Computer Viruses and Amateur Radio

Let’s face it, like or not the majority of us depend on our computers in Amateur Radio.  From controlling our Rigs, to logging, to DSP, we couldn’t do a lot of the neat things we do without them.

So if you are using a computer and it is connected to the Internet, we have to deal with Viruses or Malware.  The majority of the infections we see these days are the malware kind.  I am not sure why the distinction was made, but Malware is usually someting that infects your computer when you visit a web page.  We used to joke that if a computer came in with malware on it, the user was visiting too many sites of the kind that they didn’t want there spouse to know about.  We can’t say that anymore.  A lot of the malware we have seen the last 6 months, has come from visiting legit sites.  The web sites are accepting ads from nefarious business people without realizing it.  These ads contain the malware.

So what is the Amateur Radio operator to do to protect his or her computer.  We all know that most of us are working on a tight budget.  We have tried many of the free anti-virus software available and they all seem to work to some degree.  Lately, we have been using Microsoft’s Security Essentials http://www.microsoft.com/security_essentials/.

It is free for personal use, and seems to work well.  It also appears to have less of an effect on the performance of your PC.

If we could just get these people to write good legitimate code for Amateur Radio use instead of this stuff, we wouldn’t need Anti-Virus software.  Until then, you need to be vigilant and keep your Anti-Virus updates current and your OS updates current also.

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