It is difficult to avoid malware/virus for the average person. I see this everyday.
I helped someone today who had thought she got a virus from using Yahoo. Normally big name sites are safe, but there is always the possibility of viruses from advertisements. She received a pop up that told her to call Microsoft and so that concerned her. I took a look at her machine and ran a couple of malware utilities and it didn’t find anything. So I sent her on her way.
The problem is not just caused by advertising, but also by all the complex programs that the average person needs to work. Besides regular programs, there are things that are required for webpage functionality to work, things needed for specific applications, and even things required for specific users (like personal certificates). All of this makes it impossible for the average person to know if something should be installed or not.
I don’t buy Windows machines because I don’t want to deal with malware. Yes it happens on macs, but far less. I can’t remember the last malware I had on my mac, and I can remember the last malware I had on a PC that I have used for work. Unfortunately even with lots of protection, Windows computers are so vulnerable to viruses.
It is a concerning and stressful part of being involved in IT is that you are aware of the dangers of software. No matter how much you tell management, they don’t appreciate the danger until something like data loss happens or some other serious issue. I like being proactive, but many companies feel that being proactive is not wise because it spends too much money. However in my experiences problems are always more expensive to fix.
It is a strange kind of tension that there is in technology. The most reliable technology is a mac on the virus front, yet few companies use them. Why? I don’t know. It is a strange decision to me.