To scan or not to scan?

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ToLazyToThink
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To scan or not to scan?

Postby ToLazyToThink » Thu Dec 20, 2007 11:53 am UTC

For the mundanes, a virus scanner is required.

But, for us?

Do you bother with a virus/maleware scanner anymore?

ToLazyToThink
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Re: To scan or not to scan?

Postby ToLazyToThink » Thu Dec 20, 2007 11:54 am UTC

My take on the matter:

I used to use one, but then I realized it had been years since it had actually done me any good. In fact, it's usually only a source of headaches and incompatibility. I keep my software patched, my data redundant, and my backups somewhat recent. On the occasions when I find myself downloading exe's from the seedier side of the net (usually patching my _legally_ purchased games [a different rant]), I use an online scanner and/or a VM.

In short, I find I'm better off without a virus/maleware scanner. On the rare occasion when something gets through, all it takes is a simple reimage and I'm back in business.

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wing
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Re: To scan or not to scan?

Postby wing » Thu Dec 20, 2007 2:50 pm UTC

When I used Windows on a daily basis, I didn't have any sort of virus or malware scanner/protection/etc. Once a year, I'd appropriate Nod32 and ${MALWARE_UTILS} and do a complete scan. I have had neither a scanner nor a single virus since I moved from Win98 to WinXP. I have not had any malware since the about the third time I've ever done a scan historically (yes, the utils would still have a field day on my yearly scan because ZOMG TRACKING COOKIES AND ZOMG I'M A NOT A NOOB SO MY REGISTRY AND HOSTS FILE AND ETC. ETC. ETC LOOK HACKED but those are nonissues, have nothing to do with actual malware and are just a feel-good thing to make people think they're doing themselves some good by wasting CPU time with product x)

And I *DO* spend time on the seedier side of the tubes. In other news, a lot of virus engines falsely report any exe containing the string "keygen" or any of dozens of warez group names. Always with some delightfully stupid fake virus name, too. Like W32/Trojan. Brilliant. As long as you're careful about your sources for such things and stick to reputable release groups, you won't ever run into a legitimate issue.
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Endless Mike
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Re: To scan or not to scan?

Postby Endless Mike » Thu Dec 20, 2007 3:19 pm UTC

I have AVG running in the background. I use it to scan anything I download from unknown sources and it does a daily system scan when I'm at work. I've never had any trouble with incompatibilities, although it rarely catches anything that's genuinely a virus. (Rename something to not-a-virus.exe and see what a scanner says. :mrgreen:)

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Re: To scan or not to scan?

Postby pieaholicx » Thu Dec 20, 2007 3:45 pm UTC

I don't really scan due to not feeling a need to. I don't download random files, I don't run random executables, I don't download email attachments from an unknown source, I (pretty much) only go to sites I know. The fact that my systems have a tendency to die frequently, and the fact that my desktop barely sees any use beyond gaming, both contribute to staying pretty clean. I'll probably try a scan soon with ClamAV and that Nod32 program that was mentioned.
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Re: To scan or not to scan?

Postby b.i.o » Thu Dec 20, 2007 5:56 pm UTC

I have AVG running but I might get rid of it. It hasn't caught anything in literally like 5 years.

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Re: To scan or not to scan?

Postby LikwidCirkel » Thu Dec 20, 2007 6:02 pm UTC

I have hardly ever used any form of anti-virus or anti-spyware. For a while, I used F-secure because it was free for students at my university. After about a year of it finding absolutely nothing, and just slowing my system down, I got rid of it. I just make sure my Windows machines are behind a properly configured router, and I don't do stupid shit.

The ONLY infections that I have ever had including legal malware, or viruses, was stupid msbb from a "marketing" company called 180 solutions which got installed from elaborate "drive-by-installs" that used ActiveX exploits in MSIE. It happened twice, and it wasn't even me using my computer either time. I no longer ever use MSIE, unless I really need it to test something.

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Re: To scan or not to scan?

Postby Clumpy » Fri Dec 21, 2007 12:15 am UTC

I've noticed that those who scan the most always have the most viruses and spyware. It's counterintuitive but I stopped using AdAware, SpyBot, and antivirus software years ago and haven't had a problem since. Maybe the dang compy's immune system gets stronger or something.

