Why End-To-End Encryption Is Important for Your Online Security

Zero-knowledge, end-to-end encryption is the best way to ensure users’ online security and data privacy. End-to-end encryption means all the encryption happens on your device so all your files leave your phone or computer already encrypted. Even your passwords are encrypted and hashed in your device before being stored on the cloud. This means in case of a cyberattack hackers can only see your hashed passwords which are very hard to decode. Nevertheless, we encourage you to have a strong password. The stronger it is, the harder for hackers it will be to decode your password and get access to your account. 

End-to-end encryption is also crucial in cases when admins’ login details are leaked. If an app uses server-side encryption and the system admin gets hacked, hackers can possibly access and decrypt users’ passwords no matter how strong of a password you have. This might happen because server-side encryption means encrypting and decrypting the files on the service provider’s servers. The system admins can have the encryption keys which means hackers will easily get access to your files and passwords.

In case of end-to-end encryption, if the system gets hacked hackers will get a bunch of encrypted files that are impossible to decode without the encryption keys. This is the reason end-to-end encryption should be mandatory for truly secure apps. Basically, your files are being encrypted on your device and only you get the key to them so the provider has no access and possibility to see the content. 

Of course, users’ can’t just rely on app security and have to think of strong passwords. Data breaches may provide access to users’ hashed credentials and weak passwords could be decrypted. 

You already know how important it is to take care about your online privacy, even if you think you have nothing to hide. It’s even more important to be cautious when it comes to sharing your personal files with different cloud-based service providers. You trust the app to keep your personal files safe and the last thing you want is to have your files leaked or learn that the provider has access to your data and is scanning your photos and videos. Whether you store the pictures of your family or your tax returns, you must have the right to data privacy.  

Do You Still Think You Have Nothing to Hide? | The Importance of Data Privacy in 2020

If you are one of those people who think data privacy is not important because you have nothing to hide, this article is for you.

  • Nobody cares what I do online. 
  • Let them get my data, I have nothing to be ashamed of. 
  • This app/device is pretty secure, I watched their ad.

The problem is not just you, the problem is when the surveillance and total control becomes a norm for everyone. Do we want our lives to become like an episode from Black Mirror or a simulation game where our actions are tracked and analyzed?

Do you want to adopt a child? You can’t because they know 10 years ago you were drinking on a daily basis. Do you want to work as a teacher? You can’t because years ago you had a few topless selfies, which happened to be backed up in Google Photos. We all have something to hide.

There are 3 groups of people that need our data:

  • Government officials who install surveillance systems to “fight the crime”
  • Companies who use our data to sell products with personalized ads
  • Cybercriminals who get access to online identities and payment information

Many companies that offer free services derive their revenue from our data. Very often it’s written in their Privacy Policy, but none of us reads those long texts. We get excited to use the free service without realizing that we will pay with our data. 

Often our data is used to sell us services, but the worst scenario is when cybercriminals hack and steal our identity or payment information or when we are manipulated to change our vote. 

stingle photos secure cloud storage

We might think it’s not a big deal if they see what I like, what I usually buy online and where I eat out. But imagine you want to get insurance and they offer you the service at a higher cost just because they have extracted data from your phone and they know you are a smoker or that you don’t walk enough during the day or you have excessive weight. 

We don’t want to publicly speak about our new relationships, or health issues or grades but by granting access to your personal data you literally invite them to follow your actions 24/7. You have to understand what’s the trade-off. What do you give and what do you get? 

We tend not to value privacy until it’s too late. You wouldn’t want your parents to see your private messages or your boss to see your job applications. Let me bring you an example. If you or your friend has been diagnosed with a mental illness and you google it to learn more about the problem, would you feel comfortable seeing ads of psychiatric clinics on your Facebook page? What if one of your colleagues sees the page? 

They know everything about us: where we live, where we work, which metro line we use to go to school, when we usually have lunch and with whom. Does it seem comfortable to always have someone follow you like your shadow?

