Kay lives here

working with the web

Poll results: do web professionals use anti-virus?

Last week I asked the burning question: do web professionals use anti-virus programs on their own machines? I don’t – I find no need to. I was curious as to how many of my peers shared my view.

And the results?

  • 66 people voted.
  • 41% – the majority plurality – said that they believed anti-virus was necessary.
  • 30% (20) of those people agreed with me that anti-virus was unnecessary for people who knew what they were doing.
  • 14% said that they have anti-virus, but only because they shared their machine with others.
  • Another 14% ran their anti-virus only on demand.
  • Only one respondent thought the poll was stupid and pointless – a surprisingly low number!

The percentages who either shared their machines or used anti-virus only on demand didn’t surprise me – I’ve been in both situations in the past. Of those who insisted that anti-virus was necessary, one was quite forceful about it in the comments, reminding me that I hadn’t put in a disclaimer to say that I do always surf behind a firewall router. Another commenter was strongly in the no-AV-for-me camp. And apart from Jamwerx Dave yammering on about his beloved Mac – despite my dire warning that I wasn’t interested – all the other commenters were fairly middle-of-the-road in their attitudes.

One interesting statistic was that for the first few hours – in fact, until about the first 40 responses – the “I don’t use anti-virus” camp was in the lead. The post was put live on a Saturday morning in Australia, so maybe this means that those fanatical individuals who have their feed reader open permanently, all hours of the day and night including weekends, are more likely to be confident enough in their own computer skills to not rely on anti-virus. Or maybe it’s completely random and meaningless.

So was I surprised by the results? Not really! Have I been convinced that anti-virus is necessary for me? Absolutely not! Was it an interesting exercise? Actually, yes, despite the predictable outcome, it was interesting to see how strongly people feel about the issue. It will be interesting to ask the same question in another 12 months or two years, when Vista has been out for a while, to see if that changes anyone’s opinions. Hmm, so many more potential questions. How many web developers disable UAC? What about Windows Defender? Bah, I’ll leave those for when I’m bored :)