My CAD security

Okay, I did find the answers to my questions about Linux and the best OS to use with Rhino 6 but I have some more technical issues I would like to discuss.

For a while I was using Rhino 4 but I was trying to create files for a 3D printer but every time I tried to create the slt file it would leak because of a flaw in the surface and tracking down and finding all the leaks just became unmanageable so I just put everything on the shelf and said we’l wait and see.

I see Rhino 6 offers what is called an AMF file format. My question is, "Since AMF is supposed to be kind of universal, if the new Rhino 6 converts my files to AMF, will it fix the leaks I had with the slt file? And if it can fix the leaks, can I then down load the AMF file into Rhino and have a corrected version? (Talk about lazy eh?)

I’m trying to create a secure system for my CAD designs because I’m running out of time at the age of 70, so I can’t afford to have some malicious hacker get in and corrupt my work with some virus or have some crooks install ransomware or something and lock me out of my own designs. That would be intolerable.

What I want to do is use a USB memory stick to load and run Windows 10 and Rhino 6 and have all down loads and saves and even cashing etc., anything that can be channeled through the memory stick, so everything, as much as possible, remains on the memory stick, not the computers hard drive, which should only be used for temporary storage as needed or if it is a more efficient use of computer resources.

This way the computer I use is irrelevant beyond its own technical limitations but in some cases it may be expedient or convenient to use what ever is available and since I would be loading my own OS, the computers own OS and firewalls would be incapable of interfering with or contaminating my work. As long as the host computers BIOS allows canvasing of the USB port before it looks at the hard drive for the OS. Next I would like to have an identical copy on an identical USB stick and then back up the working stick to the backup stick at the end of each session. In this way either USB stick can act as the other, so there is no mixing them up and if one gets corrupted, the other should be there. Next I would like to have another identical copy of the original downloads and only use this copy to upload and download on the net. That way any contamination should show up on the first transfer to the working copy and the backup should remain safe.

So after all that my question to you is, “If I buy and download Rhino 6, will I be allowed to make three copies in the interests of security?”

Thank you for your time. Sorry for babbling on.

Cecil Kehler

Well that seems like a huge amount of crazy juggling of stuff just to avoid having decent security and a good offline backup… but that’s your affair.

You can have as many copies of Rhino software installed as you like, but you still have only one license. If you have internet access with your installations you can store your license in the cloud zoo and access it from any installation (one at a time); if not however, you will either need to buy one license for each offline installation, or remove the license from each installation each time so it can be used elsewhere.

I agree, it seems like an aweful lot of trouble to go to only to end up with a solution that relies completely on the USB Stick never breaking, being lost, destroyed, etc.

Having a windows system on a stick that will run on any PC is a total illusion. It is not designed for that and in practice will never work.

The closest I have come to a portable system is macOS and using time machine backups. Those can be easily copied to pretty much any mac without problem. They just need to be able to support the same operating system version and of course that version needs to be installed (from a usb stick for example). The rest just pretty much works and I have done this personally countless times when shuffling around macs at the office and using the time machine backups of employees.

Other than that I don’t see the benefit of the USB stick. What you need is a) a reasonably secure system and b) a decent backup strategy. Carrying a USB stick with all your valuable data in such a way that you can potentially plug it into any pc and have it running is the least secure thing I can think of.

To answer your first question, no AMF is not going to help your STL problems, that’s on the modeling and the meshing.

For your other thing…I have no idea what you think that’s actually going to accomplish, and the only way to get close to it is with virtualization which isn’t supported in Rhino, it might work but don’t expect help if it doesn’t.

Thanks for the input but I’m talking about having essentually Three copies and most of the time it will be connected to my CAD workstation, The mobility option is just an aspect to consider but I am running XT on this computer but I have a copy of Linux on a USB stick and I have on problem loading Linux and running it on this computer. I just don’t see the problem doing the same thing with Windows 10. When your computer first boots it has no OS and as long as the BOIS allows canvasing the USB ports before the hard drive, it can load any OS that the computer is compatible with and most intel computers are capable of running various Windows and other OS.

I’m sorry but I still don’t see the conflict.

The problem is to run Rhino properly you need OpenGL hardware support, which means you can’t just plug it into any old computer and expect it to work without the OS having been specifically installed for that hardware.

I think maybe you are trying harder than you need to. I’m a pretty low tech guy, and this is what I worked out.

I use Google drive on 2 workstations (one at home, one at the shop) and a MacBook Pro. So everything synchs up automatically online.The MacBook is backing up to a Time Capsule with Time Machine, so I have a set of dated offline backups in case something goes haywire online. I use a cloud based Rhino 6 license and it works great. I did buy a second license for the MacBook (discounted upgrade from 5, originally purchased back when I needed a separate license for the Mac) and it’s convenient to use since I travel sometimes where there is bad internet.

Hope this helps.

If you have 3 copies on 3 different machines why not just install windows on them. What prevents you from having it installed on them? You can still run Linux from a USB stick whenever you like.

Drivers are going to be your main issue. The CAD workstation will have different drivers installed than another machine. You will find that things like sound drivers, networking, graphics will give you problems on different machines.

Also, I think load speeds will be pretty bad from a USB stick.

Lastly, I think you might run into some licensing issues. I don’t think an activated Windows 10 will stay activated automatically once you change hardware.

Why do you want the whole OS to be portable? Wouldn’t it make more sense to at least only have Rhino and your files on the stick. I am not sure if Rhino can run portable (without being installed), but that would be worth a try first in my opinion.

