dx pirates

Computer Security – Antivirus

Many of us have our rigs hooked to computers these days.

Though I left the Microsoft Windows fold years ago for Apple Macs, the rig control and logging software which I prefer, Ham-Radio-Deluxe (HRD), only runs on Microsoft Windows. As the former I.T. Director (now retired) of a billion dollar+ multinational company, I have a fair amount of experience when it comes to keeping networks and computers safe from the onslaught of viruses and malware that bombard ALL of us literally daily.

Here’s what I do to safeguard my Windows PC:

  • I upgraded my PC to Windows 10. Older versions of Windows are less secure. Windows 10 upgrades are currently free — so if you haven’t already upgraded, now’s the perfect time.
  • I only use my PC to run the HRD rig control/logging software.
  • I never use Microsoft’s web browser. I use Google’s Chrome browser instead when I need to update HRD. Firefox would be okay too. Just not Microsoft’s — and that includes its new ‘Edge’ browser.
  • While I keep Microsoft’s software firewall turned on, I have turned off Microsoft’s built-in Windows Defender antivirus utility. Instead I use the free version of Avira antivirus.

The last bullet above requires some explanation. If you put 10 computer security professionals in a room and ask them to recommend the best software program to protect you against viruses and malware, you’re going to get 11 different answers. I prefer Avira for many reasons, but particularly because it doesn’t overtax my PC. It uses Windows resources efficiently and doesn’t noticeably slow down my PC. HRD has no problem with it as well.  And Avira does not intrusively popup with annoying dialog boxes like some of its competitors do. Lastly, Avira is better than Microsoft’s Windows Defender. Microsoft’s own attempts at antivirus protection have only been half-hearted over the years.

  • I keep my Windows 10 PC updated with Microsoft’s latest patches. Microsoft is always finding and fixes its mistakes.
  • My HRD QSO database is backed up multiple times daily to three different locations: 1) local disk 2) Dropbox Cloud 3) flash drive.
  • When I’m not hamming it up, I turn my Windows PC off. Not sleep mode. OFF.

These days you must be vigilant when it comes to protecting yourself from the evil side of the Internet. And believe me, it’s there just waiting for you to make a mistake. I have experienced it first hand — fought against it for years. It’s not a pretty sight.

Stay safe. Enjoy.