Spybots and Spambots and Viruse… no viruses?

October is Information Security Month, or Computer Security Month, or something like that. The point is, yesterday on the morning shows were two guys from Homeland Security (!) talking about securing one’s personal computer. They started down the list of standard precautions to take: Firewall, anti-spyware, and anti-spam devices.

And then they stopped.

No anti-virus?

Apparently they’re not alone – the question has been raised since 2007. In fact, the year before,

Microsoft co-president Jim Allchin stated that Windows Vista’s new security features are so strong that anti-virus software is no longer required. In fact, he boldly claimed that he would have no problem letting his seven-year-old son use a Vista computer without any anti-virus software installed.

. Virus prevalence – or at least, the coverage given to it – is a lot lower than it used to be; the days of a single virus toppling world networks is five or more years in the past. But there’s still as many virii in the wild. What gives? Is it the lack of prestige for virus writers (since they’re now primarily known as “script kiddies”)? I don’t know… but it’s definitely an interesting phenomenon. For example, this article , the “Top Computer Virus Threats in 2008” doesn’t mention… well, viruses in the sense of Michelangelo or the old-school viruses. In fact, it’s hard to get a real sense of the prevalence of viruses (at least, for me), because the stuff I turned up in searches lumped in spyware and other types of malware.

To be fair, US-CERT’s tip of the day for today is “Understanding Anti-Virus Software”. And Wikipedia’s timeline of notable viruses is interesting reading.

Regardless, the links above (firewall, anti-spyware, anti-spam, and anti-virus) are to the Pricelessware archives, where you can find free (yes, free) PC software to fill all those needs.

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