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How to Secure Your Cloud Storage


How to Secure Your Cloud Storage

How to Secure Your Cloud Storage

Cloud storage is a cloud computing model in which data is stored on remote servers accessed from the internet, or "cloud." It is maintained, operated and managed by a cloud storage service provider on a storage servers that are built on virtualization techniques.

Why waste valuable storage space on your PC or phone when you can store your documents and media in the cloud and share it across devices?

Since the advent of the internet, the technology industry has been steadily moving away from local storage to remote, server-based storage and processing—what is known as the cloud.

By keeping your own documents and media files in the cloud, you can reap the same advantages of anywhere-access and sharing.

The issue, obviously, is guaranteeing that files stored in "the cloud" stay secure and private. What's more, here the enormous players have demonstrated themselves woefully deficient. Google, Dropbox, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft have all worked in cahoots with the NSA. They additionally in their terms and conditions maintain whatever authority is needed to investigate your documents and hand them over to the  authorities if they receive a court order.

To ensure that your files are secure in the cloud, there are a number of approaches you can take.

The simplest and most secure method is to manually encrypt your files using a program such as VeraCrypt , EncFS or AxCrypt . This has the advantage that you can carry on using your favorite cloud storage service, no matter how inherently insecure it is, as you hold all the encryption keys to your files.

VeraCrypt is a free disk encryption software brought to you by IDRIX and that is based on TrueCrypt 7.1a. VeraCrypt adds enhanced security to the algorithms used for system and partitions encryption making it immune to new developments in brute-force attacks. VeraCrypt also solves many vulnerabilities and security issues found in TrueCrypt.

EncFS is a userspace stackable cryptographic file-system similar to eCryptfs, and aims to secure data with the minimum hassle. It uses FUSE to mount an encrypted directory onto another directory specified by the user. It does not use a loopback system like some other comparable systems such as TrueCrypt and dm-crypt. EncFS is definitely the simplest software if you want to try disk encryption on Linux.

AxCrypt is open-source encryption software offering both a free version and a premium (at-cost) version for Microsoft Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. It was originally developed in Sweden by Svante Seleborg and is produced and maintained by him and the staff of AxCrypt AB. It can compress, delete, encrypt/decrypt, and edit files. It is a file-based encryption program, as differs from a container-based encryption program, i.e., each single to-be-protected file is encrypted individually by the program, rather than the program putting all to-be-protected files into a single encrypted container like Truecrypt or Veracrypt, for example, does. Axcrypt comes in installer versions and also a standalone (portable) version for Windows.

AxCrypt can encrypt a file or a folder by using either a key file or a password. AxCrypt can also secure files on the file sharing services such as DropBox or Google Drive. AxCrypt is using AES-128 and AES-256 encryption standard.

There are mobile apps that can handle VeraCrypt or EncFS files exist, allowing for synchronization across devices and platforms.

There is also automatically encrypted cloud service option you can take advantage of it.  These services automatically encrypt files before uploading them to the cloud. Avoid any service that encrypts files server-side, as these are vulnerable to being decrypted by the service provider.

Any changes to files or folders sync with locally decrypted versions before being secured and sent to the cloud.

All services listed below have iOS and Android apps, so you can easily sync across your computers and mobile devices. This convenience comes at a small security price, as the services briefly store your password on their servers to authenticate you and direct you to your files.

TeamDrive – this German cloud backup and file synchronization service is primarily aimed at businesses. It also offers free and low-cost personal accounts. TeamDrive uses proprietary software, but has been certified by the Independent Regional Centre for Data Protection of Schleswig-Holstein.

Tresorit – is based in Switzerland, so users benefit from that country’s strong data protection laws. It provides client-side encryption, although a kink is that users’ data is stored on Microsoft Windows Azure servers. Given widespread distrust of all things US, this is an odd choice. But as client-side encryption ensures the cryptographic keys are kept with the user at all times, it shouldn’t be a problem.

SpiderOak – available for all major platforms, SpiderOak offers a “zero knowledge,” secure, automatically encrypted cloud service. It uses a combination of 2048 bit RSA and 256 bit AES to encrypt your files.

These cloud services are closed source. This means that we just have to trust them to do what they claim to do (although TeamDrive has been independently audited).

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