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Antispyware - do you need it?

  Managing ed 15:12 30 Nov 2007

Recently one of our contributors wrote a piece suggesting that antispyware was a waste of time and money: click here

Perhaps unsurprisingly, this met with some dissent, not least from the security software community, and PC Tools (author of our current Best Buy Spyware Doctor) was sporting enough to outline its counter-argument: click here

What do you think?

Matt Egan
Managing Editor

  mrwoowoo 16:43 30 Nov 2007

"antivirus program will try to block data-stealing spyware, and most virus fighters block — or at least warn you about — adware and other unwanted programs"
Although this is true that spyware will be blocked by certain other security programmes,it will still build up on your pc clogging up the system and using resources.
The way different people use a pc often dictates how much spyware they are exposed to,so doing away with anti-spyware software would not be a good idea in 90% of cases.
I would guess that GANDALF <|:-)> only uses his pc for light surfing well known sites(fell free to correct me if wrong)but many users download and google for various free and illegal programmes e.t.c.which can sometimes lead to malware infested sites.
Also it is quite surprising how many legitimate sites have spyware put on their sites.
A work collegue scanned his pc with anti spyware pro on my recommendation as he had no anti spyware software installed.It came back with 194 infections.
Do without it?..not me,i'm a cowardly,cowardly custard.

  anskyber 16:44 30 Nov 2007


I don't know how long your testing will last but I and others will be interested in how things pan out.

  Forum Editor 16:44 30 Nov 2007

that I am running BitDefender anti-virus software. I would not contemplate connecting a computer to the internet without the benefit of anti-virus protection under any circumstances.

  anskyber 16:47 30 Nov 2007

Which, unless I have misunderstood the Blog which started this thread, is the nub of it, much of the protection is already covered by the anti virus software.

  Forum Editor 17:14 30 Nov 2007

Yes, and I'm going to find out if it's true. BitDefender says it protects me against phishing attempts, but frankly I can do that myself. I'm probably safe from most viruses too, because I don't visit the kind of sites that are most likely to harbour viruses. I'm not a porn addict, I don't download music or film files from P2P networks, and I don't trawl the internet for software cracks.

Not all so-called spyware is the spawn of the devil either - a good deal of it is fairly innocuous. The problem, as it often is with the stuff that washes across the internet, lies in being able to tell the difference. I'm not claiming some special immunity, or even the ability to ward off all evil - I'm doing an experiment, and hoping it doesn't turn round and bite me.

  [email protected] 17:36 30 Nov 2007

i have ran a pc for nearly 4 months, with only nod 32 av on it and a very basic hardware firewall. there's no bank details etc stored on the pc and it is all backed up to an external hard drive. if i scan with kaspersky on line scan it always comes up clear, has 29 running processes starts in just over 30 seconds, page file is off, and uses very little ram.

  anskyber 21:38 30 Nov 2007

Sorry J B I should have quoted your "common sense is required when on-line" to make sense of my comment "Which actually is the key to most security." Rather than being a question as I see you and maybe others read it.

Apols for the lack of clarity.

  mrwoowoo 00:02 01 Dec 2007

I was wrong regarding my assumption of your internet use and am glad you corrected me.

"ST never finds anything "?.. Since spyware terminator protects in real time then surely it won't find anything on your pc as it stops it getting on your pc in the first place.
Surf the net for a week without it on,then do a scan with it.I feel sure it will pick up quite a few bits of spyware after that.

  JYPX 00:49 01 Dec 2007

*Raven* has beaten me to it. The emergence of Acronis True Image as a reliable (and fast) recovery option has changed everything.
A decent anti-spyware programme is more for convenience than anything else but which one you choose hardly matters - providing you have True Image.

  Forum Editor 11:04 01 Dec 2007

but in my experience a large number of the computers I see with assorted nasties on them are the very ones that are 'protected' to the hilt with sundry spyware and anti-virus programmes. Paranoia brings its own rewards it seems, at least in so many instances that seem to be the case.

In all the years I've worked online, with all my office computers more or less permanently connected to the internet, I could probably count the number of virus and spyware infections we've had on one hand - it's an extremely rare occurrence, and I can't remember the last time it happened. We have no magic formula, we visit thousands of web sites, and we use one anti-virus programme (but not always the same one), and almost never have any anti-spyware software installed. I say 'almost never' because we occasionally test all kinds of programmes for clients, and anti-spyware stuff is included.

The best protection, and it's been said many times, is plain commonsense, a good AV programme, and a firewall.

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