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One of the new features of Windows 8 is the UEFI "Secure Boot", "which uses a public-key infrastructure to verify the integrity of the operating system and prevent unauthorized programs such as bootkits from infecting the device".

According to this Wikipedia reference:

The UEFI 2.2 specification adds a protocol known as Secure boot, which can secure the boot process by preventing the loading of drivers or OS loaders that are not signed with an acceptable digital signature. When secure boot is enabled, it is initially placed in "Setup" mode, which allows a public key known as the "Platform key" (PK) to be written to the firmware. Once the key is written, secure boot enters "User" mode, where only drivers and loaders signed with the platform key can be loaded by the firmware. Additional "Key Exchange Keys" (KEK) can be added to a database stored in memory to allow other certificates to be used, but they must still have a connection to the private portion of the Platform key. Secure boot can also be placed in "Custom" mode, where additional public keys can be added to the system that do not match the private key.

Probably 99% of known viruses (if not 100%) take advantage of some boot driver or boot process to transfer itself to system memory.

Assuming that I'm running a Windows 8 with Secure Boot on my UEFI system, could I feel safe to use my system without an anti-virus or even with a antivirus that open itself on Windows bootloader?

PS: Please explain if I completelly misunderstood the meaning of "Secure Boot" or UEFI features.

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closed as not constructive by Tom Wijsman, avirk, Hennes, ChrisF, 8088 Oct 25 '12 at 16:05

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Is the 99% of known viruses... a quote from somewhere? –  George Duckett Oct 25 '12 at 14:20
    
See also What extra security features does windows 8 offer over windows 7? (closed unfortunately) –  George Duckett Oct 25 '12 at 14:20
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This won't guard against you installing malware manually. –  ChrisF Oct 25 '12 at 14:21
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To be honest, I don't think any system is safe; there is always a way to exploit - yes, that gets fixed/patched until the next one at least! 10 years ago or so, we only had virus's (don't get into exact dates), now we have a huge amount of issues ending with 'ware (malware, spyware scareware etc). Even if W8 is very strong/protected today, it won't take long. Either way, you have a 12k rep; this means we all know you're going to get some form of AV :) –  Dave Rook Oct 25 '12 at 14:21
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For reference: The best protection against malware is not being a chump. Know what you're downloading and installing. I haven't needed AV in probably 10 years, because it's not hard to know when that 23.5KB file isn't really Office 2010 Super-Duper Edition. :P If people did some basic sanity checks before randomly saying "yes", malware infestations would practically disappear. –  cHao Oct 25 '12 at 14:35
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4 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Anti- Virus

Windows 8 already has anti-malware built in by default, just open Windows Defender and voila! It is there for a reason. UEFI does indeed secure system files by checking them on boot but in no way interferes with software security or the files you run on your PC. Malicious software can still be installed and run without a problem.

Malware will always find flaws and adapts so just keep it running as it doesn't hurt.

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As for UEFI iself

It does secure the OS but also enables also a whole new breed of boot virus, rootkits. There's potential for viruses since UEFI allows running custom code. However, as the UEFI implementations vary from manufacturer to manufacter, I don't think that's a huge threat right now.Besides, the latest specifications show that UEFI is capable of defending itself quite well - that includes driver signing, hash-based authentification etc. (see http://www.uefi.org/specs/download/UEFI_Spec_2_3_1.pdf).

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Most consumer PC's bios do not allow additional code to run from the uefi partition, business class, now that is a different story. –  Moab Oct 25 '12 at 22:48
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Nothing is safe.

Will UEFI eliminate the rootkit? Maybe, but I doubt it. It certainly does have the advantage of being new, relatively unused, and yet to be compromised. It's also going to be magnificently hard to exploit. Safe though? Never. As long as your machine is connected to a network, you will never have complete and total peace of mind. (And if you do unplug out of paranoia, disable USB drives!)

So I need an anti-virus?

I can't say that I've ever seen an anti-virus that caught everything, or even had a noticeable effect on the chances I catch a virus personally. Depending on your experience (and browsing habits) you may or may not "need" an anti-virus. But an anti-virus certainly shouldn't give you peace of mind either!

Would you rather have a virus or an anti-virus?

I hate anti-virus software so much I'd rather have a virus. Stop yelling at me for downloading Angry IP Scanner and Wireshark! At home I know I'll personally be rolling without an anti-virus for Windows 8. At work I'll probably install Windows Defender, as it's the only one that doesn't annoy me to death. To each their own!

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Microsoft Security Essentials cannot be installed on Windows 8. On Windows 8 its called Windows Defender and is able to find both malware and your typical virus –  Ramhound Oct 25 '12 at 21:05
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I wouldn't suggest running a PC without an antivirus. UEFI can only secure the pre-boot environment, not many viruses are designed to use that. Microsoft provides a built in Anti Virus with Windows 8, it's called as Windows Defender but it combine's the features of Microsoft Security Essentials.