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Re: To scan or not to scan?

Postby photosinensis » Fri Dec 21, 2007 12:50 am UTC

Well, I don't use Windows. Therefore, I don't worry about things, and just maintain good practices.
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Re: To scan or not to scan?

Postby wing » Fri Dec 21, 2007 2:05 am UTC

Another thing I forgot to mention. I also stopped patching Windows. I was running a BONE STOCK Vista install from the day it RTM'd up until I cut over to Linux. When I cut over from XP to Vista, it hadn't been patched for nearly 9 months.
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Re: To scan or not to scan?

Postby Amnesiasoft » Fri Dec 21, 2007 2:35 am UTC

Anti-malware software is a complete waste of processing time for anyone who has common sense as far as I'm concerned. Only thing I ever got was the blaster worm...3 weeks after everyone else in my house got it. I had to download the fix for it for all the other computers. (I went with "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" as the reason to not install the patch on my computer at the time)

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Endless Mike
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Re: To scan or not to scan?

Postby Endless Mike » Fri Dec 21, 2007 2:16 pm UTC

Clumpy wrote:I've noticed that those who scan the most always have the most viruses and spyware. It's counterintuitive but I stopped using AdAware, SpyBot, and antivirus software years ago and haven't had a problem since. Maybe the dang compy's immune system gets stronger or something.

Your argument is counterintuitive. Of course people who regularly run anti-malware software will find more of it than those who don't.

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Re: To scan or not to scan?

Postby Tei » Fri Dec 21, 2007 2:39 pm UTC

i dont use virusscaners, because i notice the small glitchs and errors that a virus create.

for other people a computer is a black box, but to me is a machine where the smaller glitch is readable and logical.

virus scaners are only for people that trusth in magic and are bad in math and logic.

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Re: To scan or not to scan?

Postby optionalredmark » Fri Dec 21, 2007 5:35 pm UTC

I'm a fedora user, but I still check my processes & bandwidth on my boxes - out of habit, mostly. I agree that the virus scanners are kind of crappy, but having a scanner to look over attachments you ARE going to download is not a bad idea. Just don't have the app run 24/7.

How about bots? They're quiet, use very little resources, and can be installed from website scripts embedded on myspace, facebook, amazon, forums, etc. Most people never know they get infected, since bots don't harm the host PC.

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Re: To scan or not to scan?

Postby Hangar » Fri Dec 21, 2007 8:01 pm UTC

I ditched my Symantec firewall/virus scanner a while back and started using ZoneAlarm and Avast. It took me a while to connect the dots, but I thought my computer was dying. Avast was set to check basically every file read from the disk and everything downloaded from the internet. And ZoneAlarm was a bit redundant over the router I was using. Ended up uninstalling ZoneAlarm and disabling most of Avast's functionality. Now I just have it check mail and certain types of downloaded files.

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Re: To scan or not to scan?

Postby enk » Fri Dec 21, 2007 8:10 pm UTC

Tei wrote:i dont use virusscaners, because i notice the small glitchs and errors that a virus create.


While I don't have that much experience in this field, I think there are a lot of things youl (not you specifically, but most who didn't actually build the OS) will be unable to notice. Thus, your box could be contributing to the amounts of spam the world suffers from :|
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Re: To scan or not to scan?

Postby ToLazyToThink » Fri Dec 21, 2007 10:44 pm UTC

enk wrote:
Tei wrote:i dont use virusscaners, because i notice the small glitchs and errors that a virus create.


While I don't have that much experience in this field, I think there are a lot of things youl (not you specifically, but most who didn't actually build the OS) will be unable to notice. Thus, your box could be contributing to the amounts of spam the world suffers from :|


Fortunately most of the maleware is pretty poorly written. It's kind of surprising considering how much money they supposedly make from it. Even when you get a super bug, it tends to be packaged along with a bunch of other poorly written maleware, so all it's hiding ends up being useless anyway.

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Re: To scan or not to scan?

Postby enk » Fri Dec 21, 2007 10:49 pm UTC

ToLazyToThink wrote:Fortunately most of the maleware is pretty poorly written. It's kind of surprising considering how much money they supposedly make from it. Even when you get a super bug, it tends to be packaged along with a bunch of other poorly written maleware, so all it's hiding ends up being useless anyway.


