I've been nailed by my share or drive-by infections over the years. Including here on ATS, as well as several other reputable websites.
A lot of people hate the Norton products. I'm one of them. It is a PIA of the highest order. It can cause all kinds of strange behavior in
legitimate programs. It can suck up so much CPU and disk throughput that it makes the machine unusable. But over the years I've found that it has
saved my butt quite a few times. In the office I refer to the Internet as a filthy whore. So we have come to view NAV as an 8000 pound Gorilla,
sheathed in a kevlar condom with a single, gigantic, robot arm attached to its side to handle all of the network data.
I was once using the free version of AVG anti-virus and got nailed by a rootkit. I found it using a host of anti-malware tools, then I isolated it,
decompiled it, and sent the AVG folks the files and a write-up of what I discovered. They responded by sending me an advertisement for the full paid
version of the product.
Nowadays the free version of AVG can bring even a respectable computer to a crawl. Avast does a slightly better job in that respect. That's what
I'm using now on my home systems.
In my opinion, I believe it's crucial to use as many malware prevention programs as possible. It can cause problems if you use their realtime
scanners in combination, but run manual or automatic scans regularly. And backup your data. Some programs like Dropbox are easy to use and are free,
or at least rather inexpensive.
MBAM, SAS, HijackThis, Rootrepeal, Spybot, and several other tools are necessary to eradicate a serious malware infection. A few rootkit infections
that I've fought can't be detected and eradicated by a single utility. It takes several to get all of the pieces. And it's best to already have
the products installed. Some of the more advanced bugs won't even let you get to the product websites, much less install them, once they get ahold
of the system.
And some of those little nasties don't like to be molested. They can be relatively benign to start with, mostly just annoying. However, once they
detect they are being attacked, they can cause some serious damage to the OS.
I will say that it is most satisfying to defeat a rootkit infection. But, it can take many hours. I have an associate that provides hw and sw
services. It's not cost effective for him to spend a lot of time trying to manually remove a serious malware infection. So he recovers as much of
the data as possible, then wipes the system and does a fresh install of the OS and applications.
One other option is to use Linux. There are a lot fewer malware programs targeting that OS.