Cloud: are you willing to give your data to strangers? - Hydrogen Code
October 28, 2016

Without even noticing, Cloud has entered our lives.  We started unconsciously using it with webmail and in a blink it spread through every aspect. Apple introduced iCloud to simplify iPhone’s sync and backup while Dropbox, that in the beginning was a collaborative tool for workgroup, improved so much that has been adopted by enterprises and it more like an operating system than a file deposit.

Today we live in the cloud. Office 365. Google Drive, Evernote and other tools we use daily are only the prominent examples of the cloud we use everyday. There are many other things that depend on cloud: think about all the IOT devices that invaded the market. If you can setup your surveillance cam in two click and watch its stream anywhere in the world it’s thanks to the cloud. In the past to do this you needed to open ports on the router, to lose time while setting up dynamic DNS and so on. Now it’s much easier because devices are not talking directly to each other: all the data goes through a server which holds them so that they are accessible everywhere. That’s how Dropbox, OneDrive, Evernote and similar services works.

Good news is that the Cloud solve many problems: simplify the configuration, automate backups of your data, eases file sharing with legit users and avoid to lose data in case of a stolen computer: you’ll have top buy again your hardware but you still got all your data.

Bad news is that while Cloud improve your life at the same time you have to take in account security and privacy. Think about the Fappening. To stole those pictures criminals did not hack VIP’s phones: they just found the passwords fort their iCloud accounts, where all the data was automatically copied. It was not an attack to the servers but a mix of of badly chosen passwords and bad security settings. Have they activated the twi-factor authentication, their data will probably still be private. We cited iCloud, but the same problems apply to any Cloud service, being it Evernote, Dropbox or others.

Of course users could choose better passwords and make use of all the features available to protect their accounts but in any case user’s data are still vulnerable if hackers decide to attack the servers. Do you think is unlikely that huge companies like these could be hacked? It’s not. Yahoo recently admitted a breach in its systems that compromised 500 millions accounts. Using the Mirai Botnet hackers were able to shut down many Internet service for 2 hours on the US East Coast. And there are much many other examples of similar data breaches.

Could is useful, helps saving time and it’s difficult, if not impossibile, to avoid using it. But we have to keep in mind its limits. We have to choose wisely which data is better to keep private at any cost, at least if we want it to remain private.