Is Antivirus Useful, and How Do You Safeguard Your Device?


Whether you are dealing with people or machines, viruses can seem like a real threat. Because of that, the antivirus industry, for both people and machines, is big business. Concentrating on antivirus for machines and devices, this week we asked our writers if they found antivirus software useful and how they safeguarded their devices.

Our Opinions

All in all, our writers mostly agree. No one seems to use it very regularly. Miguel sees antivirus software as “something that gives a slightly false sense of security.” He explains that “viruses have grown in sophistication and are often not easily removed by standard antivirus software.” As for safeguarding, he replied that he does so “with my own prudence.

Vamsi doesn’t use any antivirus on his Windows PC other than the default one that is provided by Microsoft. Yet, he does use Comodo Firewall as “it makes it easy to configure different firewall rules and even alerts me when a program is trying to connect to the Internet.” As for his phone, he doesn’t use any antivirus as “they do nothing for me other than consuming all the memory.


That seems to be a popular opinion. Damien says he doesn’t use any antivirus solution for either his phone or computer because “I don’t find them useful at all and they consume plenty of memory and resources.” Trevor agrees, saying when he has tried several different antivirus tools, they slowed down his phone.

Derrik explains that antivirus tools “are basically blacklists. They often don’t search for active threats. Often times users get scared into installing these tools even though they aren’t really that useful.” He doesn’t use them on any of the platforms he is on as he doesn’t “believe that they serve a purpose by constantly being there.” If he does happen to get a virus, he uses an antivirus tool to remove the threat, then uninstalls it.

Because I’m an Apple person and viruses were not much of a threat for a very long time, it’s not something I consider. Macs are open to malware, but it was just never much of a concern of mine. Now dealing mostly with iOS, it’s still not a large concern of mine.

Your Opinion

Do you agree with our writers? Or do you use antivirus software fearing that there is a huge threat out there? What other ways do you safeguard your devices? Did our writers’ opinions change your mind at all? Let us know in the comments below.

Image credit: Norton Antivirus 4.0

Laura Tucker Laura Tucker

Laura has spent nearly 20 years writing news, reviews, and op-eds, with more than 10 of those years as an editor as well. She has exclusively used Apple products for the past three decades. In addition to writing and editing at MTE, she also runs the site's sponsored review program.


  1. – Antivirus always makes your system slower
    – Regularly blocks legitimate programs and files (worldwide regularly Windows systems are destroyed by a virus scanner)
    – Stupid/unnecessary questions (you like to allow rundll.dll? you like to update? you like to upgrade?)
    – Spam (every year ‘you have to upgrade for $$$’ announcement)
    – Regularly destroys the internet connection
    – Virus scanners are a palliative, preventative measures are much more important and smarter. Creates false sense of security, while it is not a preventive measure.
    – Virus scanners have many unnecessary junk such as a firewall (everyone already has a firewall of the OS + hardware firewall/NAT on the modem/router)
    – Wear of the hardware (through daily scans… Your data becomes less secure by this)
    – Screen pollution by extra buttons, toolbars sys icons
    – Personally I have nothing but inky experiences with all brands of scanners, except for Microsoft Security Essentials. That it detects less does not matter to me, it detects the major virus outbreaks very well (better than the big brands), and it prevents: blacklist of websites, uninstalling Adobe/Java, stops all kinds of advertising, etc.

    1. There are viruses on Linux, too, lots of people demonstrated it, but in general, Linux users are more computer-literate, and that’s why they avoid them much more efficiently. In the same fashion, those same Linux users never get a virus on their Windows machines, because, you know, they’re tech-savvy and don’t do dumb naive stuff ;)

      1. Besides the literacy of Linux users, the main reason ‘lots of people’ have demonstrated that it is possible for a Linux system to have a virus is because it’s so unheard of.

        You have to actively search for and put in the effort to find any website with a Linux virus software available. It’s still not financially viable to target Linux with viruses.

  2. Sounds like someone is using the home version of Norton which comes with a firewall that you haven’t configured.
    Try getting the endpoint version.
    As for Linux it’s a myth just like Apple doesn’t get hacked. Apple was actually the first OS to get hacked ever. China just did a massive hacking on Apple computers by infecting apps.
    Linux is a flavor of Unix. Hacking open source OS is the easiest way to learn command line hacking.
    Oh yes getting back to Anti-Virus or not. Let’s put it this way would you run around with your pants around your knees and your butt hanging out?

  3. i use an antivirus program but it isn’t running all the time, only when i wish to clean my system. i don’t go to “iffy” sites nor do i download random things. my puter is as safe as i can make it and haven’t had any problems in 4 years now. now…if only i could say the same for my emails! i get a bazillion junk mails every day. any suggestions on that? other than not having an email address?

    1. “i don’t go to “iffy” sites”
      Maybe the following article will enlighten you on what sites might infect you with malware:

  4. Anti-virus program are reactive, not proactive. They protect you (maybe) from known viruses.

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