This entry is in response to recent news of Norton Antivirus putting a crypto miner in their program. This is such a dumb move in so many ways it requires its own entry. Others have already commented on it, so I’d rather just tell you why you don’t need an antivirus in the first place.
Most commercial antiviruses are targeted towards Windows users. News flash. If you’re using Windows, you already have known malware installed on your computer. It’s called Windows and no antivirus program can remove it. Same for Macs as well. You should remove Windows or Mac and install a free Linux or BSD distro.
If you still decide to use Windows or Mac, realize you don’t actually need an antivirus anyways. Windows and Mac already come with built-in protections against 3rd-party malware. Of course both systems still let their own malware execute.
Most proprietary antivirus programs are themselves adware and spyware. And now Norton has a crypto miner. Installing proprietary antivirus software these days is just paying to install malware on your own system. Don’t fall for it.
So how should you avoid malware? Here’s a list:
- Do use a free Linux or BSD distro (most viruses target windows)
- Do keep your software updated
- Do make frequent backups
- Do install software exclusively from your package manager (unless you know what you’re doing)
- Do uninstall software you don’t use
- Do lock your computer when it’s unattended
- Do ignore Indian guys calling about your computer
- Don’t use proprietary software
- Don’t let untrustworthy people use your computer
- Don’t click untrustworthy links
- Don’t open sketchy email attachments
- Don’t visit shady websites
If using an antivirus makes you feel more secure, I recommend ClamAV. It’s free software and not adware/spyware trash like proprietary antiviruses.
Be aware though that some people consider having an antivirus more risky than not having one since they require root access, which could open up new security vulnerabilities. You have to make that call yourself.
Either way, antiviruses aren’t necessary. Don’t listen to the marketing telling you you must have an antivirus. You’re fine without one. Just use common sense.
1: Norton Cryptominer