Anti Virus Drawbacks

Security threats have long been the bane of Windows users. Ever since computers were connected to the internet, hackers have taken advantage of the easy anonymity and jurisdictional inertia that is inherent to world wide network. It is relatively easy to launch attacks with virtually no fear of repercussions.

The first malware was little more than electronic graffiti, but it soon graduated to malicious random vandalism and then on to directed sabotage and money-making ventures. This inevitably led to the development of antivirus software as an attempt to secure systems and data.

Antivirus applications are simply programs that seek to detect and eliminate threats before they can cause damage. Sadly, this is a cat and mouse game where the hackers have a big first-mover advantage. Even the top ranked anti-virus products cannot protect against threats that they have not been programmed to detect, and new threats are constantly being developed. Estimates are that even from the most sophisticated antivirus programs fail to detect around 20% of malware.

The problem with antivirus is that is uses a lot of the PC’s power to perform its task, and the nature of the way it must integrate with the operating systems means that it can cause a wide variety of problems on its own. Malware might be the biggest source of problems with Windows computers, but problems caused by antivirus software itself is a close second!

Antivirus software can hog system resources, slowing down even the most powerful PC. It introduces more complexity into an already complex system. It can interfere with the functioning of applications, or the computer as a whole. Ironically, antivirus software can sometimes make the computer less secure in some ways. This is because it opens up new targets for the malware creators to attack. It is also ironic that the most powerful antivirus software is also the one that is most likely to have unintended consequences.

Given the problems with running antivirus, and its limited efficacy, prevention is by far the best cure when it comes to security.

NEVER open emails from an unknown sender, and always be suspicious of attachments even if it looks like you know the sender. Opening an infected attachment is the number one cause of infections. If you ever have an email that you are not sure about, you can always forward it to me for verification before opening the attachment.

Fortunately, Windows 10 is much more secure than previous versions of Windows. It has built in security in the form of “Windows Defender” which is effective, and importantly, is less likely to interfere with legitimate software.

The article below makes a strong argument for ditching 3rd party anti-virus software, although in some cases the extra security from a good AV product is worth the extra maintenance associated with it.