If you don't browse the web...

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by ArtOfWarfare, May 10, 2008.

  1. ArtOfWarfare macrumors G3


    Nov 26, 2007
    Okay, I'm not really sure about viruses and all that stuff.

    If I don't use Internet explorer at all, am I OK and don't need anti-virus stuff?

    I mean, all I use XP for is running The Orange Box (games.) And steam. Oh, and I put Safari on the XP partition.


    Run through of all the websites (using Safari which I got via Apple's Software Update which appears to have been put on by the Boot Camp assisitent) I've ever visited in XP...


    where I searched for the program steam


    where I downloaded Steam...

    So am I safe now?

    Or can viruses get on some other way? I don't use email in XP. I wouldn't even know how if I wanted to.


    Oh, and is it safe to play the games I got from Steam online? Or can a hacker hit me with a virus or something by doing that?

    Edit: Oh, wait, a few months back when I first put XP on my computer I think I visited macrumors using Internet explorer to ask how to reset back into Mac OS X... I found that boot camp had changed my default start up disk to be XP...
  2. switcher3365 macrumors regular

    Mar 5, 2008
    I've just switched to a Mac from Windows, and never had a Windows virus.
  3. ArtOfWarfare thread starter macrumors G3


    Nov 26, 2007
    Did you ever install any anti-virus protection?

    Windows XP keeps alerting me that I'm at risk because I haven't installed any anti-virus.
  4. stainlessliquid macrumors 68000

    Sep 22, 2006
    jeez, dont be so paranoid. These days you can only get a virus by installing it yourself, like installing activex browser plug-ins that bad websites try to get you to install, or running shady programs with viruses included in them.

    You cannot get a virus by simply using the internet, there has to be a lot of bad decisions on your part before a virus can get through. IE6 was really insecure and allowed viruses to install themselves simply from visiting a website without any interaction from the user, but modern browsers make that almost impossible and it virtually never happens anymore (I think macs are the only system to fall victim to such an exploit so far, which was done at a hacker contest a few weeks ago).
  5. eXan macrumors 601


    Jan 10, 2005
    Virus can get into Windows not only through internet, but also through flash and other drives.

    But jeez, you're so paranoid! I use my windows partition for games only and I could care less if I had a virus there. I can always delete it anyway.
  6. mrwindup macrumors member

    May 12, 2008
  7. ArtOfWarfare thread starter macrumors G3


    Nov 26, 2007
    oh, wow, lol, thanks I guess.

    I just grew up using Macs only so the concept of a virus is really foreign. The news blows it all out of proportion then?

    I was worried I was being naive. Oh well, being over protective is better than under protective.
  8. donmei macrumors regular

    Mar 8, 2007
    Dont run an AV on windows if you dont browse. However, you should do a couple of things to protect yourself.

    (You're only protecting the windows install, dont worry, our OSX is protected by the isolation afforded by the virtualized environment.

    OK. Don's tricks to securing windows without an AV app that will slow you down.

    1) Turn off UPNP - google it, there's a lot on it.
    2) Create a "limited" user. i.e. a user who does NOT have admin rights
    3) ok to set up the limited user without a password
    4) put a good password on your account with admin rights
    5) ONLY log into the VM as admin if you need to install something. Do all your day to day as a limited user.
    6) enable snapshots in VMware. Then if the windows install does somehow get hosed, you can roll it back to its pre-hosed state.

  9. LouisBlack macrumors 6502

    Jun 21, 2007
    Balham, London
    I assume the OP is talking about boot camp rather than a Virtual Machine as he's playing The Orange Box.
  10. rrijkers macrumors 6502


    Jun 6, 2007
    The Netherlands
    Just install AVG Free and thats it, keep it safe, you never know how a thing hops on your computer. Could be inside a map you download for a certain game or whatnot.

    It uses hardly any resources whatsoever
  11. MacDaddy08 macrumors regular


    Feb 13, 2008
    You don't have to browse the internet to get infected by a virus. You don't have to install anything or plug an infected flash drive into your computer either. All you have to do is be connected to the internet to be infected. On average, a Windows computer without anti-virus, if connected to the internet, becomes infected in some way shape or form within 15 minutes. It's true. If you are running windows and have an internet connection, you need anti-virus.