Okay you got me, I’m just an old curmudgeon, But let me try to explain.

Portability is just a method of isolating my workstation from the internet. Now it is true that I don’t have to have it be portable in the outside world but I thought if it could be, then it would be easier and simpler to just carry a couple of USB sticks and not need to take any computer, anywhere. After all, when you travel with your computer, is one of the most vulnerable times. Only two, because they are the working volumes and should never be exposed to the internet. Only the third volume connects to the net and it only uploads and downloads files that are relevant to the job and the USB is never connected to the computer during other online activities or surfing.

I am not an expert and wishful thinking is my only guide so, I think that if, a computer is up to date enough to run Windows 10, then 10 will automatically configure itself to the existing hardware, just as it would if you were installing it on a virgin computer and I believe that Rhino will run on most computers these days, so it will just tell the OS what it wants and the OS will oblige. That said, there will be performance differences but life is a compromise.

All that said, even if it is not portable between most machines, I think I should still be able to configure both to work on my own machines. That way I also don’t have to use Windows 10 for my everyday use, because for me, it is unusable for navigating on the net. I can use XP or 7 or something, or anything I am compatible with.

It is all just wishful thinking for me, so thank you for your help!

You misunderstand. I don’t want my CAD workstation computer, to ever be connected to the internet!
Connecting it to the internet is an invitation to disaster.

USB memory sticks (a.k.a. flash drives) are vulnerable to viruses because they have small internal memory which is not checked by antivirus programs. (There are expensive USB memory sticks which are immune to this problem, according to their vendors.) Optical disks are safer than the USB memory sticks because they have no hiding places suitable for the viruses.

If you want to protect something well, you need many layers of defense.
layered security: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Layered_security


If you have good antivirus program, you encrypt your CAD files, and you back them up, they will be safe.

In my opinion, external hard disk drives are perfect for the backup. I used external Toshiba drives since 2007 - they never failed. If you have small files, or lots of money, use solid state drives (SSDs) rather than hard disk drives (HDDs). There are four kinds of SSDs: SLC, MLC, TLC, and QLC. The SLC drives are most reliable. MLC drives are less reliable. TLC drives are much less reliable. QLC drives are the least reliable.

I use Webroot ($30/year, SecureAnywhere for consumers) antivirus program because it is fast, easy to use, and it does not slow down my computer. You can get it from: https://www.webroot.com/us/en

In my opinion, WinRAR is the best encryption and archiving program ($36.62). It makes recovery records, which make it feasible to fix damaged files. If you invent algorithm for making very strong passwords (over 40 characters including non-ASCII characters) and use RAR file format, nobody can open your CAD files without your permission. (If you write down your passwords, they may be stolen.) You can get WinRAR from: https://www.win-rar.com/

In my opinion, Acronis True Image is the best backup program ($40). It is much better than Windows backup. You can get it from: https://www.acronis.com/en-eu/personal/computer-backup/

Covecube makes useful hard disk utilities: StableBit Scanner ($30, surface scanning and file recovery) and StableBit DrivePool ($30, disk pooling to improve reliability). more info: http://covecube.com/projects

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Hi Andrew,

Do you see any problem with my just using a Mac OS with Time Machine and a Time Capsule for offline storage?

Thanks,

Abraham

I have never used Macintosh computers. I guess that your question is about the quality of your backup software. I used primitive backup software before (Windows backup). The main advantage of the Acronis True Image is that I can choose what I back up. (I can choose the drives and I do not have to back up everything.)

Hi Andrew,

Thanks for the informative post. One thing I like about the Time Machine solution is it works in the background so I don’t need to initiate the backup. Something I am historically really negligent about. But other than backup and eye candy it’s hard for me to justify Macs anymore…another topic.

Best,

Abraham

I din’t seem to be able to get you folks to understand, I want to isolate my workstation from the net!

I’ve exported a lot of .stl files from Rhino to be 3D printed. I’ve only had perhaps one that was bad, so Slic3r claimed. Stereo Lithography .Stl still appears to be the de-facto-standard for 3D printed meshes, at least on thingiverse, which for better or worse is still that de-facto-standard site for 3D printed objects.

OpenScad files are gaining in presence, but they are not about triangles, or ease of use.

In a completely unrelated topic: In the United States is a federal violation to 3D print a weapon without a specific amount of metal in it.

Why? Are you working on nuclear weapons? Security is why you keep backups. Running your PC off a usb stick has nothing to do with isolating it from the Net, and is not a good solution for various reasons. Their performance and endurance are NOT suitable for a working computer, they have security flaws that make them a great way to SPREAD viruses, and a “portable” install for Rhino is not practical

If you want your PC to be secure it needs to be kept up-to-date, which means keeping it online. I can’t even personally fathom the idea of working on a computer that’s not online, I find it incredibly limiting when I’m traveling or the Net is down and I can’t just look up stuff I need or procrastinate here.

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Use optical disks to exchange data between your computer and the Internet. Isolating your computer from the Internet does not mean that your data is safe. You have to encrypt your data, make backups, etc…

By the way the word “workstation” now means furniture because engineers use the same computers as everyone else.
best workstations: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7D1qGRaMWsA
workstation vendors: Altwork (USA), Ergoquest (USA), Emperor (Canada), Droian (South Korea), Ingrem (China)

My reasons seem to be beyond your gasp or understanding. I did explain why earlier.

I however will have a specific workstation, that is why I refer to it as a workstation. What some idiot engineer calls his, is irrelevant and meaningless in this discussion.