Well, some of it may be poorly written, but certainly not all of it. Peoples computers do get fucked up my malware/viruses every day.
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Re: To scan or not to scan?

Postby spelunker » Fri Dec 21, 2007 11:13 pm UTC

on the OSX side I have ClamXav, but I run it only rarely. My windows side has antivirus, but because of the school's firewall I don't see anything.

I think it's always a good idea to at least run it every once in a while, if it isn't going to be on all the time.

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Re: To scan or not to scan?

Postby d3adf001 » Sun Dec 23, 2007 5:31 am UTC

i see no point since from what i remember clamav scans for windows viruses

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Re: To scan or not to scan?

Postby Workaphobia » Tue Dec 25, 2007 6:24 pm UTC

In my experience, anti-virus tools have done far more damage to my own and my family's computers than any actual virus. I just don't worry about malware unless something on my machine behaves suspiciously; I can't remember the last time I ran a scan and came up with anything legitimately dangerous (not a tracking cookie).

An automated tool actively checking email attachments (if I didn't use gmail) would be unacceptable - I don't need to be delayed and notified that a jpeg image is "safe". It's like bringing all the frustrations and delays of airport security into our daily lives. Most of these tools are downright evil about update and subscription nags, and for what? Where were they in the months before Mark Russinovitch broke the Sony BMG Rootkit story? Who do they really work for?

I'll stick with a self-serviced, clean system, thank you very much.

Tei wrote:i dont use virusscaners, because i notice the small glitchs and errors that a virus create.

for other people a computer is a black box, but to me is a machine where the smaller glitch is readable and logical.

virus scaners are only for people that trusth in magic and are bad in math and logic.

What particular glitches and errors are you referring to? Under Linux, one might detect a rootkit by noticing deviations in the behavior of command line programs, or the loss of custom-compiled features. What would you look for under Windows?
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Re: To scan or not to scan?

Postby enk » Tue Dec 25, 2007 10:11 pm UTC

Workaphobia wrote:Under Linux, one might detect a rootkit by noticing deviations in the behavior of command line programs, or the loss of custom-compiled features. What would you look for under Windows?


Windows has a command line too :|
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Re: To scan or not to scan?

Postby Workaphobia » Tue Dec 25, 2007 10:24 pm UTC

enk wrote:
Workaphobia wrote:Under Linux, one might detect a rootkit by noticing deviations in the behavior of command line programs, or the loss of custom-compiled features. What would you look for under Windows?


Windows has a command line too :|


Yes, but somehow I doubt the average piece of windows malware will be primarily focused on hacking my "dir" builtin command. And I don't use cmd.exe anyway; I have cygwin on all the windows machines that I need to use a command line on. Besides, rootkits like XCP don't go for userspace command line applications, they go for system calls.

So as a windows user, what would you look for that indicates you might have malware, besides things like maxing out cpu time and network bandwidth?
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Re: To scan or not to scan?

Postby wing » Tue Dec 25, 2007 10:45 pm UTC

Workaphobia wrote:It's like bringing all the frustrations and delays of airport security into our daily lives.
While I agree with the sentiment, I disagree a bit with your choice of analogy.

Airport security is unintrusive and easy to deal with compared to this stuff. Airport security only makes you say goodbye to your friends a little bit earlier, take off your shoes, unbag your electronics, and runs your stuff through an X-ray machine and you through a metal detector. Yes, it's inconvenient. Yes, many of the rules are inappropriate and the whole damned thing is arguably unnecessary. But once you're through security, you're through. They don't follow you around, analyzing everything you do, proclaiming that the soda you just bought *MIGHT* be a liquid binary explosive and examining it until you're late for your flight.
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Re: To scan or not to scan?

Postby someguy » Tue Dec 25, 2007 11:11 pm UTC

AVG. It hardly ever has a chance to catch anything, but I feel safer having it around. I scan downloaded files and such when I remember to/can be bothered to.
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Re: To scan or not to scan?