    I installed Windows a couple of different computers and left them alone while they were plugged into the internet during the install. I left them for a few hours and went back to finish the installation of everything else and both times I made that mistake, they were infected allready. They ran slow, froze up, and both times I had to reformat and reinstall. It's not a big deal, just a pain.

    Install AVG Free from their website and use it if you are running Windows, it is all you need. Free updates and free install. I would not recommend not installing anti-virus on any computer running Windows, that is the first thing you should do after a fresh install before anything else. They can't stress that enough in computer school and from personal experience, it is the complete truth.
  12. eXan macrumors 601


    Jan 10, 2005
    The funniest thing I've read in a while :D
  13. MacDaddy08 macrumors regular


    Feb 13, 2008
    So I guess you don't put anti-virus on a Windows server right? You don't browse the web on servers either. I would like one person to show me a network administrator that wouldn't put anti-virus on a Windows machine because "You don't browse the internet."

    That would be a funny sight.

    Not putting anti-virus on a Windows machine is begging to be infected, believe it or not.
  14. donmei macrumors regular

    Mar 8, 2007
    If you have a nat firewall (all routers do that, just look to see if your ip address starts with 10 or 192) you cant be infected by just being connected to the internet. Period, fact.

    Now, you may be able to be infected by other machines on your LAN, but thats another story.
  15. ArtOfWarfare thread starter macrumors G3


    Nov 26, 2007
    Yeah, the IP starts with 192.

    And all the other computers on the LAN are Macs that don't run Windows ever (because they're all PPC macs so running windows is a major pain for them...)
  16. James17 macrumors 6502

    Dec 13, 2007
    I've never had a virus on my windows computers, I think it's down to the places you visit, however, I always had an anti-virus program installed and regularly updated incase.
  17. MacDaddy08 macrumors regular


    Feb 13, 2008
    OK. Install anti-virus and please don't listen to anyone that says you don't need to. You IP address starting with 192 or 10 makes no difference, the only things that determines what your IP address starts with is your DHCP server settings and the subnet you are located on. You can have IP addresses behind a NAT server with 10 or 192, I've seen both. NAT is also not a firewall, you can configure a firewall to work with NAT but it, itself is not one. Unless you block all incoming connections on your NAT server and never open any ports by creating and outgoing connections than you are still vulnerable. While being behind a NAT server and firewall does decrease your chances of being infected, it doesn't eliminate them.

    Your typical home network does usually have a small software based firewall, Windows includes one that is enabled by default. But it is isn't enough to stop infection. NAT server is Network Address Translation and all it does is make everything outside the NAT server think your IP address is that of the NAT server itself while everything inside the NAT server can have different IP addresses to run their own separate network divided from the one outside it.

    Just install AVG Free and keep it updated, its fast, its easy and it at least decreases your chances of having to reformat and reinstall your Windows system a lot more than without it.

    Also, you can be infected with a virus without knowing it. Viruses come in many different types and forms. As I said before, 2 separate occasions when I left a freshly installed Windows computer running without antivirus installed for a few hours connected to the internet they became infected. There weren't pop ups everywhere and the system didn't crash but it was noticeable slower than it should be and wasn't functioning normally. It would freeze for no reason, it was booting me out of installs for other programs. Both times I had to reformat and reinstall and everything was fine. I installed AVG Free first after I installed Windows and updated it before anything else.

    It's better to be safe than sorry. Most people have infections on their computers without even knowing it, especially the ones that don't have anti-virus or don't keep it updated. As I mentioned, there have been studies to prove what I am saying about being infected to quickly. They did a study in 2005 and found that a Windows computer without anti-virus becomes infected within 12 minutes, that was 2005. Imagine what it is now.
  18. stainlessliquid macrumors 68000

    Sep 22, 2006
    That only happens to the very first release of XP, no others. There is an exploit in XP that allows attackers to use a range of IP addresses to attack computers without the update installed yet, all it does is pop up a window and turn your computer off after a 30 second countdown. SP1 and SP2 versions of XP are not affected by that hole and there hasnt been anything like that in several years since exploits like that are virtually impossible to make.

    You cannot get a virus by just being connected to the internet if you have a modern version of Windows. If you are getting viruses from other computers on your network then thats different, but you can NOT get one from just being connected to the internet, they are totally different things.

