Solved Does XP still need antivirus nowadays?

December 31, 2012 at 19:22:05
Specs: Windows XP Service Pack 3, Pentium 4B 2.4GHz + 1GB RAM

So I remember back in the day (around the 2005 era) the issue of computer security had gotten to the point where an unprotected Windows XP PC connected to the internet would become infected within minutes. Indeed, when I installed ZoneAlarm for the very first time, long ago, it was only a matter of seconds before I started receiving warnings from the program that it had blocked an intrusion attempt.

Fast forward to the present day, and I can run a Windows 7 PC behind nothing more than a router with NAT and the basic Windows firewall, and not get infected at all.

The question is, does Windows XP (connected to the internet via a NAT router) with all updates and patches still require antivirus software? Or will it still be infected of its own accord, just like it would have been 7 to 8 years ago?

(this is for an old PC which I just installed a fresh copy of Windows XP SP3 on)


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✔ Best Answer
January 1, 2013 at 12:34:22

After XP support finishes in April 2014 it will gradually become less secure due to lack of security updates. See my tips here (part 1, then part 2):
http://www.computing.net/howtos/sho...

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks



#1
December 31, 2012 at 19:57:44

Absolutely. Give the Microsof MSE a try. Supplement with MalwareBytes and SuperAntiSpyware.

XP still very popular with those who write crap.

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#2
December 31, 2012 at 20:03:57

What about a cloud-based AV solution?
I've heard that MSE runs quite poorly on old XP computers

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#3
December 31, 2012 at 20:55:19

Of course you need anti-virus. The 3 most popular freebies are AVAST, AVG, & MSE. Personally, I run MSE & Malwarebytes on all my systems (2 with XP, 3 with Win7). If you don't want to run AV, install Linux.

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#4
December 31, 2012 at 22:51:30

I realise that, but will an unprotected XP PC in 2013 still become automatically infected after a few minutes like it would have in 2005?
Because I know for a fact that an unprotected Windows 7 PC does not.

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#5
January 1, 2013 at 00:04:18

Any flavor of windows can be infected in a matter of minutes when tied to always on internet...makes little difference if it takes 3 minutes or 3 weeks.

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#6
January 1, 2013 at 00:27:02

Today more than ever you need antivirus software, since viruses are now much more sophisticated and able to hide from your view, so without an equally sophisticated antivirus package like Norton Internet Security you will get zapped for sure.

I have no faith in the free ones. My son & grandson use them and I'm always having to
sort out their infections for them. I get none.


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#7
January 1, 2013 at 00:59:43

How long does it take nowadays? I've run an unprotected Win7 machine for two years without being infected

What is the best AV product for an old XP PC?


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#8
January 1, 2013 at 01:10:33

http://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/200...
So It can get infected, so it's only a matter of time before your infected. Top marks on your browsing habits.

Please reply and let us know if our help worked. Your feedback helps others. Maybe you?


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#9
January 1, 2013 at 12:34:22
✔ Best Answer

After XP support finishes in April 2014 it will gradually become less secure due to lack of security updates. See my tips here (part 1, then part 2):
http://www.computing.net/howtos/sho...

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks


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#10
January 1, 2013 at 16:40:44

Great tip, thanks!

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#11
January 2, 2013 at 14:23:56

What is your excuse for NOT running AV?

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#12
January 2, 2013 at 15:38:12

You need to understand the threat. What you describe with your first experience was port trojans and attempts to connect thru unprotected ports. Being behind a router makes this almost impossible compared to a direct internet connection.

Next you have the bad guys you invite in by going to a web site that is compromised or opening a email attachment from someone you don't know.

This is where AV in both scenerios protects a pc from infection... sometimes but not always.

Answers are only as good as the information you provide.
How to properly post a question:
Sorry no tech support via PM's


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#13
January 2, 2013 at 15:53:16

It is not an excuse for not running AV, it is a question of curiosity of whether an XP machine in 2013 will be infected without doing anything, like it would have during 2005.

So far Derek has the best answer but none of you have actually really answered the question.


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#14
January 2, 2013 at 16:07:53

Ok, point taken - so I'll try:

In short, given the conditions you stated in the last para of your original post if you just leave the computer on with no browser running it is unlikely to be infected, even without an AV.

It all changes when you go online and start browsing around. That is why I would agree with others that an AV is worth having, both now and particularly in the future with no further security updates. You can get AV's free which are quite good enough and are not intrusive.

Remember that the virus/trojan/rootkit writers have become far more sophisticated since 2005.

Hope that answers your question.

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks


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#15
January 2, 2013 at 16:12:49

Thanks for the answer.

On a related note, should I run an AV on my Windows XP mode virtual machine? (which I use for non internet purposes, but since the host has internet, the virtual machine also has internet access)


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#16
January 2, 2013 at 16:24:34

Re #15

"which I use for non internet purposes"

Off the top of my head I doubt it if you never go online with it. Writers of "nasties" are unlikely to spend time and effort dealing with the complexities of bridging through a VM to your XP.

However, I have minimal experience with Virtual Machines, so keep watching to see what others think.

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks


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#17
January 2, 2013 at 16:39:35

Well integration features are enabled, i.e. the virtual can access the host's files.

How likely is it nowadays for a hacker to intrude into a PC through open ports rather than via drive by downloads on web pages?


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#18
January 2, 2013 at 16:59:27

Your common hosts files are presumably checked by AV (or other security software) on the non-virtual system, so they should be OK. Any redirects to bad websites caused by hosts entries would be picked up on the main machine too.

If your system passes "PC Flank" or "Shields Up" ports checks (stealthed) then anything on webpages would be of more concern, to my mind.

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks


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