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I dual boot my computer with OpenSuse 11.3 and Windows 7. Am very reluctant to install an Anti-Virus on Windows, since I stopped allowing flash-disks when not in Linux. But I still access the internet from there.

Am just wondering, how secure is my current strategy?

Are there more measures I could take to increase security on my Windows minus installing an Anti-Virus ?

(anti-virus software is very resources intensive while I prefer to run other big things like dev-tools).

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while you'll never have a resident app that takes 0 resources, not all AV applications are created equal and some require less resources than others. however, an other strategy you might consider, if you are worried, would be to run Windows 7 in a virtual machine within the Linux installation. then if anything does go awry you can restore the image. –  Xantec Mar 22 '11 at 19:55
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flash disks are nothing for virus propagation compared to web browsing. –  Joel Coehoorn Mar 22 '11 at 21:06
    
One way to not need an AV is to not use Windows. Accessing the internet in Suse would solve a lot of problems, like with the usb. Still, you could download a jpeg, exe, zip, doc, etc with something that must be caught before you open it in Windows. –  tobylane Mar 22 '11 at 21:42

5 Answers 5

You should never be hesitant about anti-virus software. I clean viruses and spyware (mostly spyware) off of windows PCs roughly every month. Seriously, that's ridiculous. Use a lightweight client like ClamWin if you want, or fire up HijackThis every once in a while. I recommend Avast.

If your system has the resources, it would be advisable to install Windows into a VM, especially if you need it regularly.

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A very lightweight and highly-recommended antivirus is Microsoft Security Essentials.

Have been using since release, and it works well, have yet to become infected or have any negative effects.

Microsoft Security Essentials runs quietly and efficiently in the background so that you are free to use your Windows-based PC the way you want—without interruptions or long computer wait times.

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I would say: very insecure.

The majority of viruses come from infected emails, websites and downloaded software (p2p, direct downloads, etc)

If you don't have antivirus you are wide-open to getting infected. Infact, it wouldn't surprise me if you already were.

Get some AV fast!

There are good free ones around - Avast, AVG Free, and many many more.

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If OP is concerned about system overhead, Microsoft Security Essentials is probably the best free tool as it's very lightweight. –  Shinrai Mar 22 '11 at 19:56
    
I don't trust Microsoft to make my OS secure - what makes you think I'd ever trust them with a security product?! –  Majenko Mar 22 '11 at 19:58
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MSE is a very good product, but if you're the type to let vendor bias get in your way I suppose that's your right. –  Shinrai Mar 22 '11 at 20:06
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If MS had done their job properly in the first place there'd be no need for AV software... –  Majenko Mar 22 '11 at 20:10
    
I've run both an XP and Vista system with no AV for years, never had a problem. I do periodic scans with some tools, but never find anything. All I need is some script blocking and some passive defenses. If you're already behind a firewall, then the only thing that makes your system insecure is you. If you REALLY don't want AV, try running your browser in Sandboxie. –  MaQleod Mar 22 '11 at 20:12

if you know what you're doing: secure enough. Just make sure you're behind a router/firewall that does not allow everything to come through. Personally I haven't used any AV/AntiSpyware in about years, not at work and not at home, on 5 different machines with 2000/XP and Win7 and I only got bitten once. For me, that single problem in 10 years isn't worth it.

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Make sure you run only as a normal non-admin user and leave user access control turned on so you get prompted for things which need elevation. By the sound of things you are savvy enough to make sensible decisions about when to grant access or not.

I have happily run Windows systems with no active antivirus for many years without infection (and yes, I do check periodically using something like MBAM). But then I have clients and acquaintances who get infected even when they do run AV all the time.

Running as local admin (on older systems) and turning off UAC (on Vista or 7) are the two things which seem most likely to get you infected pretty quickly if you are not prudent about opening emails (and especially attachments) and browsing (and especially downloading programs or other material such as 'free' music and movies).

Usually, if you run as admin you have the right to turn off, disable or even uninstall your antivirus, and therefore any rogue program running in your user context (such as drive-by malware on a website) has the same ability.

I only use antivirus software to keep the elephants away.

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