    If you are getting viruses immediately upon installing windows (with SP1 or later/vista) then you are either using a pirated version of Windows or youre installing something yourself that comes with a virus.
  19. eXan macrumors 601


    Jan 10, 2005
    No I don't put antivirus on Windows servers beause I don't run any.

    Your statement that connecting any windows machine to the internet will get it affected within minutes is ridiculous.

    I have Windows SP2 installed on my MacBook for over a year already. Its connected to internet without ANY protective measures and I'm yet to get it affected.

    My mom's Asus laptop which she actively uses for her work and internet for over 4 years runs Windows SP1 without AV and had a virus once that was cleaned within hours with no damage done.

    My friend has Windows on his iMac for a year now and he uses it to browse 'net and chat in ICQ quite often. He never installed AV software and has no clue on what Firewall is. No viruses.

    My sister has a custom built desktop PC that is over 4 years old with SP2 and without any AV software... she never got affected. She's a student so she uses internet on regular basis.

    How many more examples do I need to prove you're wrong? Even using the 'net for many years people in the above examples almost never got a virus, definitely none after 15 minutes of just being connected. :rolleyes:
  20. MacDaddy08 macrumors regular


    Feb 13, 2008
    Like I said before, you guys can say what you want. The fact is that most people don't even know they are infected when they are. Sometimes it is very noticeable, sometimes it isn't. It may be just running in the background.


    If you think just because your friends and family members think they aren't infected and have no anti virus that you don't need to install it, that is just ridiculous. It is true, and it does happen. I have seen it happen and know other people as well who have seen it happen.

    Ask any network administrator that deals with lots and lots of computers, not just personal ones, and they will tell you the same thing. When I told the other IT guy here at work about this, he laughed.

    YOU ALWAYS NEED ANTI-VIRUS on WINDOWS, period, end of story.
  21. stainlessliquid macrumors 68000

    Sep 22, 2006
    If you are going to make such a crazy claim then how about some proof? What viruses are you getting? Give use the names of the viruses and its easy to get info from Norton about how they are installed, I guarantee none of them are installed without user interaction. Windows does not have such serious flaws, it would be big news and are fixed really quickly if discovered.

    I dont get viruses either, I dont have a firewall or antivirus, my only protection is responsibility when installing/downloading files. And yes every once in awhile I run a spyware and AV scan just to be sure and then uninstall the AV since it slows the PC down.
  22. SuperCompu2 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 23, 2006
    I have to agree. No "virus", by definition, can be installed without user interaction. Small things such as tracking cookies can be installed automatically by default, but anything of a serious nature cannot infiltrate without SOMETHING being done by the user. An OS that is as secure as swiss cheese would not be as popular in the business world as Windows XP has been in the last 4-5 years.
  23. donmei macrumors regular

    Mar 8, 2007
    You are sadly mistaken.

    192 and 10 based ip addresses are non-routable ip addresses. That means that if your machine has an ip address that begins with those numbers they can NOT be connected to directly. That means they can NOT become infected by just being connected.

    Your nat firewal (Nat= Network Address translation) firewall TRANSLATES the non-routable ips into another address that is routable. (that address is the address on your routers wan port.

    So you see there IS something special about those numbers. the routers of the internet will not pass packets originating from or going to a 10. or 192. machine.

    In the old days of the internet all the machines on a network had routable IPs. You used to purchase a block of IPs from whoever you got your T1 from and your desktop would literally be ON THE INTERNET. Routable and pingable from anywhere on the planet. Bad Bad - those machines can be infected by just being connected.

    The same is true of a machine connecting directly via a cable, dsl, or dialup modem. In that case you are depending on a software firewall for protection. Not good in the case of a windows firewall.

    I hope you understand. Macdaddy. Its ok to admit your are wrong. I'd be happy to go deeper in my explanation.

    By the way, as a little experiment, I took an unprotected windows VM (running as admin) running in fusion into a couple of porn sites. I was infected within 3 minutes. No biggie, I blew away the vm and recreated it from a share on my NAS in about 5 minutes. But it does show how "dirty" it is out there.


    p.s. I'm not trying to say NAT is perfect. If you leave it configured as it came, it is secure. But if you begin poking holes in it for specific apps it becomes less secure. Fortunately even the most basic router/access point is also a stateful inspection firewall. Google stateful inspection for the details. But suffice to say, if you are connected to the internet via one of these devices, you are not vulnerable "just by being connected"
  24. MacDaddy08 macrumors regular


    Feb 13, 2008
    As I said before, if you have no chance of getting infected with a virus without browsing the web or downloading stuff then why do they put anti-virus on servers? Just to spend money and for the hell of it? If you can't get viruses (like everyone here is saying) then why do they make so much money off anti-virus software?

