Anti-virus is a scam

Story: Linux Users: Consider a free anti-virus program for your desktopTotal Replies: 2
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Sep 22, 2005
5:37 AM EDT
The entire anti-virus "industry" is pet peeve of mine. You may notice that in the history of computing, there was no anti-virus industry until MS Windows became popular. Indeed, years after the famous BillG memo that MS was going to get serious about security, the anti-virus biz is booming. So much so, that MS has bought up a few anti-virus companies.

Not only does the industry employ thousands, maybe tens of thousands of people now, but MS has a FINANCIAL interest in making sure the problem is never fixed in Windows. Their current malware program is a free download, but they have mentioned plans to charge for a premium version (one that works) in the future. It is their duty to their shareholders now to extract anti-virus fees from their users and I expect that to start any time now.

No doubt, there have been and will continue to be security issues with other operating systems, but the Windows anti-virus industry seems almost like a planned conspiracy. I don't need an anti-virus program and feel no obligation to protect people who do.

Sep 22, 2005
6:27 AM EDT
slippery: I agree with your assessment. Suddenly, Symantec has started a misinformation campaign about FF to try and sell its products. I wouldn't be surprised to find out if some of the virus authors..........

Sep 22, 2005
7:20 AM EDT
I firmly agree about the AV "industry". The AV people have always acted rather like a secret club, full of people who know the secret handshake, and who think they know what I want, and who think they know what my best interests are, but keep telling me to just trust them.

I base this on years of following comp.virus on usenix (since about 1990), and reading the primary literature in the field - I've always run non-MSFT computers at home, so they had no virus problem and no anti-virus software.

I'm currently reading Peter Szor's book, "The Art of Computer Virus Research and Defense". It's a typical Windows "technical" book, in that it was typeset using "Word" and so exhibits some hilarious typography. But it's also typical in that it was apparently either not proofread, or the proofreader didn't feel comfortable with the subject matter (I bet $100 the proofreader was "not technical").

I'm amazed at the AV mindset - every virus, no matter how aged (infects only DOS 3.3 COMMAND.COM) or how buggy (whale) is still currently a vicious threat to the World's Economy. Szor makes no attempt at analysis of the situtation - he just enumerates what the VXers have figured out. He makes the direst predictions at the drop of a hat - every possible method of infection will happen to each and every personal computer in the Universe, and soon! Those wiley VXers!

I'm amazed at the baroque, nay, deviously byzantine nature of Windows programming. Every dumb stunt on earth seems to have attained the status of an institution, from functions that push parameters on the stack in the *opposite* order specified by the language definition, to well-known memory addresses to allowing the memory allocation function to specify which end of the heap to allocate from. In the name of all that does not suck, how does a Windows system boot, much less run for a few hours?

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