Articles: October 2003 Archives

It's probably one of the worst myths that's bandied about in tech circles - that everyone should have antivirus software and a software firewall. I don't have a problem with the protection that these applications provide per se, but really, I just don't find them either necessary or useful outside of educating those who don't yet know how vulnerable their computers are - and consequently how to effectively and efficiently protect them.

The problem with antivirus software and firewalls is that they're software. This might come as a surprise, but software has bugs. And for whatever reason, either because these applications function at such a fundamental level with the operating system, or the companies producing them are just complacent in an unrationalised marketplace, these bits of code are particularly awful. But not only are they awful, they cost money to be awful, and often require you to subscribe to services that make you pay every year. Not that you'll ever really pay that subscription fee though, since every year without fail, these vendors will come out with "new" "improved" versions of their software that "add more up-to-date funtionality. Take that as code for they want you to pay to "upgrade" to something that is nothing more than your current application warmed over, with new features that are less than useless.

Another problem is that updating the software (not the virus definitions) is a chore for those who constantly clean install their systems - you have to download large chunks of data and reboot more than once most of the time. When it gets to the point where I'm thinking antivirus vendors should provide service packs that I can slipstream, something is wrong wrong wrong. The patch based model for updating software has it's advantages, but in this case I don't see why I can't eventually download a fully updated installer for when I clean install, instead of leaving my computer vulnerable for the download and reboot process.

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This page is a archive of entries in the Articles category from October 2003.

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