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-   -   Do you connect your music production PC/Laptop to the internet? (https://www.gearslutz.com/board/music-computers/1295457-do-you-connect-your-music-production-pc-laptop-internet.html)

amrindersandhu 21st January 2020 12:27 AM

Do you connect your music production PC/Laptop to the internet?
 
Just purchased my new Alienware Area 51M for music production purposes only! Spent a lot of money on it so I want to ensure I do everything in my power to have it well maintained and running fast. I come from the era where connecting your machine to the internet was a no go. I've had such basic desktop PC's that have lasted me years without slowing down - I genuienly believe this was due to never being online.

But how can we do this in this day and age? Propellerhead Reason requires me to be online to use certain racks, I like surfing Splice for drum sounds, & I'm always having to upload bounces to DropBox. I would literally only ever use the internet for these things - maybe YouTube as well but no other type of general surfing. Couple things come to mind:

1) Do I only flick the WiFi on when I need to use the internet (may be a bit annoying always having to turn the wifi on and off)
2) Shall i refrain from installing any Windows Updates?

Was wondering how many of you guys connect your music systems to the internet? And if so, what measures have you taken to ensure it doesnt slow down?

psycho_monkey 21st January 2020 04:02 AM

I’ve not had a music rig offline for about 10 years! But they’re all Mac based, maybe pc users have a different take?

I’d think it’s more about what you do and don’t click on than actually being online - no industrial hacker is going to target your system.

If you leave email off the computer, regulate system updates manually, only use the web for product updates and downloads, and splice etc - can’t see what can go wrong!

Just don’t use it as an all purpose machine...

elegentdrum 21st January 2020 04:06 AM

I just purchased a new computer I intended to keep of the net. Just did not work out. I had to update things. Every time you add software, it all has to be updated and on the net.

However. I keep that machine off the net for day to day work. Every time put the computer on the net, I back the machine up before connecting. Then I can revert if there is a problem.

DAW PLUS 21st January 2020 09:59 AM

Been keeping my workstations online for the last 2 decades. All Windows 7 systems even had the firewall turned off. No antivirus software or anything.
Regular scans with different engines using a USB stick. No infections whatsoever.
Mail with flaky attachments are the biggest risk, so are shady websites with freeware or porn.
Just use it as a production system and your risk is at an absolute minimum.
In Windows 10, Defender is always active, but it is not interfering in any way.

nyrizzie 21st January 2020 10:13 AM

My setup is at home, online, daughter ran my **** watching Ryan’s toy review, fgteevee, and plays roblox on it. Sometimes I regret leaving it online because I’m sitting on the couch waiting for her to get off so I can get to making music. Still never no problems with it being online though.

Synth Buddha 21st January 2020 12:17 PM

Yes, both my Macs and PCs have always been connected, pretty much. Never had a virus or any other issues, and my studio computers run from morning until rather late at night most days.

snoskit 21st January 2020 03:15 PM

Came across a trojan horse embedded in a free VSTi few months back*


So if you think just because you only do music stuff, and only visit music related websites you're somehow safe from the attentions of the type of arseholes that go hacking, think again kfhkh

ps

Quote:

Originally Posted by psycho_monkey (Post 14476449)
I’ve not had a music rig offline for about 10 years! But they’re all Mac based, maybe pc users have a different take?

Sorry MacOS is not protection from hacking either. Its proven to be quite a nasty attack vector for multi-platform malware.


*freebie from dskmusic.com, found with Windows Defender

bill5 21st January 2020 07:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by amrindersandhu (Post 14475997)
I've had such basic desktop PC's that have lasted me years without slowing down - I genuienly believe this was due to never being online.

Highly unlikely at best. Programs don't run slower simply by being online.

Quote:

2) Shall i refrain from installing any Windows Updates?
If you're on Windows 10, good luck w/that.

I only have one system so it's always online, unless I'm going to be away for more than the bulk of the day. No AV installed. When I had Windows 7 (which I miss - sigh), never updated. No viruses yet, spanning years and years. I don't go to questionable sites (the candidates should be fairly obvious, porn and the like) and anything I download, regardless of where, gets virus scanned before I install. A lot of people are way overly paranoid about viruses, but common sense will eliminate the likelihood of getting any almost to zero (knock on wood :)).

thenoodle 21st January 2020 07:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by snoskit (Post 14477418)
Came across a trojan horse embedded in a free VSTi few months back*


So if you think just because you only do music stuff, and only visit music related websites you're somehow safe from the attentions of the type of arseholes that go hacking, think again kfhkh

ps

Quote:

Originally Posted by psycho_monkey (Post 14476449)
I’ve not had a music rig offline for about 10 years! But they’re all Mac based, maybe pc users have a different take?

