Apps and Plugins that “call home”

Discussion in 'Software' started by rruss, Sep 20, 2023.

  1. xorome

    xorome Audiosexual

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    For Windows, I've been using Simplewall for a couple years and Windows Firewall Control for years before that - both did exactly what I wanted them to and reliably so.

    They're both running on top of Windows' Filtering Platform and will enforce your firewall rules that programs would otherwise be able to sidestep by adding their own exceptions.

    As others have said - start by disallowing all external traffic and selectively allow apps through your firewall - you'll get GUI notifications anyway, no command line fiddling required.

    Note that some programs simply open your (or the OS' built-in) browser, sidestepping app-level firewalls. Blocking some domains (plus their subdomains) in your hosts file is a good idea... or running your own DNS server... or using NextDNS.io
     
  2. Olymoon

    Olymoon Moderator

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    OK @RachProko, as I said before, let's stick to plug-ins that call home and the solutions for these.
    Enough general considerations and calling people dumb.
    You are taking this too personally.
     
  3. RachProko

    RachProko Producer

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    Not really, I stated what I wanted to state. If you or other people want to turn it into something it's not then feel free to do so?

    You see that people still come in reporting what firewall they use? Good for them? But from my point of view it only shows that people don't really want to learn and think that they still need a 3rd party firewall to be save?

    I really wish everyone the best of luck with their own useless personal firewall!
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2023
  4. orbitbooster

    orbitbooster Audiosexual

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    Here comes HIPS help in, some 3th party firewall has it, some not.

    However, I always must have an active firewall that I consider more important than AV, and I don't think hosts file is a sufficient protection at all.
     
  5. El Cycer

    El Cycer Producer

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    It is easy to block a plugin calling home with the firewall, but there are some cases where this cannot be done: some apps and plugins need to contact home to have their full functionality. An example: Emvoice (voice synthesis plugin), or the Adobe Suite, are software that need continuous online dialogue with the dev to fully express their potential. Simply put, there are connections that cannot be broken with the firewall, otherwise the software will not work
    What I'm wondering is: when I let the plugin call home, what kind of data comes out of my computer? What about my personal data? I'm not an IT guy and I have no idea what the dev is getting from me: what I realize is that this is all pretty creepy.

    Is there a way to understand what happens when I leave a connection open to the app/plugin that calls home?
     
  6. freefeet12

    freefeet12 Rock Star

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    My preferred method. Windows comes in at just under 4 GB. Just enough to run my DAW, a few plugins and apps I need. The machine stays offline and it's totally worth it for me. You can easily score a computer for $100 or less on ebay plenty powerful for online use, if you don't already have another one. Keep it protected, keep your network protected, and transfer files you know are safe, to the best of your knowledge, to your production machine when need be.

    YMMV, such as gamers, colabs, or what not.
     
  7. orbitbooster

    orbitbooster Audiosexual

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    There are even programs that need to connect with servers in loopback (the machine itself).
    One example for all is kontakt, if you block it completely won't work, a rule must be created that allows loopback and blocks all the rest.
    Not easy to answer, but I guess that vsts don't collect "too" personal data except those related to the vst itself (license, etc.), so if for dev something isn't right they presumably can lock the product or invite you to register, blablah.
    I mean, I don't think you'll get men in black at your door, but never say never...:rofl:
     
  8. clone

    clone Audiosexual

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    It is basically up to the programmer what details they want to collect from the machine, and limited by what the machine offers up as Telemetry information. But you are right, in saying that it is not *too personal* such as browser history, cookies, geolocation, and so on. If the device was a smartphone it might contain that type of data too. IMEI, etc. Things it may be programmed to include would be similar to what a basic System Report can show. Something like this example below I just typed up as a generic list. It is way more information than being limited only to details about the plugin, and way more computer information than you would like to give someone who is mad at you about their plugin.

    Login/username:
    Operating System:
    Default Browser:
    IP Address:
    Mac Address:
    Plugin in use:
    DAW in use:
    Plugin Format:
    Serial Number of Plugin:
    Blacklisted: Y/N
    Model Name:
    Processor Name:
    Processor Speed:
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2023
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  9. LoveToGig

    LoveToGig Producer

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    In some plugins there are privacy options/tracking options/anonymous feedback/etc. that can be disabled.
    I strongly recommend to review all the plugins and disable these options because when you are offline, they'll suck up your CPU trying to call home.
     
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