Protection rackets

Just how much PC security do you need?

Ryan Naraine notes that all the various protection software for Windows is getting out of hand: “Here’s a list of the products sitting on your machine, sucking valuable system resources under the guise of protecting you from hacker attacks: Anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-rootkit, anti-spam, drive-by browser protection, etc., etc.”

I mean, the evils of viruses and other nasties are that they take your computer’s resources and waste them for their own purposes, depriving you of using them.

But anti-virus and other products do the same thing: they also take your computer’s resources and use them for their own purposes, and you pay for the privilege!

It’s like the over-zealous spam filter than zaps legitimate emails. The purpose of these products should be to make your life easier and save you time. If they slow everything down and make life hard, are they really worth the trouble?

How about some common-sense, appropriate security privileges for everyday computer use, and protection only for attacks that can arrive genuinely unannounced and without the user causing it?

Obviously you need some defence against stuff that can get in unannounced. Firewalls and virus scanning on emails and downloads would seem to be appropriate here, but I suspect anything else is going over the top.

(All this is assuming you don’t adopt Josh’s model and disconnect your Windows computer from the Net entirely. Few of us would be willing to make that sacrifice. The network is the computer.)