Tell us about your anti-malware software and habits

Public poll, multiple answers permitted, no set closing date, blah blah.

Ack! Not only did I leave out a possible option, but I forgot to vote as I intended in my own poll! (Which is to say that I entered answers thatwere correct but left out information.

Anyway, I use AVG, which I purchased, and the free version of Ad-Aware. I update both at least once a day and scan every time I update.

What you think just because I’m using freeware anti-spyware software that I don’t regularly update the definitions?

I have another couple of situations that don’t fit exactly into your options. First off, I use Windows Defender and the Malicious Software Removal Tool, both of which I think work pretty well. But are those freeware? They didn’t come with my computer but they sort of installed themselves through Windows Update.

Also, I’ve got institutional access to Symantec Anti-Virus, so it’s not like I purchased it.

I will note that I have some sort of bug that only seems to affect Firefox that none of the freeware anti-spyware software seem to be able to remove.

Most of my computing life takes place in my Mac, but I use Windows enough that I keep it up to date as well.

Macs are easier. :slight_smile:

I use both the Norton anti-virus and Norton Utilities. The anti-virus runs a quick scan every day and I run a full system scan once a week. I use the Utilities One Button Checkup about 3 times a day. The downside of that is that it wants to clear all the cookies and you need to sign back in to the sites you visit, with user name and password each time. Of course you can change the settings to keep selected sites info. But after just one afternoon of web surfing the check up may find 10,000 or more issues it wants to correct.

Now the SDMB only adds about a dozen cookies/issues, but I also read the news sites like CNN, and after reading a couple of articles on there are more than 300 issues just from that site alone. For example.

I have friends that use the anti-virus that came with the computer they bought. And they go through computers every 3 years or so. “Just wouldn’t work right anymore”. I have looked at some of the machines for them and they are so cluttered that no wonder they would think they need a new one.

They think that the anti-virus is magic. I tell them that it is really just a list of threats and the computer checks to see if your machine has anything on the list. And that the list is only as good as yesterday’s list. You need to get the update everyday. But the machine they bought came with anti-virus and they don’t think they ever have to do anything again, it will just fix things. Updates?, The computer is NEW! It doesn’t need updates!

And they go through machines. I have never lost a computer or had one crash. I de-frag, scan, and wipe free space every week.

I compare computer habits to the way people treat their cars. Some people check the oil and do regular maintenance, etc., and other people just turn the key and wait for the day it won’t go anymore.

I use Avast at home, with an occasional Malwarebytes scan if I suspect something might be up (it usually isn’t). More importantly, I practice safe computing: I know the difference between a fake virus alert and one sent by my antivirus.

Everyone should try to download the EICAR test file* to see what happens when your antivirus finds something. That way, you won’t be fooled.

*A harmless file that is detected by all antivirus software as a test mechanism. It’s just some specific code that cannot run, but it is a very useful tool to find out what your antivirus does when it detects something.

I use AVG, but I’ve only ever been infected once - and that was via a guy that works in IT, and should really have known better.

I think you should add “I scan for malware only when I think I have an infection.”

Technically I scan once a week or less - but more like once a quarter when I think I might have something.

I used to use Disinfectant, and had the AutoStart Worm WormGuard installed, back when MacOS 8 ruled the PowerPC chip.

Even then, Disinfectant was mostly around to catch viruses that would have been too old to deploy: the vast majority of them needed System 6 without MultiFinder, or were otherwise incapable of doing any damage on macines that were modern at that time. I kept it around, though, and actually did manage to spot a live copy of “nVIR A” in the process of going through an old box of floppy disks just to see what was on them. That was in 1999 or 2000 and that’s the last time I saw an actual Mac virus.

I don’t refrain from using antivirus software on principle. As soon as there are again Mac viruses to be “anti” about, I’ll get protection.

I put down that I have no spyware or antivirus software, but I’m not sure if that’s true. I use Linux almost exclusively now, and I think I downloaded something a while ago, but mostly don’t worry about it now.

On my Windows partition, I have freeware for all three products, but last time I logged on, crappy McAffee (through my ISP) took over, running its scan and looking for updates, and basically making my computer unusable by me. I think I’ve got it mostly disabled, but I’m not sure.

Avast! is configured to auto-update so I don’t have to actually remember to take care of it. I run MalwareBytes once a week or as needed if I’m suspicious.

I only make the rounds of a few sites so the only real threat I face is corrupted banner ads. And I did seem to have hit one a few months back.

I had left the computer on overnnight and when I got up the next morning it was back at the login screen. Log in, reboots. Check the usual hardware suspects and came up clean. Won’t bore you with the full exam but had picked up something that was trying to start up with the computer and was failing badly causing blue screen and reboot.

I SAID I left out an option by accident! Now stop being mean to me, or Clumsy Smurf dies!

I have a mac running boot camp, and I follow the Aliens Malware Strategy: I just nuke windows and start fresh now and again. I also don’t do things like log into my bank website on my Windows partition.

Mmm…Skald, I think firewalls are also part of the effort (at least software-base ones).

I used to have Avast! and AVG running with SyncGate/Zone Alarm, on top of a hardware router (that’s how crazy I was) plus Lavasoft.

After switching to Win7, I loosen up, relying on just a daily updated AVG and auto-scans.

I’m using Avast and SpyBot as “constant” protection, and I keep MalwareBytes and AdAware handy just in case.

I use multiple freeware anti-spyware programs and update them regularly, which I see we all recognize was not an option.

I use:
The free version of AVG which automatically downloads updates and is scheduled to scan my PC at 3:30am every day.


SUPERAntiSpyware Free Editon for spyware and malware. I update the definition files once or twice a week.

I’m primarily a Mac person at home, but also have a PC with Vista Home Premium, and two PCs that run Linux.

On my Linux boxes and Macs, I rely on built-in firewalls, and on the Macs, I also use a shareware program “Little Snitch” which monitors all network activity from all processes, giving me the choice to allow or block access on a case by case basis. I do not currently run any anti-spyware program or antivirus program. I do all of my “personal” processing on the Macs – on-line financial stuff, on-line purchasing, e-mail, tax preparation, stock transactions, etc.

On my Vista PC, I have the MacAffee multi-pan-galactic-mega-paranoid package that updates its definitions daily, scans every file that’s downloaded, and automatically performs a full scan something like once a week. On this machine I do not process any e-mail, nor do I actually do anything that involves personal information. I rarely run Internet Explorer, and only enable ActiveX when it’s for something very low risk and there’s no other way to do the task at hand. I basically just use this PC to capture video, rip (my) DVDs and (my) Blu-Rays and dork around with some Windows programming environments.

On my Linux Box I do not do any malware prophylaxis, mostly because I have it locked down from outside logins, and more importantly it isn’t currently hooked up to the net.

The laptop has exterminate-it!, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, and Ad-Aware installed and updated on a once every 1-4 week basis, with scans run on a similar timeline. It isn’t updated more often because I use a neighbour’s wifi (with their knowledge and permission) and the connection is not especially reliable or constant.

It had McAfee pre-installed but I have disabled it as we have not kept up witha subscription and I prefer the Malwarebytes product better.


I used to run AVG, Ad-Aware, Spybot, Spyware Blocker, and Super Anti Spyware. I removed all those programs in favor of Microsoft Security Essentials. It does anti-virus and anti-spyware as good as all those programs. It updates automatically so I don’t have to worry about it. One side benefit of removing all those programs from my startup is that my computer boots up much faster.