“I remember waking up to see 87 notifications on my phone screen. Someone got into my Google Drive account and stole my photos and, I assume, all my work-related documents. I didn’t know what to do. I was too scared to call my manager, but at the same time, I was more worried about my sensitive data. Did they see my nude photos that we took with Eric at the beach? What should I do?”
Stories like this are more common then you would expect. Models’ accounts get hacked, social media users’ data is sold to third-party companies, bloggers who keep their raw material on cloud storage find their unpublished articles on other websites. The list is too long and scary. In 2020, we still can’t trust any safe cloud storage apps because many of them are not.
Let’s compare the best safe cloud storage solutions to understand which one we can use to protect our online privacy:
It’s Apple’s cloud storage service that is believed to be more secure than many of its competitors. However, the biggest downside is that it is not an open-source service which means no one has access to their source code to audit and find problems by the security and privacy professionals.
Apple has a good reputation and an army of fans who trust their products and services 100%, but if we look back we can see that the company worked hand in hand with NSA and in 2017 cybercriminals stole photos of celebrities and published them online. If FBI requests information about Apple users, they are obliged to provide your data including your iCloud photos, calendar, contacts, etc. Do we still trust Apple and believe its iCloud service is secure enough?
Apple holds the right to scan and delete any data at any time if that is “objectionable”. The company doesn’t even explain what they mean by “objectionable” so maybe it’s something to have in mind every time you upload anything sensitive into your iCloud account.
The service is very popular and easy to use to back up your data, however, there are many concerns about how secure Google Drive really is. NSA with its PRISM surveillance program was collaborating with Google Cloud to collect material on users including their search history, the content of emails, live chats and file transfers.
All your files are encrypted “on the fly” to make sure all users’ data is stored securely. But there is a catch! Google holds the key to your files, which means that they can go into your files if they want to.
Thus, we have another convenient, easy-to-use service that is not secure enough to store our photos and videos.
Compared to Google Cloud and iCloud, this service is not a part of a big corporation with other countless products and services. It’s just a cloud storage service created to serve its only purpose. So, they had one job and, well, they failed at it. While Dropbox is popular, it’s not secure at all and has been criticized by many professionals including Edward Snowden. It’s impossible to verify the source code for the service since it’s partly closed source and there is no end-to-end encryption.
Like Google Drive, Dropbox holds the encryption keys of all its users which gives them a chance to access user data whenever they want to. This is a risk in terms of our data security and privacy. The company has already failed to protect its users’ privacy by first storing user login information in plain text and then making everybody’s files open to access for 4 hours without the account password.
It’s a new player in the market that is determined to provide secure and private experience to its users. The main goal of the service is to ensure your data has no chance to be hacked, leaked or stolen neither from your phone nor from the cloud.
It’s an open-source safe photo app and cloud storage designed to save your photos and videos by encrypting each file you upload on the cloud. Stingle Photos software is released under the GPLv3 license, and everyone can review, audit and even contribute to the codebase. If you are looking for a security and privacy-oriented cloud storage, source code transparency should be an absolute requirement.
Libsodium – a well-vetted cryptographic library is used as an encryption backbone, and, even more, you only provide your email and create a password to register. Your photo and video metadata is 100% encrypted which means in case of a cyber-attack all they get are meaningless ones and zeros. Stingle Photos does not hold the encryption keys and there are no exception backdoors.
You can support Stingle Photos and take control over your data privacy by downloading the app from the Google Store and soon from the App Store.