Sorry MacOS is not protection from hacking either. Its proven to be quite a nasty attack vector for multi-platform malware.


*freebie from dskmusic.com, found with Windows Defender

And what did that trojan horse virus end up doing to your computer before you removed it?

thenoodle 21st January 2020 07:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by amrindersandhu (Post 14475997)

Was wondering how many of you guys connect your music systems to the internet? And if so, what measures have you taken to ensure it doesnt slow down?

My laptops are always online. Two of my slaves in my daw farm are always online, with windows defender running.

I wouldn't do this in 2005. I also used varieties of anti-virus etc stuff back then because ...from 1994-2005, it was easier to be swept in to "stop the attackers" hype.

No one on the planet is aiming for my specific computers. No trojan horses have ever blown up my system.

Reliable speed? Easy. Fresh install of os every so often, restore fresh template images every so often.

Some guys aren't in to clean os installs. For me, it's a great idea...even on the more convoluted farm slaves.

snoskit 22nd January 2020 12:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by thenoodle (Post 14478179)
And what did that trojan horse virus end up doing to your computer before you removed it?

I scanned the install archive before even unzipping it
Defender identified it as some form of botnet client
Didn't investigate further, just wiped it

psycho_monkey 22nd January 2020 03:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by snoskit (Post 14477418)
Came across a trojan horse embedded in a free VSTi few months back*


So if you think just because you only do music stuff, and only visit music related websites you're somehow safe from the attentions of the type of arseholes that go hacking, think again kfhkh

ps



Sorry MacOS is not protection from hacking either. Its proven to be quite a nasty attack vector for multi-platform malware.


*freebie from dskmusic.com, found with Windows Defender


Quote:

Originally Posted by thenoodle (Post 14478179)
And what did that trojan horse virus end up doing to your computer before you removed it?


Quote:

Originally Posted by snoskit (Post 14478934)
I scanned the install archive before even unzipping it
Defender identified it as some form of botnet client
Didn't investigate further, just wiped it

Sounds like a false positive to me - I’d have taken it up with the developer. But scanning downloads like free VATs from unknown developers isn’t a bad safety approach.

As for Mac - I never said it was. I only said I don’t run PC so can’t comment about the type of malware attack you might get.

Of course macs are just as vulnerable to certain types of attack as PCs. But again - it’s really only likely if YOU click dodgy links. The idea of someone scanning to try to take control of your single computer is fantastical - any single person just isn’t that important!

Mind Riot 22nd January 2020 03:49 AM

I used to keep my DAW workstation offline back in the Windows XP days, where everyone was trying to wring every drop of performance out of their systems and almost anything running that you didn't need could slow you down.

Once I got into Windows 7 I never felt the need anymore; I never hit the performance ceiling of a quad core CPU and 8 gigs of RAM, my needs are modest compared to a lot of people.

But I don't go all over the place online with my DAW PC. Primarily it's online because authorizing new plugs is a pain to do offline sometimes, and some plugs you can't authorize offline at all anymore.

I'll check my e-mail from my DAW because that's usually how you create accounts, change passwords or activate licenses. I'll go googling for answers if I have an audio or DAW related question, but I'm cautious about where the links take me. Same thing for reviews of something I'm considering buying. And I'll occasionally check out a youtube tutorial or product demo.

It's very handy to be able to open up a browser and search the Reaper forums right from the DAW if I come across something I don't know how to do yet.

One other thing is Windows updates. I never bothered much with them on the DAW especially when Windows Update itself seemed to be broken; failed downloads, failed installations.

But then I ran across a couple nice freebies Acustica Audio was giving away recently and I was very interested in them, but I kept getting error messages about them when Reaper would scan them on startup. So I went looking for answers from my DAW.

Long story short, you had to have your computer updated pretty much to current status for those plugs to install and run correctly (at least on Windows 7). So I ended up having to learn to go deep and reset Windows Update's rules so it would completely restart its process on the next boot, then I had to install almost a gig of updates with several reboots along the way to make everything current. The Acustica plugs installed and worked perfectly after that. :)

I didn't find one perfect answer to that problem, I figured it out by putting the pieces together from other bits of information I read on various forums and such. Who knows how long that could have taken me if my workstation was offline and I had to go out to my living room and try to research the problem tiny step by tiny step, walking back into my studio to try each new idea as an abstraction, before I would have figured it all out.

Mendocino beano 22nd January 2020 05:22 AM

Perfect answer above

I think it’s pretty simple really. Don’t watch porn on the DAW and keep it relatively audio focused. Everything I do on that machine is for audio. I do turn off WiFi often while recording out of habit, but I forget often also. It’s not necessary anymore but I feel it makes sense to let the computer focus on the task at hand. Wouldn’t want to have a system overload while recording a great take, because the cpu was also sending packets of data to whatever software developer or something. Maybe that’s not a real concern.

