I don't use any AV software at home, and I no longer use any at work. I have decided to surf naked and take my chances ...
Lets look at the main methods how a computer can be infected with a virus
- Infected email attachment
- visiting a nefarious website
- downloading software from the internet
- using copied CDs and or floppys created/accessed on an infected computer
- nefarious web users hack into your computer and manually infect your system
Now lets look at the ways to protect yourself
- Never open email from unknown sources
- Never open email attachments
- Stay away from web sites likely to present a virii risk (if you can't easily identify these, then perhaps you don't need to be on the internet)
- Do not download software from any untrusted source
- Do not share copied CDs and floppies from untrusted sources
- Use a minimum 2 tiered hardware firewall to protect from most hackers, one on the modem and one on a router
Following these tips will prevent 99.99% of all virii ...
You know, this reminds me of a company I used to work for many years ago ... CDRs were yet to be mainstream and floppys were the only source of user storage available. McAfee and Symantec were in full swing, protecting users from virii. The vast majority of virii infections were from downloads on the internet and a few were from shared floppys. Well, we were instructed to install a virus scanner on all of our computers ... severly crippling the performance of the computers. Our computers had no floppy drives, no CD drives, no internet access, we had 1 system with a tape drive and direct dial upload access only to our corporate office, yet we had to have virii protection because of FUD.
Personally I loathe virus scanning software, the short time I used Symantec at home, it deleted several of my files I had archived, because they were incorrectly identified as "infected".
FYI: Please note that I maintain several floppy disks with archived wild state virii as part of my fascination with the mechanisms behind how they operate, although I have not actually put one of these onto my system in perhaps 5 years ... Now for the disclaimer - Do Not Try This At Home (or at work for that matter)