Postby enk » Wed Dec 26, 2007 1:05 am UTC

Workaphobia wrote:
enk wrote:
Workaphobia wrote:Under Linux, one might detect a rootkit by noticing deviations in the behavior of command line programs, or the loss of custom-compiled features. What would you look for under Windows?


Windows has a command line too :|


Yes, but somehow I doubt the average piece of windows malware will be primarily focused on hacking my "dir" builtin command. And I don't use cmd.exe anyway; I have cygwin on all the windows machines that I need to use a command line on. Besides, rootkits like XCP don't go for userspace command line applications, they go for system calls.

So as a windows user, what would you look for that indicates you might have malware, besides things like maxing out cpu time and network bandwidth?


I don't know much about this, but if a rootkit that messes with ls is made badly so the functionality isn't completely like ls, couldn't the same apply to a Windows GUI program?

And what would you look for in *nix if the rootkit doesn't go for userspace command line apps?
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Re: To scan or not to scan?

Postby Workaphobia » Wed Dec 26, 2007 6:08 am UTC

enk wrote:I don't know much about this, but if a rootkit that messes with ls is made badly so the functionality isn't completely like ls, couldn't the same apply to a Windows GUI program?

And what would you look for in *nix if the rootkit doesn't go for userspace command line apps?

I'm not quite sure about the second part; as for the first, the point is that the rootkit would go for the system calls that list directories, which all userspace programs use. This immediately hides certain files (in the case of XCP, those beginning with "$SYS$") from all gui and command line apps alike.
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Re: To scan or not to scan?

Postby enk » Wed Dec 26, 2007 11:18 pm UTC

Workaphobia wrote:
enk wrote:I don't know much about this, but if a rootkit that messes with ls is made badly so the functionality isn't completely like ls, couldn't the same apply to a Windows GUI program?

And what would you look for in *nix if the rootkit doesn't go for userspace command line apps?

I'm not quite sure about the second part; as for the first, the point is that the rootkit would go for the system calls that list directories, which all userspace programs use. This immediately hides certain files (in the case of XCP, those beginning with "$SYS$") from all gui and command line apps alike.


Ah, I see now.. but still, how would you know it's there? Do you keep a $SYS$ around and check if it's there once in a while? :)
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Re: To scan or not to scan?

Postby Tei » Fri Dec 28, 2007 9:57 am UTC

I look at memory process, disk access, etc,... some operations only need one disk access (or a single audible access). A virus will do another one, creating 2 sounds where only 1 is needed.

I also look to the router lights. If my box is zombified, the lights of "DTA" will bright on moments sould be disabled.

Maybe I have a rootkit or something. But then:
- Is well programed, so It don't disturb with bugs other apps
- It don't create a visible task, and dont use much ram
- It don't create extra work on the HD
- It don't create extra work on the Network

You can apply "Duck test" on this "invisible" virus:
- If a bird looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it's probably a duck.

Conclusion:
If a virus is invisible, don't use memory, don't use disk access and don't use network, then probably you soulnt not call it a virus. And I don't care to have that type of virus, but If there are one, I will detect anyway by other task I do.

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Re: To scan or not to scan?

Postby EvanED » Sat Dec 29, 2007 12:01 am UTC

Tei wrote: If a virus is invisible, don't use memory, don't use disk access and don't use network, then probably you soulnt not call it a virus.

What if it does, but only a tiny amount? Or uses all of its network accesses at 4am when you're not likely to be looking at the router lights? Or only sends information when another packet goes out?

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Re: To scan or not to scan?

Postby HappySmileMan » Sat Dec 29, 2007 8:43 pm UTC

I use Linux so i don't use anti-virus...
Anyone capable of running something with root privileges without my knowledge probably couldn't be stopped by AV anyway.

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Re: To scan or not to scan?

Postby Larson » Mon Dec 31, 2007 6:47 pm UTC

I have AVG kicking around just for good measure. But as it has been said many times, good practices and common sense are the best tools you can have. Even having spent plenty of time in the slums of the internet, I've procured maybe one or two viruses in the years I've owned a computer.

Workaphobia wrote:So as a windows user, what would you look for that indicates you might have malware, besides things like maxing out cpu time and network bandwidth?