I have another laptop, an iPad and an iPhone for all the other BS. I don’t even do my taxes on the daw.

bill5 22nd January 2020 06:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mind Riot (Post 14479507)
Long story short, you had to have your computer updated pretty much to current status for those plugs to install and run correctly (at least on Windows 7).

pfft. Never updated Win 7. Never had a problem.




Quote:

Originally Posted by Mendocino beano (Post 14479706)
I think it’s pretty simple really. Don’t watch porn on the DAW

!

There are DAWs you can watch porn on? What media player isn't good enough? Talk about creative use of plugins

bgood 22nd January 2020 07:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by amrindersandhu (Post 14475997)
Just purchased my new Alienware Area 51M for music production purposes only! Spent a lot of money on it so I want to ensure I do everything in my power to have it well maintained and running fast. I come from the era where connecting your machine to the internet was a no go. I've had such basic desktop PC's that have lasted me years without slowing down - I genuienly believe this was due to never being online.

But how can we do this in this day and age? Propellerhead Reason requires me to be online to use certain racks, I like surfing Splice for drum sounds, & I'm always having to upload bounces to DropBox. I would literally only ever use the internet for these things - maybe YouTube as well but no other type of general surfing. Couple things come to mind:

1) Do I only flick the WiFi on when I need to use the internet (may be a bit annoying always having to turn the wifi on and off)
2) Shall i refrain from installing any Windows Updates?

Was wondering how many of you guys connect your music systems to the internet? And if so, what measures have you taken to ensure it doesnt slow down?

You’ll be fine!

Just don’t visit North Korean pirate sites or Estonian dark web porn sites... seriously... just do your email and whatever else on a separate machine and you’ll be golden

Mind Riot 22nd January 2020 07:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bill5 (Post 14479777)
pfft. Never updated Win 7. Never had a problem.

Well of course, neither did I. Until I wanted to get my grubby fingers on those plugs, and Reaper would report that they had "Performed an Illegal Operation" or something along those lines, and Reaper wouldn't recognize them. If I had given up on the plugs I have no doubt I'd still be full speed ahead with no updates and no issues.

But I wanted the plugs, so I went looking for answers and somebody had asked for help with a similar issue years ago, and his problem was ultimately solved by installing a specific update.

Seeing as how my PC is more of the 'Minimum Requirements' than the 'Recommended' specs for Acustica's plugs, including my OS, I thought it might be possible that I was missing a critical update from way back then somewhere.

I updated as far as I could before I needed to reboot and found that one of the plugs would then install and work just fine. So I just decided to update to current instead of opening and closing Reaper over and over to see if I got the right update in each batch.

When it was done, the moment of truth, no more updates available, I uninstalled and reinstalled the other two plugs and Yay! Reaper recognized them and they worked fine.

They're pretty awesome plugs, it was worth a little problem solving and research. :)

Mikael B 22nd January 2020 11:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bill5 (Post 14478106)
Highly unlikely at best. Programs don't run slower simply by being online.

DPC latency is real. Being connected does not have to cause a slowdown, but the reality is that averse effects could occur for a number of reasons, including having an active internet connection. Resource usage is one aspect, DPC latency another.

Mikael B 22nd January 2020 11:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by thenoodle (Post 14478207)

No one on the planet is aiming for my specific computers.

You don't understand modern malicious "hacking". It's automated for the most part. It's not about you and not necessarily even your data. It's about your machine. It's used, when hacked, to hack or disturb other targets. Millions of machines are used in concert, typically without the owners knowing about this.

I don't see this as a reason for not getting on-line though, but for some machines, like in a commercial studio, these risks alone could be sufficient to not allow this.

AdvancedFollower 22nd January 2020 01:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mikael B (Post 14480137)
DPC latency is real. Being connected does not have to cause a slowdown, but the reality is that averse effects could occur for a number of reasons, including having an active internet connection. Resource usage is one aspect, DPC latency another.

Yep, certain network cards definitely cause DPC latency spikes, and it has nothing to do with CPU usage.

So getting a good networking card that supports MSI (Message Signaled Interrupts) is very helpful even if you have 16+ cores and 64 GB of RAM...
Also, you should still try to minimize the amount of network access that happens while you produce music, by shutting down things like gaming and chat clients, web browsers etc. In addition to freeing up resources and preventing issues, it allows you to mentally focus on the task at hand. I find the easiest way is to simply sign in to a different Windows account when producing, that doesn't have any of that stuff running.

snoskit 22nd January 2020 01:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mikael B (Post 14480140)
You don't understand modern malicious "hacking". It's automated for the most part. It's not about you and not necessarily even your data. It's about your machine. It's used, when hacked, to hack or disturb other targets. Millions of machines are used in concert, typically without the owners knowing about this.

