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Old 12-16-2014, 11:25 AM
 
Location: Missouri, USA
4,723 posts, read 3,117,601 times
Reputation: 2204

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Stupid old fogey/stupid young person question:

I work for a very small architecture firm. The owner uses old Dell computers with Windows XP.

The owner uses AutoCAD software, which is slowly being transformed into the software equivalent of some alien parasite like antagonist from the 1988 film The Blob.

Really...DOS used to be better than any Windows program for his architecture business. Auto Cad was fine for awhile...but is slowly slipping down the toilet by making new "improved" versions of the drafting software...and no longer selling the older, faster, and simpler versions.

The owner is forced to use Windows now. He's also forced to use the new rotting/improved AutoCAD versions.

I realize a MAC computer would be more customizable. However, the architect wants systems more people are likely to use...so he uses Dell.

There have already been problems with AutoCAD. He worries that some automatic internet downloads will create more problems with AutoCAD. Therefore, he does not have internet on most computers in his office. It also speeds them up, quite a bit.

Regarding virus protection...does virus protection do much to any good without updates?
The architect wonders about the benefits of putting virus protection on the computers without internet access (in case something were spread through a flash drive or something like that). He also wonders about the pros and cons of never getting updates on his computers with internet access, but having virus protection on them. The man doesn't like change much...and seems to have good reason not to, given that Windows executives seem to have constructed a brilliant trap, in which they have created what is very close to a monopoly...and now focus most of their energy on designing newer and newer computer programs, racing to make the older versions obsolete as fast as possible, so that everybody has to buy newer, less useful versions.

Also, does virus protection do any good if the computer lacks internet access?


Thanks.
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Old 12-16-2014, 12:00 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
18,567 posts, read 55,493,012 times
Reputation: 32343
This will devolve into a war between two factions -those who say you must always have updated virus protection and those who say that in certain circumstances you don't. I fall in that camp.

Anecdotally, I have a few systems I set up as early as 1995 that have been isolated from the internet and wireless networking and NEVER had a virus or malware issue. Yes, if someone loaded a game on one, or some such, it would be at risk. However, having no possibility of internet access has the effect to young people of turning a computer into a dirty toilet - especially now that they can play on their phones.

The owner is smart, much smarter than the average user. The concept of software is to do a job quickly and easily. Having to relearn the user interface is a costly time waster. The "upgrade" path, particularly in graphics software, can be a step backward. With the early versions of Pagemaker and a serial laser printer, I was able to zip out the graphics for NCR forms in minutes. Later versions made the task almost impossible, no matter how much time was spent. I had to abandon it for a "less advanced" program.

My advice in his situation would be to keep those computers "virgin" and instead of using an antivirus use backups of the system and data.
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Old 12-17-2014, 08:22 AM
 
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
11,849 posts, read 13,973,633 times
Reputation: 8083
Excellent advice Harry.

Actually Harry, I don't think you give *most* of us enough credit.

I think the LARGE majority of us will agree: you don't need ANY virus protection on computers that are not on the internet. Yes, there is absolutely a chance of getting a virus from a memory stick, and even from DVD's... but that is not that common today.
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Old 12-17-2014, 09:37 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
18,567 posts, read 55,493,012 times
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"Actually Harry, I don't think you give *most* of us enough credit."

Yeah, but how can I keep up my curmudgeonly persona if I do that?

I was just dreaming last night that I had finally won the battle of putting some sense back into copyright laws. I argued with the judge that case law was based on the theft of copyrighted material presented by previous attorneys, and that it was OWNED by the litigants, who had not been paid for use of their work. Therefore, the judge was forced to either dismiss or recuse.
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Old 12-17-2014, 09:53 AM
 
Location: Kihei, Maui
177 posts, read 275,392 times
Reputation: 227
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peregrine View Post
Excellent advice Harry.

Actually Harry, I don't think you give *most* of us enough credit.

I think the LARGE majority of us will agree: you don't need ANY virus protection on computers that are not on the internet. Yes, there is absolutely a chance of getting a virus from a memory stick, and even from DVD's... but that is not that common today.
That works for machines that are totally Isolated
working on cad drawings that go out and come back for review and revision MIGHT leave them vulnerable depending on the transport method. If the older machines are for archival purposes so that old plans can be modified and accessed and the dataflow is only outbound by new media yes they are safe. BUT if the media is used by a non-healthy source and brought into the unprotected source or the network it is connected to has access to the internet and no segregation of machines then every machine on it should be protected.

So the real answer is how is it used, who uses it, and who has access to it when nobody is looking should set the protocol for antivirus protection. A small controlling file server granting file access rights to clients based on machine ID and a backup plan for those files might be the solution
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Old 12-17-2014, 08:49 PM
 
48,516 posts, read 85,121,432 times
Reputation: 18083
Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
This will devolve into a war between two factions -those who say you must always have updated virus protection and those who say that in certain circumstances you don't. I fall in that camp.

