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Is Antivirus Software Required on a WHS Server? RRS feed

  • Question

  • Is there a requirement to load Antivirus software on a WHS Server?  While Antivirus software is not that expensive for a normal workstation, Server software has often required expensive software because normal workstation Antivirus software will not work on a real Server version of Windows.  Since the main console of the Server just sits there logged out and not in use, how susceptible is the Server to virus infections from shared files or other outside intrusions?

    What version of Antivirus software is known to work with Windows Small Business Server 2003?

    Thank You,

    James D. McDaniel - Austin

    Saturday, March 10, 2007 4:08 PM

Answers

  • While there's no requirement that you load AV software on WHS, I personally think it's a good idea. I'm not really concerned about a direct infection, because the WHS is intended to be a headless appliance, and should not be used as a workstation. I would be more concerned about an infection on some other PC (particularly a guest's PC) on my home network that spreads to WHS.

    If you look around, you'll find a number of reports of AV that installs successfully and at least appears to work on WHS. I don't know how any of them would interact with Drive Extender if they found a virus, though.
    Saturday, March 10, 2007 5:35 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • While there's no requirement that you load AV software on WHS, I personally think it's a good idea. I'm not really concerned about a direct infection, because the WHS is intended to be a headless appliance, and should not be used as a workstation. I would be more concerned about an infection on some other PC (particularly a guest's PC) on my home network that spreads to WHS.

    If you look around, you'll find a number of reports of AV that installs successfully and at least appears to work on WHS. I don't know how any of them would interact with Drive Extender if they found a virus, though.
    Saturday, March 10, 2007 5:35 PM
    Moderator
  • The only good reason for putting AV software on the WHS is to scan the files in the WHS share. If the AV program cannot scan those files and repair them properly, there really is not much use for the AV program. Personally, I ensure all my desktop/laptop computers have AV software on them and as such I do not need to really worry about viruses coming into the system.
    Saturday, March 10, 2007 7:47 PM
  •  Lyme wrote:
    Personally, I ensure all my desktop/laptop computers have AV software on them and as such I do not need to really worry about viruses coming into the system.

    That's a brave standpoint to have. No ways will I run a server of any sorts without AV.

    More or less the middle of last year we had somebody plug an authorised device into our network at the ottice and they had a virus that attacked the DHCP servers (name slips my mind now) - it got past that local machine's AV and made it onto our network, if we weren't running AV on the servers we wouldve been nailed badly....I guess come the end of the day I'm always going to have that paranoia of dealing with Info Security at work and think of my home network in the same light...

    Sunday, March 11, 2007 2:18 PM
  • Depending on the type of information your server has on it.  If the server is a true "home server", with lots of media files, then AV software would not be as useful as someone who uses it for storing programs and downloading programs (and other such files). 

    Just like a desktop, most AV software is useful as long as nobody installs a backdoor on your system.  I do use AV software, but as a priority, a firewall is still the best option. 

    I definatly agree with Lyme, I like to treat my home computers in the same light as I treat any other system I work on, and as long as there are viruses in the wild, its always a good idea to be on the safe side, and install security programs.

    Sunday, March 11, 2007 4:33 PM
  •  LurchZA wrote:

     Lyme wrote:
    Personally, I ensure all my desktop/laptop computers have AV software on them and as such I do not need to really worry about viruses coming into the system.

    That's a brave standpoint to have. No ways will I run a server of any sorts without AV

    I'd agree with that...  I used to run an XP system as a server and I insisted on putting AV on it after it collected some virus or other - not sure how, as it was a headless system just sharing files and media.

    I've put Symantec Corp Edition on mine, which works fine.  I'm trying it out as a SAV server, and see how it gets on serving definitions to the workstations.

    Wednesday, March 14, 2007 12:40 PM
  • Let me clarify my position.

    In a office enviroment and/or a unprotected home setting (like a bunch of people as room-mates using WHS for sharing/backups etc), you would absolutely need to run AV on your server.

    In my home where I am both the technical support and the gatekeeper to anyone connecting to the network, AV programs are really not needed on the server.  

    Wednesday, March 14, 2007 9:16 PM
  • I understand your point, but I wouldn't take that risk myself.  Once MS enables the remote capabilities through Live services, there will likely be some remote code excution exploits.  (This happens to every system - I am not picking on MS here.  Well, OK.  I am picking on ALL the web 2.0 mash-up technologies, just not the server per se.)

    While I run my firewalls and AVs on the home machines and I only download software that I feel certain about, I expect that a virus will occur at some point.  To date, I haven't had a virus at home, but that is probably do to paranoia.  Will this change?  I hope not, but why gamble with it?

    A few bucks to lower the risk?  Sure, that's not unreasonable to someone who can afford one of these servers to begin with - right?  If it is a deal breaker, don't spend the money on the server.
    Thursday, March 15, 2007 4:07 PM
  • Try WinClam, the open source antivirus software. It does not have a TSR, but you can schedule scans to run. It works OK.

     

    Thursday, March 15, 2007 4:19 PM
  •  

    I have been using nod32 on windows home server from the start.

    I didn't have to change any of my custom config install files.

    all works as per normal.

    all my pc and servers use nod32. 

     

    Apples.

     

     

    Friday, May 4, 2007 6:58 AM
  • What is the attack vector against WHS?

    Lets say I don't have any AV.  I would panic if some malicious code found its way to actually run on that server.  An exe which contains a virus just sitting up on some shared folder wouldn't cause me any grief as the pc's using that WHS all have AV solutions.

     

    In short, if I never actually Remote in and install anything, is it safe?

     

    Saying that, as I suspect most answers will still come back as "you must have an AV solution".  Who is the leanest.

    This HP media server isn't exactly a power house, and the last thing I need is features and engines that are not relevant on an appliance.

     

    Thanks

    Monday, August 18, 2008 2:53 PM
  • The most likely attack vectors (IMO) if you never use your server's desktop:
    • An exploit against some networking component of your server exposed to the Internet. Since by design only three ports are exposed, that would have to come in on 80, 443 or 4125, which probably means IIS or the Remote Desktop proxy. If you expose additional services, you incur additional risks.
    • An exploit that includes a worm component that hits one of your other home PCs.
    • An exploit brought into your home by a guest who connects a computer to your network.
    Personally, I use avast!, on both my server and my home PCs. I find it acceptable in terms of performance, and I like the centralized management console aspects.
    Monday, August 18, 2008 3:45 PM
    Moderator