I don't see this as a reason for not getting on-line though, but for some machines, like in a commercial studio, these risks alone could be sufficient to not allow this.



+1

To a hacker, music folks are just another group of folks who install software on their devices
Ideally folks who can be fooled into installing software secretly loaded with botnets & such

The hack of Avast's CCleaner download server, leading to 2.3billion botnet infections should be a sombering example of what hackers can pull off

Not suggesting you need to air-gap your studio's, but on the other hand an approach of "hiding-in-the-herd" seems fool-hardy.

DAW PLUS 22nd January 2020 02:06 PM

When in doubt with an installer, check it on www.jotti.org.
If only 1 or 2 find something, it most likely is a false positive but at least you can google it then.
Note that most audio "malware" rather is adware.

Mind Riot 22nd January 2020 11:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bill5 (Post 14479777)
There are DAWs you can watch porn on? What media player isn't good enough? Talk about creative use of plugins

You won't believe the plugs these inserts are taking!

Hot insert-on-insert action!

The hottest, most beautiful waveforms, barely out of recording! Just begging to be edited!

bill5 23rd January 2020 12:47 AM

I could have sworn one time I heard "more reverb! more reverb!" but thought it was my imagination!

PureFluke 23rd January 2020 04:17 AM

This may not be for everyone, but I prefer to run two machines; one dedicated to audio and never connected to the internet, the other for general use. I've never had issues this way, though I may not be 100% up to date with software (honestly though, once I was set up, I never needed to update much). You might not hit issues being on the internet, but you definitely avoid them by being off!
* I've got client info and intellectual property on the studio PC also - feel it's my obligation to keep it as safe as possible

psycho_monkey 23rd January 2020 06:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by snoskit (Post 14480275)
+1

To a hacker, music folks are just another group of folks who install software on their devices
Ideally folks who can be fooled into installing software secretly loaded with botnets & such

The hack of Avast's CCleaner download server, leading to 2.3billion botnet infections should be a sombering example of what hackers can pull off

Not suggesting you need to air-gap your studio's, but on the other hand an approach of "hiding-in-the-herd" seems fool-hardy.

Oh sure - but that’s just email spam attacks. We’ve already said don’t use your work machine for email and don’t click any dodgy links.

If you avoid that, then you avoid the bots and Trojans etc.

No-one is going to manually target you the way they might target a bank or large company, which is the main reason to isolate sensitive computers. If you have your machine online but only use it for music related online use, you’ll be fine.

snoskit 23rd January 2020 10:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by psycho_monkey (Post 14482623)
.. but that’s just email spam attacks. ..

read that link - the ccleaner hackers infected the install package on Avast's download server.

Folks downloaded and infected themselves

No spam involved

Thinking that because you only go to music websites, install music software are free from risk is imho ostrich head in the ground technique

psycho_monkey 23rd January 2020 12:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by snoskit (Post 14482939)
read that link - the ccleaner hackers infected the install package on Avast's download server.

Folks downloaded and infected themselves

No spam involved

Thinking that because you only go to music websites, install music software are free from risk is imho ostrich head in the ground technique

CCleaner isn’t music software is it?

Like I said - I’m not suggesting everything is safe, but that’s more a knock-on situation - avast’s security wasn’t up to scratch, and they were the ones targeted.

But - how is that different to downloading on a different machine, copying across and installing? Or downloading on your main machine, taking it offline and installing? Either way it gets infected (or either way you scan it and find the issue).

Mikael B 23rd January 2020 11:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by psycho_monkey (Post 14483103)

But - how is that different to downloading on a different machine, copying across and installing? Or downloading on your main machine, taking it offline and installing? Either way it gets infected (or either way you scan it and find the issue).

Why are you asking about the blatantly obvious? Don't you understand what a botnet is? What do you think a bot without a net does? Well, hopefully it doesn't do much. That would be the difference anyway. No net! Why? Because the machine isn't on the net. That's a guarantee for many things, but not a cure for all ailments.

Mikael B 23rd January 2020 11:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by psycho_monkey (Post 14483103)
CCleaner isn’t music software is it?

Oh, so you're saying all the music sites are ultrasafe, just not Avast? I guess no music site could have linked to them either. Do we have to lay out how linking works? Cross-site script hijacking? Ever heard of this? What about middle-of-the-man attacks? You know what that is? Do you know in how many different places in the source code of a music site you don't even know about that could be injected? A large number of music sites have very lax security, btw. They run on ancient software that is easy to hack. You really don't have a clue, do you? At least I know I can't know what I don't know.