In the newsgroups a few weeks ago, someone asked about which anti-virus software is best for experts. This is a really curious question. I’ve been involved in computer security — as a practitioner, a consultant, and an instructor/speaker — for several years. I feel fairly confident in calling myself an expert. I don’t run anti-malware on any of my own computers. Why not? It’s simple: I know what to click and what to skip, what to visit and what to avoid. I have control over what I choose to open, what I choose to load, and what I choose to run. And yeah, before the question arises, every four months or so I run a scan, and I’ve never gotten infected with anything.
Now don’t think that I run totally naked (the other residents of my house probably would object, and I shudder to imagine how hot the laptop would feel then, haha). Because there’s no way to control what someone else might throw at my Ethernet port, I do run the Windows firewall. I also run with UAC enabled because I want IE’s protected mode, but I configure the policy to elevate without prompting.
Am I saying that anti-malware is useless? Absolutely not. In many instances, and for many people, it’s still necessary. But we can’t ignore the fact that malware is getting more sophisticated. Nor can we ignore the fact that, as I have this conversation with other security experts and similarly-minded folk, I often ask this question: “When’s the last time your antivirus or antispyware detected anything?” Invariably, the answer is, “Never.”