How to keep your computer music studio secure


Computers have revolutionised recording and producing music over the last two decades, with a basic laptop now equipped with more advanced functionality than even the most expensive of studios from the 60s or 70s. However, all these changes have come with some warnings – most importantly security.

The internet can be a dangerous place, with hackers always on the look-out for unsecured computers that they can exploit. A computer music setup may not be as much of a target as banks and casino games online, but hackers may still take advantage of any security holes to install a keylogger and harvest your passwords or even to gain full control of the machine and turn it into a botnet node.

Follow these steps to keep your computer music studio secure

Keep your software up-to-date

Just like your operating system, advanced music software like Cubase, Sonar, or Reaper is made up of thousands of lines of code and that means security holes will be uncovered. Music software may not be as much of a target as operating systems like Windows or browsers like Firefox or Chrome, but if you haven’t updated them since 2012, be aware they may not be fully secure.

More importantly, make sure that your operating system has automatic updates turned on, and you are using a modern, secure browser. Nobody should be using Windows 7 anymore, let alone Windows XP as the NHS recently found out, and similarly make sure you are always using the latest secure version of your browser. These are the most common vectors for attack, so keeping them up-to-date should be a priority.

Antivirus and firewalls

Some people don’t use the internet at their music studio and think this means they don’t need to run antivirus software – they are wrong. Viruses and trojans do mostly come from the internet, but many others hide themselves on USB sticks, CDs, and DVDs – so there are plenty of ways your system could become infected.

Microsoft now bundles a decent free antivirus and firewall security suite (Microsoft Security Essentials) with Windows 10, and that will be fine for many music-focused computers. If you also use your PC on the web, then take a look at the likes of BitDefender and Kaspersky, both of which regularly win awards for offering the best protection.

Don’t used pirated or cracked software

Yes Cubase, Sonar, Reason, and many other music creation suites are quite expensive, but piracy is not the answer. Many of these tools offer limited cheaper versions and there are always free tools like Reaper that offer much of the same functionality for a very reasonable fee.

Ignoring the fact that it takes a lot of work to create these music tools and people rely on sales for their livelihood, pirated software comes with inherent risks – the cracks, patches, and keygens could all be infected with a virus, trojan, or other malware. Most so-called “scene” releases may be virus free, but you should be wary of any software you download via torrent or a filelocker.

Stay alert to scams

Email scams and fraudulent advertising have been around for about as along as the internet, but people still fall for them every year. Most people know not to click on a dodgy-looking .exe file from a stranger, but criminals today may also pose as family members or friends, or may send you official-looking emails that look like they come from your bank, supermarket or other legitimate business like The safest option is just to *never* click links in emails or download PDFs unless you are certain where they came from and were expecting them to arrive in your inbox.

Stay safe and keep making music.

Originally publisher as How to keep your computer music studio secure
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