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Browser makers say decry the use of antivirus -- except Microsoft Defender

Published:

Last Edited: January 29, 2017, 11:13 am

Anyone who has visited my blog in the past probably knows that I have been advocating for years that Windows users should completely remove all anti-virus software — except for Microsoft's built-in Defender software (which used to be called Microsoft Security Essentials).

Now it seems that major technology companies — the companies that build the web browser that you are using right now to look at this post — are saying the same thing.  Using McAfee, Semantec, Kasperski, etc., actually erodes the security of your web browser, rather than making it more secure.  The article I have linked below describes why this is.  Basically it boils down to the fact that the browser makers build in all kinds of advanced threat prevention and then when you install anti-virus software it basically disables all that built-in security and replaces it with their own rather insecure and outdated program code.

If you're using Windows 8, 8.1, or 10, all the protection you need is built into the operating system, and installing additional security software is not only pointless, but makes your computer less secure, in the opinion of the biggest technology companies.  Windows 7 and Windows Vista did not come with the software built-in, but it can be installed for free.  Whether it is built-in or installed by you, any additional anti-virus software can be safely uninstalled using the Programs and Features applet in the Windows Control Panel.

Here's a link to the article in question:

https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2017/01/antivirus-is-bad/

Entry #677

Comments

1.
konaneComment by konane - January 29, 2017, 11:22 am
That's what I've been using all along. However question please ... what about Malwarebytes? Is it considered an anti-virus or other type software?
2.
Comment by amber123 - January 29, 2017, 11:31 am
A couple of weeks ago, Garyo recommended installing Roguekiller by MS, and boy did my computer run faster after a full scan. It deleted two programs which I had installed previously, which I thought were safe. One was "search lock" which supposedly protected my online travels by not allowing others to see what sites I was visiting. I was tired of data mining companies so I thought this was a good idea. After Roguekiller deleted this feature, I learned that search lock did more damage than to protect. In fact search lock was the one doing the data mining..ha ha

The second thing it deleted surprised the heck out of me. It was Google Chrome as a default browser. So now I keep getting a message saying that Chrome is not my default browser, and recommends I reinstall it. Although I do use Google, in order to get my top five bookmarks at the apps menu bar at the top of my screen, I have to open another tab to see them. That's fine with me because if MS and Roguekiller thinks it's bad, then that's good enough for me. I don't mind taking that extra step to open tabs.

Oh, i almost forgot, it also deleted CCleaner.

I used to use Registry Mechanic, but no longer use. When I went to purchase it again last year, it turns out they are no longer in business. I'm guessing too many people were complaining about the program deleting registry keys that would eventually damage the behavior of computer systems.

I only have two cleaners, Defender, and roguekiller, and now my computer runs super fast.
3.
ToddComment by Todd - January 29, 2017, 11:32 am
Yes, Malwarebytes is the same type of unnecessary software that can inadvertently make your browser less secure.
4.
konaneComment by konane - January 29, 2017, 11:35 am
Thank you very much Todd.
5.
ToddComment by Todd - January 29, 2017, 11:37 am
amber123, just so you know, Roguekiller is not Microsoft software, so I would not necessarily trust it implicitly to properly clean your computer. Google Chrome is just fine as a default browser, so it's changing the default is not a good sign. Frankly, I would trust CCleaner sooner than Roguekiller -- an ultimately my advice is to delete all of them after you're happy your computer is "clean".   Then just keep it that way by not installing any toolbars, plugins, "security" software, "cleaning" software, or anything else like that. Be very careful about installing free software, because many times they try to install other crapware at the same time in order to make money.

FYI, at one time I used registry-cleaning software myself, but since that time I have learned that that might not have been a good idea. So now my recommendation is to avoid registry cleaners too.
6.
Comment by amber123 - January 29, 2017, 11:53 am
Wow, I could've sworn Gary said it was part of MS. Good to know. Thanks for the recommendations.

You're right, FREE only means red flags..
7.
CARBOBComment by CARBOB - January 29, 2017, 3:48 pm
Todd, I take your advice seriously. I use only Windows defender. Last week I opened an email and the email was had an malware. Got a message "Your computer has been blocked. I immediately shut down, rebooted and did a scan. Defender found it and isolated it for me to delete, thanks again to you.
8.
ToddComment by Todd - January 29, 2017, 3:54 pm
Awesome Carbob, great to hear! :)
9.
MzDuffleBagladyComment by MzDuffleBaglady - January 29, 2017, 8:40 pm
Yes, great information!
Thanks for sharing.
10.
LottoVantageComment by LottoVantage - January 29, 2017, 11:16 pm
Have been using Defender for years with no problems. Now, Microsoft has come out with Trend Micro Antivirus+ I have upgraded to it and so far so good. Will see what happens from here.
11.
ToddComment by Todd - January 30, 2017, 10:02 am
No LottoVantage, Trend Micro is NOT Microsoft software. It is an example of the type third-party anti-malware software that is unnecessary and leads to insure web browsing.
12.
LottoVantageComment by LottoVantage - January 30, 2017, 5:42 pm
Thanks for the info Todd. Will be changing back to Defender soon...
13.
mikeintexasComment by mikeintexas - February 1, 2017, 7:08 pm
I've been thinking about doing away with my a/v program since I read a similar article that pretty much said the same thing as the one linked to above. I have tried all kinds, both paid and free and the thing that bothered me the most was the huge amt. of resources the paid ones used and the constant nag screens on most of the free ones...and even they weren't exactly light in terms of memory and CPU used. I had most recently gone to Panda and when it updated, it froze my computer for however long it took. (Plus, I was a little leery of "cloud based protection")

Defender doesn't exactly have a small footprint either, but the kicker was it's already on here as well as it being a MS product. Most reviews say it works "OK", but doesn't test out as well as some of the others. So far so good. I had used it before to run a quick scan, but the first time I ran a full scan it found the EICAR text file I had stored on an external hard drive.
14.
Shawn67Comment by Shawn67 - May 21, 2017, 5:49 pm
I've been using Defender for the last 2 years and can say that I noticed an immediate speed improvement in my system, and (knock on wood), haven't had a single security issue yet. Thanks for posting this Todd!
15.
Comment by anya2z - March 24, 2020, 3:04 pm
Is the information on not necessary to add antivirus to Windows still applicable? I have a new laptop with Windows 10 to replace Windows 7. I have always added an AV. The sales person encouraged me not to buy AV as he uses Defender alone.
16.
ToddComment by Todd - March 24, 2020, 3:18 pm
Yes, it applies now more than ever. Stick with just the built-in Windows Security (no longer called Defender).

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