Why are other programs patched? [Naive questions I'm sure]

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Maybe a year or two back I googled the idea of using Windows without  
anti-virus software. It did seem to be a minority trend but one used  
also by seemingly computer literate people with what they regarded as  
safe habits.

Foolhardy or not I am currently having a second period of using Windows  
7 without antivirus software. I use the same five or six websites, none  
of them obscure, and I use Firefox, fully updated, and with Adblock.  
When I'm not online my mobile broadband dongle is disconnected.

I remember once using a torrented Windows 2000 disc for a couple of  
weeks, in tandem with either a firewall program or a/v software which  
would shopw in a notification box if malicious access was being  
attempted. THis used to show quite often, and I wondered if the Windows  
2000 iso had been tampered with to facilitate this.

My laptop has Ubuntu on it and I have not even switched the firewall on.  
When I was first looking into Linux I was advised that it made little  
difference, however good a habit firewall use and safe surfing were in  

My first laptop, an XP machine, was cabbaged by very foolish surfing and  
downloading habits and a lack of antivirus software, and naivety about  
Windows Updates. It may never have been patched in the two years I had  
it. Since my latest install of Windows 7 (with Service Pack 1) I have  
used Super Anti Spyware to do a thorough scan with nothing bad found  
after about three weeks with only Windows Defender in place.

I have obvious gaps in my knowledge but I am also a bit cynical about  
the computer security game. Being limited to fixed mobile broadband has  
also influenced my current practice - I even have an imageblock  
extension for Firefox to make the data last better. Would you say that  
I'm playing Russian Roulette or in my circumstances am I likely safe?  
Can you refer me to any layman-friendly online material on a non-obscure  
site that will tell me how my computer can be controlled or otherwise  
compromised in its current state, if it can? I don't understand myself  
how anything but the browser can be a danger, so to referto my subject  
heading, why do Libreoffice and so on need to be updated, especially if  
I am offline when using them. The additional software I have is  
downloaded from the companies' own sites, no piracy, no cracks

Partly my experiment is about being just plain sick and tired of the  
updating habits. This might not have come about if Microsoft clearly  
separated security updates from others, as happens with Ubuntu and other  
Linux systems. My Ubuntu laptop has the latest version, 14.04.1, and  
Firefox is updated. I'm planning to update Firefox and nothing else.

I will run Super AntiSpyware again in a few weeks on the windows 7 pc  
and then again later but I can't help feeling the result will be the  
same and that I am safe, just like a monogomous married person in most  
cases will be.

Re: Why are other programs patched? [Naive questions I'm sure]

On 10/2/2014 12:39 PM, Nathan Grenney wrote:

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You'll probably be okay, 99% of the time. It's that 1% that can ruin  
your day.

SAS is a fine on demand scanner. MBAM is as well. For peace of mind,  
there's no reason not to run a non-intrusive anti-virus. Microsoft  
Security Essentials will offer you baseline protection. Regular manual  
scans with SAS and MBAM can confirm that you've not had anything sneak  
in. I tell my clients to keep an eye on the castle icon and as long as  
it's green to rest easy, but that if the computer acts "oddly" in any  
way to manually update and run the installs of SAS and MBAM that I set  
up for them. Those that follow my advice seem to do just fine. Those  
that don't, don't.

If you can get away from Windows altogether, then for all intents and  
purposes you'll be home free. Others may point to obscure proofs of  
concept and and Shellshock and Heartbleed and claim that even Linux is  
unsafe, but for basic home use with safe computing habits a Desktop  
Linux OS is essentially "immune" to malware in any conventional sense of  
the word.

Updates to software like Libre Office are optional, of course. Many/most  
updates are bug fixes and feature enhancements. An occasional security  
concern in the program itself will be addressed, but again, those will  
nearly always only apply to Windows versions.

Mark Warner
...lose .inhibitions when replying

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