracking cookies, which are bad enough.

And I encourage my clients to follow these same practices *AND* use A/V software 100% of the time. They all nod and smile, but somehow call me back to clean up some immaculate infection ("I never even opened my web browser. I don't know how I could possibly have gotten that virus.").

purple_minion
02-19-2009, 10:03 PM
If they have no infections, why are they bringing them to you? Out of curiosity.

On the contrary, 99% of my virus customers have brand name systems with trial antivirus and never bothered to renew or replace it when it expired. Of course, it also seems that in addition to nfl.com, solitaire, yahoo music the other item is porn (as Gunslinger mentioned)... wherein lies most of the problem.

EP

Probably because they installed every toolbar, free game and theme pack known to man!!! Just my guess is it's running slowwwwwww. My cousin let me practice on her laptop, I swear she had over 100 frickin' little games on that thing!

You know, about porn, you need to educate them, show them the good stuff. I believe like any guy you look at some, but for years and years I have never had a peep from my AV surfing porn. Downloading programs yes, but porn never! You don't go into google and type porn, for one it's never good, and two you will get something you don't want! Find a good thumbnail site and stick with it, they update daily or so, and how much can you really need!!!

Speaking of expired and worthless AV, anyone seen M$ Onecare! I saw one that didn't do crap cause it was locked up and you couldn't even open the panel. I had to uninstall and reinstall (she had paid for a subscription sadly) before I could even take a look at the time. I could have done what it does better with three free apps I think.

purple_minion
02-19-2009, 10:05 PM
And I encourage my clients to follow these same practices *AND* use A/V software 100% of the time. They all nod and smile, but somehow call me back to clean up some immaculate infection ("I never even opened my web browser. I don't know how I could possibly have gotten that virus.").

Like the little boy caught masterbating in the tub!!! "I was just washing it and it went off!"

It's like the virgin mary in a way as well!

usacvlr
02-19-2009, 11:23 PM
Don't use outlook express or outlook so you avoid any macro or activex issues but more importantly,,, don't open executable email attachments...

So no-one out there with a virus infested PC has you on their email contact list then? (Im referring to viruses that send themselves by email to everyone on the users contact list).

Or are you smart enough to tell that the emailed viruses arent really from the person but sent by the virus? If so, how do you do this? cheers