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Why Anti-Virus is Dead, and 5 Ways to Protect Your Computer Today

I’m going to get straight to the point here.

Anti-virus is dead.

Well, maybe I shouldn’t say dead, because there are still some people that use it. Back in the early 2000′s, almost everyone had anti-virus software, and viruses and trojans were as plentiful as dandelions. However it seems now that mostly everyone who is at all tech-savvy are turning away from anti-virus, which leaves the demographic mostly to people who are confused and misinformed.

Don’t get me wrong, doing a quick scan once a week is a great idea, but running active-scanning software such as Norton on your computer 24/7 just decreases computer performance. Moreover, wouldn’t it make more sense to try to prevent getting viruses in the first place, instead of just trying to catch them before they do damage? Because we all know that some viruses can bypass or disable your AV software, until you download the latest patch. So what do you do when your anti-virus misses something? Well, you’re pretty much screwed. For anyone who has any computer knowledge, here are some great ways to protect your computer more efficiently, more effectively, and less costly than standard AV software.

1. Use a firewall. Firewalls are virtual defenses around your computer that monitor and regulate what can or cannot access the internet from your computer, and vice versa. You will have to grant access to all your standard programs, but after that, your firewall will not bug you unless it notices something new attempting to access the internet. Which means if you ever get a virus that tries to send out your private information, or call to other viruses to join the party, they will run straight into a brick- I mean firewall. A great free firewall program is ZoneAlarm Free. ZoneAlarm comes packed with great features, one of them being an “Internet Off” button, that you can press to bring your computer into lock-down mode if you suspect a virus is lurking about.

2. Use safe download sites. When possible, download your software from a spyware and virus-free site such as Softpedia, or FileHippo. Avoid downloading files from P2P programs, or shady download sites such as Even downloading software from the developer’s site could be dangerous.


3. Look for obvious signs of a virus. Be careful when running all exe files, especially setup.exe, which viruses are notorious for disguising themselves as. Verify file sizes as well. If you download any program, it will likely be multi-megabytes in size. Opening an exe with 500kb is very risky.

4. When in doubt, Sandbox it! Sandboxie is a great tool that lets you run any files in a virtual hard-drive which is completely quarantined from your regular files. So if the file is a virus, or something bad happens, you can simply delete the sandbox, and it is like nothing ever happened.

5. Regularly create disk images of your HD. Using paid software such as Acronis TrueImage or Norton Ghost, you can easily create “image” files of your hard drive, which allows you to restore your entire drive easily in the event of a fatal virus or bug. This saves countless hours in the event of having to reformat your computer, but it is quite costly, requiring you to buy the software and also an external backup drive to store the images.

6. Run regular malware scans. Monthly, or preferably weekly, you should run an AV scan, spyware scan, and disk cleaner scan. This is vital to keeping your system in tip-top shape. I recommend using Spybot S&D, as well as CCleaner along with your AV scanner of choice.


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9 Responses to “Why Anti-Virus is Dead, and 5 Ways to Protect Your Computer Today”

  1. James says:

    What a load of balls. Are you trying to say we should all swicth off our antivirus and just be extra careful with everything we do hoping that we dont get infected? What about buisnesses with large numbers of users. Should they just train up the employees on your tips above, disable their antivirus and hope for the best?

    Quote “However it seems now that mostly everyone who is at all tech-savvy are turning away from anti-virus, which leaves the demographic mostly to people who are confused and misinformed.”

    Utter nonesense. I have worked in IT for many years and I have never heard of anyone turning their back on antivirus. Doing so is a huge risk and a disaster just waiting to happen. PCs these days can handle antivirus software with unnoticable preformance degradation. I urge everyone reading this to ignore the advice.

  2. Chris Y. says:

    I would not recommend this in a multi-user environment where you cannot enforce your personal security policies to the letter.

    However, in my opinion, the first line of defense is a knowledgeable user. Simply having the common sense to browse trusted sites cannot be stressed enough. Thinking before you click will protect the average user from the majority of malicious content.

    The second as mentioned in the article is a firewall. I would go out on a limb and say software firewalls are dead too. A properly configured off-the-shelf router is sufficient for consumers. However, most don’t choose to seek out this knowledge which leads to vulnerabilities.

    Lastly, Sandboxie or virtual machine software can render malicious content harmelss to your machine.

    I have not run any active anti-virus or software firewall over the past 3-4 years and have never been affected by malicious content.

  3. Tapan Pal says:

    continuously facing ‘low disk space’ regardlees am not downloading or installing or inspite of attending internet options, AV scan, Spyware Scan, sfc /scannow , disk cleaning, defragmentation.

    What more can be done pl.

  4. Doug Woodall says:

    You are so right to promote ensuring your Firewall is properly configured and able to withstand attacks.

  5. JD Mason says:

    A good software firewall like Zone Labs (Check Point Software), Kaspersky Labs or Comodo is essential. Though none is easy to configure, the Zone Labs product is relatively the easiest for the novice and intermediate user.

    Probably the next best program for avoiding serious malware infestations on a Windows system is the Firefox web browser which can downloaded here - once installed and feeling comfortable with Firefox, set it in Windows as your “default browser.”

  6. R Dean says:

    The biggest amount of bull**** that i have ever heard…

    First you say to disable on access virus/trojan/spyware scanning and then you say you should definately run on demand checks for viruses every week. So you say the on demand scan is important in case you have picked up a virus (ie the risk is there) but the on access scan isn’t.

    by the time your on demand scanner has picked up the virus its payload will have already triggered. If you had used your on access scanner the payload would not have been allowed to trigger.

    You say that running a file of 500kb or more is dangerous.. LMFAO… its not the size that matters its the content… its whether there is a trojan or virus hiding in there and the way to find out is to scan it with an anti-virus program. Saying that running all files of 500kb or more is dangerous is the stupidest thing i ever heard. A virus/trojan or spyware can be very small, that would not even make a dent on the 500kb file. Then you say to beware of running setup.exe… yes its true that trojans/viruses can be affixed to the install program of legitimate software but without using the virus scanner more than once per week or month how will you know the file is dangerous… so you advise us not to scan it for viruses, what should we do? never run another setup program again, btw they are not all called setup.exe. Also how will you verify the file size of a program you just downloaded off the internet? and youd probably have to run the file first to be sure about the version number and by then its too late. You may as well have just said to only download files from the official site.. even then im not sure you will have an easy way of verifying the file size is correct, sometimes they just point to the installer and you have to trust them… well actually “just run an anti-virus on the file”.

    As for the sandbox idea i can imagine that some viruses/trojans/spyware will keep very quiet about them being on your system and considering the vast number of payload options there are, some of which may not trigger straight away, maybe not until after you have taken it out of the sandbox.. i doubt you would even notice all of the different payloads, sure you would notice the one that deletes all the files in your sandbox but the others… hmm.. i think i will leave it to my anti-virus to work out whether theres a payload rather than trying to work that out myself…

    other than that you have listed some good points like downloading from safe sites, performing backups.. using a firewall (you pointed to one that scans outbound traffic as well which is good)… but i don’t agree on your do regular on demand scans but no on access scans.

  7. REL says:

    R Dean: His point was that smaller files are more risky. Virii tend to be tiny, whereas legitimate programs are “multi-megabytes in size”. Try reading before you complain =]

  8. soda says:

    Here’s another tip: Disable Autorun.

  9. Gavin says:

    My opinion based on the antiviruses is that there is no recommended antviruses because people who creates thgis things they are only on business, nothing else it’s all about making money. They created viruses, then after an antivirus. What’s that? so stop beating your heads by choosing which one is the best. There is no one.