You can run a computer without using a AV, it's just not safe, if you do not download and run files from suspicions sources, you can live without a real time scanner. The browser and autorun are the other two threats, by regularly updating third party plugins(like flash,java) and using good browsers, installation of viruses through browser exploits can be controlled.

Another good practice is to disable autorun, this prevents Malware from spreading through autorun (Autorun is disabled by default, but even then, I feel that forcing autoplay off is better :P). Also, maintaing a careful watch of all the process running is needed.

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autorun has be disabled by default since windows 7... tomshardware.com/news/… –  SnippetSpace Oct 25 '12 at 14:46
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@SnippetSpace Yes, I know about that, see the edit –  HackToHell Oct 25 '12 at 14:51
    
@HackToHell - Why would you force something that is already off, to be off, its already off and very hard to even enable. –  Ramhound Oct 25 '12 at 21:07
    
There is Autorun (disabled in W7), then there is AutoPlay (on by default in W7), i turn autoplay off because it is annoying, not because it is a threat. –  Moab Oct 25 '12 at 22:54
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Windows 8 comes with Windows Defender, more info here (under the Windows Defender section): Protecting you from malware

You could argue that is enough, but I personally use another virus/malware protection/detection program. I agree that many of these can be drains on performance.

If you do want an alternative/addition to windows defender, see below.


A good article comparing various antivirus options on Windows 8 can be found here:
Antivirus on Windows 8: Looking at Your Options

If you aren't sure of the need, you could always try a free one.

AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition: Though it had the lowest detection rate of the top four free antivirus programs with a 98.7 percent detection rate against known malware (Avast, Panda, and Avira finished with rates of 99.1 percent, 99.9 percent, and 99.7 percent, respectively), it handily outperformed Security Essentials (which finished with a detection rate of 97 percent). And though it wasn't as good at completely removing malware as Security Essentials (66.7 percent versus 80 percent), it was the only antivirus to disable 100 percent of detected malware; Security Essentials finished at 93 percent on this measure. AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition also tied Panda Cloud Antivirus for the top rate of blocking brand-new threats, at 85.7 percent, whereas Security Essentials was at 71.4 percent.

Avast Free Antivirus: Avast's freebie provided strong detection of known malware samples, at 99.1 percent. Its rate of completely removing malware (67 percent) fell short of Security Essentials' rate (80 percent) and the two programs delivered matching 93 percent rates for disabling active malware. Avast Free Antivirus did provide better blocking of real-world malware, achieving a 78.6 percent rate, compared to Security Essentials' 71.4 percent.

Panda Cloud Antivirus: This tool provided the second highest protection against known malware samples overall at 99.9 percent, compared to 97 percent by Security Essentials. Though Panda's malware repair percentage was among the lowest in the group of seven, it tied with AVG for the best performance at fully blocking brand-new threats, turning in a rate of 85.7 percent, versus Security Essentials' mark of 71.4 percent.

Avira Free Antivirus: Avira provided the third-highest detection rate (out of seven free antiviruses tested) for spotting known malware samples: 99.7 percent, compared to Security Essentials' rate of 97 percent. Though it scored lower than Security Essentials on AV-Test's remaining detection and repair tests, Avira did provide much faster scanning.

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Please base your answer on actual facts and references instead of basing it of assumptions and uneducated guessing. Your two paragraphs were suggesting something which might or might not be the case, so they actually don't tell anything we don't already know. –  Tom Wijsman Oct 25 '12 at 14:35
    
I didn't think I included anything that really needed backing up with proper references ala skeptics. Viruses reducing to 1% would be unlikely and tech savvy people are generally better at avoiding viruses. Many answers here offer opinions. –  George Duckett Oct 25 '12 at 14:43
    
I would not have the same advice as you. Defender works. Already there. Everything else is an impact on performance, impact on battery, impact on memory, and impact on pain-in-the-butt. No thanks. Defender is quiet in the background. 100% effective for 99% of typical users. –  Jerry Nixon Oct 25 '12 at 14:45
    
@GeorgeDuckett: But then you would be ignoring implications by changes like documented in docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:PcPQEzFoplYJ:https://… –  Tom Wijsman Oct 25 '12 at 14:54
    
@TomWijsman: That is an interesting read, but I stand by my original statement that viruses on windows will not be reduced to 1% (after the OS has been out for a while) of the current level. Virus makers are always looking for new ways of getting their programs on a user's machine, it is a continual arms race that I don't see going away any time soon. –  George Duckett Oct 25 '12 at 14:57
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