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…

5 thoughts on “Windows 8: is an Anti-virus Necessary?”

  1. There are already fake Windows AV’s out there. For instance there is the “Win 8 Security system” that is a virus So you really need to be on your toes as McAfee and CERT have already detected this in the wild.

  2. I think you should reconsider this post. Ever heard of a drive-by infection? I doubt very highly that Microsoft did anything different in the latest IE to stop this type of infection. And there is still a registry, correct? As long as MS leaves in the ability to change the shell via a registry key, there will always be the ability for malware to modify that key and inject itself the system. I’m n the IT biz, have been for 25 years, and I would lay money on the fact that MS hasn’t done enough (once again) to squash the ability to infect a machine. By design, there are key areas of the Windows system are too vulnerable, i.e.: Registry.

  3. Yep…ALWAYS have an AntiVirus on your system. Not only can you get infected via Internet, but what about the dreadfull ‘lil USB-drive? :)

  4. Unfortunately a lot of people buy the hype and get taken by an added security that doesn’t really exist in Windows 8. Windows 8 is just as susceptible to viruses, malware, and adware as the earlier versions of Windows. The bundled antivirus software is not the most effective protection available. The same precautions and research is necessary before deciding on protection as it was before.

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