The hype surrounding Conficker and the Twitter worm has only served for security experts to issue warnings about installing antivirus software. But is it really necessary? Can you survive without a security suite? Two experts give us their views.

The recent hype over the Conficker virus has gone hand-in-hand with advice about how best to protect your PC safe from malware, viruses and other malicious software.

Most of us rely on some form of security software to take the heat off when surfing the web. However, shocking as it may sound, there are plenty of experienced, knowledgeable technophiles out there who laugh in the face of danger as they traipse unprotected through the wilds of the online world. Among them is blogger Rick Broida, who prefers what he deems the relatively minor threat of malware to the annoyance of intrusive, nagging security apps.

Is he insane? Naïve? To find out, we gave Rick the chance to tell you readers why he shrugs off the safety of antimalware suites, and to defend his point of view in a debate with security correspondent Robert Vamosi. Who's right? Who's nuts? You can be the judge.

First up, Rick Broida presents his assertion that security suites are an unnecessary nuisance compared with the threat of malware.

We don't need no stinking security software

Security software is a scam. A rip-off. A waste of money, a pain in the neck, and a surefire way to bring even the speediest PC to a crawl. Half the time it seems to cause more problems than it solves. Oh, and one more thing: it's unnecessary.

Heresy? Crazy talk? Recipe for disaster? No, no, and no. For the past several years, I've run Windows (first XP, and now Vista) without a single byte of third-party security software. No Norton Internet Security. No Spyware Doctor. Not even freebie favourite AVG. I use nothing but the tools built into Windows and a few tricks I've learned.

Want to know how much time I've spent cleaning up after viruses, spyware, rootkits, Trojan horses, keyloggers, and other security breaches? None. I'll say that again: none.

Maybe I'm asking for trouble, but after years of infection-free computing, I have no qualms about my methods. Your mileage may vary, and I make no guarantees. But if you want to rid your system of pricey, performance-choking security software, read on.

My first line of defence is my router. Like most, it has a built-in firewall that blocks all unauthorised traffic and makes my network more or less invisible to the outside world. The second line of defence is Windows. XP, Vista, and Windows 7 have built-in firewalls that help protect against 'inside' attacks, such as if a friend were to come over with his spyware-infected laptop and connect to my network.

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NEXT PAGE: More reasons why you don't need security software

  1. We get two expert views
  2. More reasons why you don't need security software
  3. Our other expert gives his opinion
  4. More views from Robert