Windows 8: is an Anti-virus Necessary?

Heck, I don’t know. Why worry about protecting yourself from the evils of the Internet when you can roll the dice, cross your fingers, and hope for the best? But seriously, folks…

The answer is: “it depends” (yes or no).

People have asked the question, so I figured I’d answer it for everybody to read (even though the wonderful people in our community, despite their awareness and best intentions, will ask me this same question again and again). Microsoft made the right move by creating an official Windows app store — and if you do nothing but download apps through Microsoft’s official channel, there should be little risk that you’d be infected (much like the risk of being infected with malware is nearly non-existent on iOS platforms since Apple only supports one App Store).

Yes, I actually recommended that a Windows user doesn’t necessarily need to have any kind of anti-virus software installed on their PC (which would be the first time in history I’ve done such a thing). Keep in mind, again: this is with the explicit understanding that you’re not downloading things independent of the Microsoft app store.

But, if you download things willy-nilly from across the Internet, you’re on your own (and certainly should be protected). You could always have some kind of anti-virus software installed for safe measure — but, if nothing else, you should be looking at more comprehensive software suites that do more than just protect you from the random computer virus. While infections could occur at any moment, the vectors through which you might be attacked grow tentacles by the day.

That’s why I’d still recommend some kind of protection package — if only to keep you safe from yourself. Your risk for a virus may be minimal these days, but malware is still a threat (as is social engineering and phishing, from which no amount of software could protect you). Of course, I’d recommend that for more than just Windows users…