Ok, so its full on December. Your online for your holiday shopping, your online to spread Christmas cheer to friends, your online to look up recipes for drinks and dinner, maybe your even online to write blog-posts about viruses. One way or the other, your likely to use your computer, online, alot, and thats likely to be the same machine you keep your pre/per/post-holiday pictures, which you didnt back up yet, did you? So it would be a really bad time to experience the total data loss that a virus can bring, wouldn't it?
I've toted the same line for years. Viruses rarely result in data loss, especialy if you back up regularly (you do back up regularly, don't you?) *listens to the sounds of many feet scampering for external hard drives. Basically if you keep your files backed up virus's have three symptoms: performance hits, constant nagging, and a major inconvenience in the removal aspect. On these three principles I have always said, to many people's surprise, dont bother with anti-virus. The logic went like this: Viruses happen occasionally, and result in those three symptoms. Anti virus happens all the time, and it does the same three things, nags you, slows your computer down, and getting it on and off and updated to your system is a royal pain. So the smart choice was the virus, at least it takes a break.
I'm changing that line. The current generation of anti virus is smart, fast, easy to install, and once its there, you shouldn't notice it unless it really needs you, or you want too.
While im on that note, I feel I should retract statements i've made generaly about norton. Norton was the worst of the last generation of anti virus, but it might well be the best of this generation. http://www.geek.com/articles/chips/review-norton-antivirus-2009-20081215/
notably: "LiveUpdate is no longer a separate component" (see that Apple, you don't need an entirely seperate program for updates)
"The installation was absolutely painless and AV 2009 was running without so much as a reboot." (oh my goodness, its like linux from... forever ago, no reboot!)
"during general desktop operation the system consumed 10% of resources while Norton accounted for 1%. Overall its demands were quite limited, with the installation being about 47MB and under 8MB of memory used during normal activity" (I'm not going to mock that, I'm going to take my hat off and stand at salute, because that is the what it is to be of good software.)
SO, designate a driver for your parties, and get some anti-virus.