I have some questions regarding antivirus programs.

  • Is there any difference between Symantec antivirus software and Norton antivirus software? I saw on our school's website they are referred to as SAV and NAV. They are both freely available to the students. Which one is better for Windows 7 and which one is better for Windows XP?
  • Under Ubuntu, is it necessary to have antivirus software installed? Our school also offers SAV for Linux v1.0.7-14. Do I need to get an antivirus program installed on my Ubuntu 8.10 machine?
  • 4
    "Better" is a very subjective term... – Sasha Chedygov Nov 18 '09 at 6:22

If you have to choose between those two, I would go for the Symantec branded product — it is basically (almost) the same anti-virus engine but with a more serious user interface and in my experience it is a little bit faster and less of a resource hog. That being said, I personally wouldn't advise either.

If you are taking it because it is free, I would highly recommend you take a look at Microsoft Security Essentials. It is free and a brilliant piece of software — much better than many pay-for solutions that I have tested.

On your second question: Malware is not common under *nix environments at the moment. Just don't download scripts and files from places you do not trust and run them as root! I have seen so many people get their Linux boxes attacked / taken over because they run random software under the assumption that it is free.

If you are the sort of person who downloads random stuff, then maybe you should — if you are careful... Don't!

However, the majority of AV for *nix is usually just to stop malware on Windows boxes, so I am not sure how helpful against scripts and hacks it would really be anyway.

  • Don't blame me - it is 9 minutes between our answers - it took me time to write that and I was on the phone - I didn't see what you wrote - and looking through it, you just said don't use symantec - I compared both and gave my opinion from using them both (you just said don't... his question actually asks what are the differences - so you did not answer his question). Again, with the second, you just said no - I explained why.... as for my history - take a look, I have been recommending Microsoft Security Essentials in pretty much any question that has come out asking about AV. – William Hilsum Nov 18 '09 at 22:56

They are both resource hogs. Just because something is free does not mean you have to use it. I would suggest looking into other alternatives. Microsoft Security Essentials is what I saw recommended on superuser before.

As for your second question, you can run Ubuntu without an anti-virus.

  • I'll agree -- I went through McAfee, Norton, and Kaspersky, and they were all resource hogs. Much as I hate to admit it, MS Security Essentials is much better behaved. – Daniel R Hicks Oct 1 '12 at 19:30

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