    I have seen computers become infected without doing anything, just for sitting there after a Windows install. They were connected to the internet but had no anti virus but were not touched for a few hours and both time they became infected until the drive was reformatted and windows was re-installed. I can't believe that anyone here who is actually in the computer field and not just pretending to be would say anti virus isn't needed.

    "The speed with which PCs can become infected has now shortened. If your Windows computer is not properly protected, it will take 12 minutes before it becomes infected, according to London-based security company,Sophos. Sophos has detected 7,944 new viruses in the first half of 2005, a 59-percent increase over the same time span last year."

    This was an exact quote from an article I read. What you guys are saying is just plain ignorant and ill-informed. I'm shocked to be hearing it. :eek:

    Are there any actual IT people out there that want to jump in and say anti virus isn't needed?

    P.S. You are correct Don in saying that 192 and 10 are IP addresses found in internal networks usually behind switches, firewalls, routers, etc. I realize that this is not a public IP address but those computers can still be connected to from outside the network. I connect to computers in my work's internal network from home all the time. And what you are saying "Your nat firewal (Nat= Network Address translation) firewall TRANSLATES the non-routable ips into another address that is routable." is correct but is basically the same thing I said by saying it translates the IP address on your comuters internal NIC to the outside, or public, IP address of the router you are connecting through. Just because your computer is 192 or 10 doesn't mean it is behind a NAT firewall, it just means a router connected to the "outside" internet is also serving DHCP to the internal network, at home or work, that you computer is connected to.

    I would like someone to try something. Take a machine without anything installed on it and install a fresh copy of Windows. Make sure your are connected to the internet (if you have to install your network drivers then do so after installation because you do have to have internet connectivity). Then after installation leave the computer connected and dont touch it for a few hours, maybe overnight. then go back and try to install your other programs and just use the computer. See if it is just normal or if it is noticeable slower than normal or acting funny like freezing up during installations or programs going into a "non responsive" state. I'll be willing to bet you will notice something, what do you think that "something" is?

    Another quote for you guys out there that still need more proof:

    "Computers communicate together through what's known as network ports in technical jargon. Processes running on any one machine can also communicate among themselves using these mechanisms, meaning that some ports have to be open for the machine to operate normally. This said, most ports left open on a machine are intended for other machines to use (for sharing files and printers among other things) in the event of several being connected together in a local network.

    The problem is that the Internet is an enormous network of interconnected networks which all use the same mechanisms. This means that you can expose the content of your hard disks or even allow someone else to take complete control of your network if you don't protect the machines in it correctly. This particular problem was thrust into the limelight in August 2003 when the "Blaster" worm was released into the wild. Simply connecting a computer to the Internet, without attempting to use a browser or to read e-mail, was enough to make it a target. Having removed this particular worm from a client's machine and installed the necessary software to protect it from future infection, I reconnected it to the Internet. It was under attack again within 15 seconds."

    Notice the line that says "Simply connecting a computer to the Internet, without attempting to use a browser or to read e-mail, was enough to make it a target."

    That one is my favorite.
  25. jf8 macrumors regular

    Aug 8, 2007
    Antivirus software finds its way onto servers because they scan data transmitted through the servers (usually email)

    This hasn't happened for years.

    I am an actual IT person and antivirus software is not needed in this situation.

    If your computer is on a 10/8, 172.16/12, or 192.168/16 subnet and you are accessing the Internet without a proxy, you are using NAT.

    Most residental router will not allow incoming connections from the Internet without being configured to do so (either by UPnP or explicit user action.)

    Won't happen with a recent Windows system - Windows XP SP2 or later, which has shipped since 2004. For one, the firewall is turned on by default.

    Windows XP SP2 and later and Windows Vista have the firewall turned on by default.

    Notice the past-tense verb.

    I wouldn't even bother with 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5. UPnP is actually a useful service and the vulnerability was fixed a long time ago. Limited user accounts are useful, but take a lot of effort.

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