I just keep an eye out for odd behavior of the machine. I've spent so much time sitting in front of Windows that even subtle behavior changes really stand out.

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Re: To scan or not to scan?

Postby zenten » Mon Dec 31, 2007 7:15 pm UTC

Tei wrote:I look at memory process, disk access, etc,... some operations only need one disk access (or a single audible access). A virus will do another one, creating 2 sounds where only 1 is needed.

I also look to the router lights. If my box is zombified, the lights of "DTA" will bright on moments sould be disabled.

Maybe I have a rootkit or something. But then:
- Is well programed, so It don't disturb with bugs other apps
- It don't create a visible task, and dont use much ram
- It don't create extra work on the HD
- It don't create extra work on the Network

You can apply "Duck test" on this "invisible" virus:
- If a bird looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it's probably a duck.

Conclusion:
If a virus is invisible, don't use memory, don't use disk access and don't use network, then probably you soulnt not call it a virus. And I don't care to have that type of virus, but If there are one, I will detect anyway by other task I do.


Or it's a good old fashioned virus that will just mess up your machine on a specific date.

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Re: To scan or not to scan?

Postby Tei » Mon Dec 31, 2007 8:32 pm UTC

zenten wrote:
Conclusion:
If a virus is invisible, don't use memory, don't use disk access and don't use network, then probably you soulnt not call it a virus. And I don't care to have that type of virus, but If there are one, I will detect anyway by other task I do.


Or it's a good old fashioned virus that will just mess up your machine on a specific date.


Nah.. that virus are very dirty, and modified binarys or disk sectors, and create random problems on the computer. Also may work poorly with a NT based system if where written for a W9X.

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Re: To scan or not to scan?

Postby sethicus » Mon Dec 31, 2007 8:45 pm UTC

I don't run a scan program. I have only ever gotten a virus once, and that was from a file a very good friend sent me. Needless to say, we were then not on good terms.
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Re: To scan or not to scan?

Postby e946 » Sun Jan 13, 2008 7:13 am UTC

I have norton (came with the computer), but I haven't paid to upgrade the subscription in years.

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Re: To scan or not to scan?

Postby enk » Sun Jan 13, 2008 9:35 pm UTC

e946 wrote:I have norton (came with the computer), but I haven't paid to upgrade the subscription in years.


You could try to get rid of it and see how much faster your computer runs.

If I got a computer with Norton preinstalled, I'd format it right away.
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Re: To scan or not to scan?

Postby LittleChrist » Sun Jan 13, 2008 9:48 pm UTC

I'm running Eset's Smart Security. Its based of their NOD32 Antivirus software with new malware, adware and spyware protection and a firewall. I used to just run NOD32 Antivirus, but my subscription was up so I upgraded. Its light, its quiet, its highly customizable and I would recommend it to anyone since they released version 3.0 with a more (read: inexperienced) user friendly interface.
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Re: To scan or not to scan?

Postby notallama » Sat Jan 26, 2008 1:25 pm UTC

i keep nod32 running most of the time. i mainly do this because other people use my computer.
i turn it off when i'm gaming, and i usually don't turn it back on afterwards.

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Re: To scan or not to scan?

Postby stardust » Fri Sep 19, 2008 4:41 am UTC

You can say virus scan is for the nubs... buuut you never know what you (or someone else) might pick up. The shop I used to work in sold Nod32 and so we put that on any machine with no anti-virus or an expired one. Then again, these were machines brought into the shop.

I use linux (sorry! :)) but I did install Nod32 on my family's computer. It's nowhere near as much of a strain on the system as Norton or the others.

Basically it depends on what you're using the machine for. If you browse a lot, or acquire large amounts of warez and porn, perhaps the virus scan is for you. If all you're doing is playing games of video editing, then the AV is stealing your precious processor time. If anyone else but you uses the computer, get an anti-virus.

A better way of doing things was mentioned before, set it up like a *nix system and make it so that you don't actually have permission to install software - you have to log in as admin to do it.


Alternately, you could do it my friend's way (and this is my favorite) - have a fresh install of windows, with all your games and apps installed on one partition, and save the other for data. Take an image of the system partition, hang onto it, and every couple of weeks, drop the image back on.


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