Anecdotally, I have a few systems I set up as early as 1995 that have been isolated from the internet and wireless networking and NEVER had a virus or malware issue. Yes, if someone loaded a game on one, or some such, it would be at risk. However, having no possibility of internet access has the effect to young people of turning a computer into a dirty toilet - especially now that they can play on their phones.

The owner is smart, much smarter than the average user. The concept of software is to do a job quickly and easily. Having to relearn the user interface is a costly time waster. The "upgrade" path, particularly in graphics software, can be a step backward. With the early versions of Pagemaker and a serial laser printer, I was able to zip out the graphics for NCR forms in minutes. Later versions made the task almost impossible, no matter how much time was spent. I had to abandon it for a "less advanced" program.

My advice in his situation would be to keep those computers "virgin" and instead of using an antivirus use backups of the system and data.
Even if they loading data files from another source there is some danger. Commercial wise; its not work the risk.
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Old 12-17-2014, 09:09 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
18,567 posts, read 55,493,012 times
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"This will devolve into a war between two factions -those who say you must always have updated virus protection and those who say that in certain circumstances you don't."

Told ya!

I have been known to run with scissors too!
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Old 12-18-2014, 10:10 PM
 
28,638 posts, read 40,617,860 times
Reputation: 37346
The question and responses are incorrect.

The proper consideration isn't whether or not a virus might get into the software, it's how much do you value your business? Ignoring a one in a million chance and possibly risking your business is foolhardy. Buy the stupid anti virus already.

And Harry I'm surprised you don't look at it this way.
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Old 12-18-2014, 11:18 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
18,567 posts, read 55,493,012 times
Reputation: 32343
Risk vs. reward. If the computer is backed up any risk to the business is minimal. The "risk" amounts to the possibility of spending a few minutes doing a restore. OTOH, I just loaded a fresh copy of Avast on an XP computer and even with Avast just doing basic file protection the computer took a big performance hit.

I'm used to doing the uncommon in evaluating risk vs. reward. Examples: I refuse to take statins because the risks of damage are greater for me than the reward. I have a zero calcium score, so that "protection" is not valid. I drive an older van that doesn't have the latest crash resistance. I drive conservatively and go out of my way to avoid dangerous situations. I don't have a fire extinguisher beside my stove, but I have a couple open boxes of baking soda nearby. It might appear that I take risks when I am doing the opposite.

The greater issue is that the common mindset in the U.S. is so risk averse that it cripples us. None of us get outta here alive anyway. Fear of shadows isn't going to change that.
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Old 12-19-2014, 05:57 AM
 
Location: A safe distance from San Francisco
9,088 posts, read 6,400,707 times
Reputation: 9374
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clintone View Post
Stupid old fogey/stupid young person question:

I work for a very small architecture firm. The owner uses old Dell computers with Windows XP.

The owner uses AutoCAD software, which is slowly being transformed into the software equivalent of some alien parasite like antagonist from the 1988 film The Blob.

Really...DOS used to be better than any Windows program for his architecture business. Auto Cad was fine for awhile...but is slowly slipping down the toilet by making new "improved" versions of the drafting software...and no longer selling the older, faster, and simpler versions.

The owner is forced to use Windows now. He's also forced to use the new rotting/improved AutoCAD versions.

I realize a MAC computer would be more customizable. However, the architect wants systems more people are likely to use...so he uses Dell.

There have already been problems with AutoCAD. He worries that some automatic internet downloads will create more problems with AutoCAD. Therefore, he does not have internet on most computers in his office. It also speeds them up, quite a bit.

Regarding virus protection...does virus protection do much to any good without updates?
The architect wonders about the benefits of putting virus protection on the computers without internet access (in case something were spread through a flash drive or something like that). He also wonders about the pros and cons of never getting updates on his computers with internet access, but having virus protection on them. The man doesn't like change much...and seems to have good reason not to, given that Windows executives seem to have constructed a brilliant trap, in which they have created what is very close to a monopoly...and now focus most of their energy on designing newer and newer computer programs, racing to make the older versions obsolete as fast as possible, so that everybody has to buy newer, less useful versions.

Also, does virus protection do any good if the computer lacks internet access?


Thanks.
I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment of the backward slide - the downward spiral - that is the software industry today. Generally speaking, the best software ever written was in the PC's earliest days.

As to the need for anti-virus software? There has never been a "threat" more over-hyped and over-dramatized than that of "malware" by the parasitic computer "security" industry. There is little to no threat to wise and careful users. But nonetheless yes, they have concocted a "trap", as you say, that most are too fearful to attempt an escape from.
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