Are viruses old news ?

For years now we’ve been inundated by the press, M$ and companies like Norton who urge us to keep our anti-virus up to date, to scan regularly, to not open attachments etc etc etc. A few years ago, I could see the point – after all, who wants something to alter or wipe their data ? But now ?
Last night I defragged my drives, ran a full av scan. No problem. Not a one. I also ran Sybot, Ad-aware and CWShredder. The latter was clean, the others found problems (which they fixed).

So ….. if a virus is just going to sit in my machine and not directly harm it, or get in the way of my browsing or other computer use, should I really be hugely bothered ? Now don’t get me wrong, I will still practice ‘safe hex’ and scan regularly, but if all the virus is going to do is bombard a particular set of IP addresses at a later date, and when that’s done sit quietly, why should I be that bothered ? It’s not me it’s bothering. But spyware ? That’s a whole new bag……

Running Firefox I get no browser hijacking at all, and this is undoubtedly a ‘Good Thing’, but that doesn’t stop this junk from finding it’s way into my computer – from sites / downloads / whatever, but the point is that this junk actively gets in my way. It annoys me, it slows things down, it interferes with my machine. But how many high-profile companies are solely dedicating themselves to fighting this scourge ?
It has no ‘scare’ factor, and scaring people is what has driven av sales. I’m sure there are many parallels with stuff in real life. But I don’t care about if M$ are going to be hit with a virus driven ddos attack. I really don’t. Big deal to them – fine, but me ? Nope. I do however care about my machine being hijacked against my will – EULA or not – yet there are no good commercial tools available. The guy who writes CWShredder – an invaluable tool – is now stopping for a while. HiJackThis will still exist, but then you need to post your results to a forum and await help from volunteers. I’ve tried clearing this stuff from D.’s machine before and it is nasty and almost impossible to get rid of by hand. Even now, using the latest Ad-aware, you need to go into DOS to get rid of some.

I’m not saying that AV should go to the wall – far from it, but that more companies should try to combat this spyware. Alternatively, drop ALL support for removing that crap, and watch IE lose even more ground to the likes of Firefox and Opera.

You are using Firefox – aren’t you ?

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