Why Windows 7 has forced me to worry about security
In the latest part of our experiment to convert a Mac user to Windows 7, Chris Brennan hits a security roadblock.
I’ve had my first major concern with Windows 7, and it all stems from a news story that appeared on this very site yesterday. Apparently, Windows 7 is susceptible to eight out of ten new viruses. This is something I rarely have to worry about on the Mac. No one is likely to write a virus that affects only 4% of the computing world.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t claim that bad things can’t happen to a Mac. It’s just not a major worry. I have the firewall turned on and I don’t open suspect attachments from people I don’t know, but that’s as far as it goes. So the news that even the latest and greatest Microsoft OS is still at risk from hackers leaves me a little uneasy.
In the story was the line: ‘However, the chances of any PC Pro readers running a machine with no anti-virus software are, we hope, pretty remote.’ Ahem, I’m going to admit to gross incompetence now and confess that for the past few weeks I’ve been running Windows 7 without any antivirus software. It just never occurred to me.
Finding that Microsoft provides free protection software called Security Essentials was reassuring. I downloaded it and did a scan that let me know I have no unwanted or harmful software on my laptop. Great.
But how do I know I’m safe? Is this software from Microsoft going to protect me from the various forms of attack? The PC Pro review says that Security Essentials is “far from a comprehensive security suite”. So is my data still at risk? Do I have to invest in a subscription service to get my peace of mind back? If so, which one is going to protect me and how much should I pay? Is this the Microsoft security tax equivalent to Apple’s design tax?
The couple of weeks I spent online without security software could mean that my personal data is already on a website in a dark corner of the internet. My tardy approach to security may mean I face problems further down the line, even with the security software now loaded.
Say what you like about the whys and wherefores of Mac security, but I never had serious worries about my computer security as I do now with Windows 7. The reality of the situation may be very different and I might not be at any risk whatsoever, but the fact remains Macs have fewer, if any, viruses.
Click here to read the rest of Chris Brennan’s blog on converting from Mac to Windows 7