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January 13, 2011

Do You Really Need Desktop AV Anymore?

I am not talking about just running a Mac either. I often wonder how much AV/anti-malware suite is really doing on my desktop. I am pretty savvy, try to stay away from sites and links that I am not familiar with and don’t remember the last time I saw a warning from my AV product.  I run scan regularly and patch when I am supposed to as well.  So do I really need AV? If so is there any value to actually paying for one?

I ran across an article today on Which.co, a UK based site that apparently sells a consumer reports type of service. The article says that over half of people responding to survey are worried about viruses and security issues on the computer. It is the single biggest factor sited for not using e-commerce. However, the editors of this site say:

“The results of our investigation show that as long as you regularly apply your computer's software updates, install free antivirus software and stick to safe areas of the web, you’re likely to stay safe and the internet no longer becomes this scary place.”

Of course sticking to safe areas of the web and not being phished and so forth is harder for some than for others. That is the rub. Sure maybe the more security savvy among you could get away with this. But what about your parents? What about the less security sophisticated? I doubt it.

On the flip side, does having a pay for AV product offer a greater level of support to these less- security savvy folks? That is the rub, I think it does not. If the free AV doesn’t help, you don’t have the knowledge to know what is bad from good in the way of security, I don’t know what will help you.

So the question still remains then, what does AV, especially pay for AV get you? I am having a tough time answering that one. What do you think?

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