I should probably start a poll in VBulletin, but I'm not smart enough to
use the HTTP interface so I'll let somebody else conjure that up.
I am of the opinion that anti-malware software basically does not work
well enough to be used. Furthermore, it costs something and therefore
decreases net worth more than it increase it (yes, even those free
products cost cycles as everybody who runs anti-virus software complaining
about performance tells me). Despite this, people use the stuff. My
opinion about it not working stems from the following bit of AB-ian logic:
Anti-malware software works if it prevents and stops all anti-malware
Anti-malware software is broken if it allows malware (same as above
Anti-malware software imposes a cost, usually monetary but always in
Anti-malware is required or else "Bad Things" will happen (per the
The problem I had is that all of these statements are, by my estimation false.
The software doesn't stop bad things since it's a constant battle with
software vendors behind malware-creators and the "heuristics" that are
used to detect bad things just don't work reliably. Every study I've seen
on this shows that every vendor fails tests, and some miss a huge amount
of bad software. Because of this #1 and #2 above are rejected. Maybe
there's hope though on the other points.... but no.
The cost is clear whether you pay for it with your wallet directly or via
your (or your company's) electric bill and slowness-induced frustration.
Finally, the world has come to assume that unless you have this snake oil
applied you will have a terrible life. I know many people who do not use
anti-malware software at all, though, who never catch viruses or other
"bad things". But how do I know that I don't have anything? Well, I'm
pretty sure because every year or two before I wipe my laptop and start
anew I download one of those free discs that scans everything and it
consistently comes up clean, so at least the things that the software can
find, I don't get (the things the software cannot find wouldn't have been
found in any case, so nothing lost there).
Maybe it's because I'm a geek and use the command line a bunch, but I
doubt it. I intentionally downloaded evil software from time to time to
poke at it and figure out what it is doing. I'm not a professional
researcher, but I'm curious and it's interesting. Still, no infection. I
wouldn't recommend others do this with or without "protective"
anti-malware software, but since most problems fail to infect Linux (for
many reasons), I feel pretty safe with what I choose to poke/prod.
Despite this, I know many other people who do not run anti-malware stuff
and avoid infection. It's probably no secret that the way to do so is to
be smart about where you go online and what you put in your computer. Is
that it? Some of the people I know without evil software on their boxes
are semi-trustworthy with a computer so maybe they're just competent
online. If that's the case then education is the key as usual, though
personally I think that is just one aspect of what should be an in-depth
Finally we get to my question:
Which anti-malware do you use or have you used in the past?
How much malware have you found on your box when using those? This
includes anything found during those big full-disk scans (shouldn't have
been allowed to show up in the first place, so that's a failure) and
ideally would include things that are not detected, but due to the failure
of the snake oil to detect, that's hard to measure.
If you do not use anti-malware software, why not? What do you do (or what
do you avoid doing) to keep safe? Obvious points to keep safe would
include not clicking on anything in e-mail, not responding to anything
that flashes or pops up on your screen, blah blah blah. Any gems that can