If you still think you have nothing to hide think once again. It can be your child, your friend or your family members that need online privacy. Fighting for data privacy is not just for you, it’s for everyone to maintain their fundamental right to privacy and personal life. 

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Stingle Photos is an open-source, end-to-end encrypted cloud storage app designed to protect your data privacy. Take control of your data, store your photos and videos on Stingle Photos secure cloud.

Is This App Secure? | Guidelines on How to Check Whether the Software Is Safe to Use

With around 50% of people working from home due to quarantine rules, data privacy has become one of the hottest topics. Heavily relying on communication and cloud storage services to conduct the work, companies are afraid that hackers, Internet service providers or the government might read their private messages and get access to their documents and videos. The only way to avoid data leakage is to learn which software is safe to use. 

The IT market has made it more important to launch a usable product in time than spend more days to work on the security of the software. Many companies think they will improve the security later which is either not possible or it’s done when billions of their users’ data gets stolen. 

Just recently we have found out that Zoom has been falsely claiming that it’s end-to-end encrypted and safe to use. Since Zoom is not open-source, it was almost impossible to verify whether they were lying or not. It’s not just Zoom, a bunch of services we use on a daily bases keep on lying about their software security. 

This is not the time to blindly believe everyone. You need to know the basic ways to check whether the service you use is secure or not. It’s pretty simple and doesn’t require any technical background to do it yourself.

End-to-end encryption 

One of the first things to check for when choosing a service is whether or not they use end-to-end encryption. End-to-end encryption means only you and the person you share the files with have the “keys” to access them. This means no third-party can access your data. 

Open-source code

Open-source code is like the list of ingredients. By making it open to experts, the software company makes it possible for anyone to see its weaknesses. Usually, if the software you use is open-source, you can be sure it’s reliable. The IT community is a jungle and only the best and honest ones survive. It’s easy to check, just google the name of the software and use the keyword “open source”. You will come across many articles and Reddit discussions from random users and experts. 

Many closed-source software companies like Zoom get away with hiding their product security flaws. If it’s an open-source software, the company won’t be able to lie about the encryption that they don’t have.

safe storage stingle photos

Reviews

Talking about the discussions, pay attention to the reviews on the app stores, forums and social media. People don’t hesitate to share their bad experiences and tell what’s wrong with the service or whether this or that software is safe. Meanwhile, you should know no company is perfect and if you see only good reviews that look similar it could be that their employees were paid to leave five-star reviews. This is a common practice on app stores and Glassdoor. 

Data Collection

Read the privacy policy on the provider’s page. They are obliged to inform about any kind of data and metadata collection. For instance, Twitter has just announced about its privacy policy changes. From now on our data will be shared with advertisers and Twitter partners whether we want it or not. 

Beware when giving permissions. Some apps ask for your location, contact list or even access to your media and camera. If you feel that a meditation app shouldn’t ask access to your media, then don’t hesitate to say no and contact the developers for clarifications or simply refuse to use the service. 

Free to use

We’ve all heard the expression that if you don’t pay for the product, you are the product. It’s true. If the service is 100% free, they earn on selling your data and bombarding you with ads. This usually doesn’t apply to so-called freemium plans when you first get the free version then they make you pay. Bare this in mind, any service is a business and no businessman is crazy enough to spend millions on the product and gain nothing from it.

The Coronavirus has taken a lot from us, don’t let your data be taken by dishonest corporations and hackers that use the momentum to earn money. As you see, it’s not hard to check whether the software is safe or not. Follow these simple rules and lifehacks to choose a reliable service both for you and your company. 

Remote Work and Managing Cybersecurity Risks During the Coronavirus Outbreak

For many cybercriminals, the outbreak of the COVID-19 or the Coronavirus is an opportunity to use the chaos to their advantage. As we know, almost the entire world switched to remote working and many IT companies have to be double-careful with their organizations’ cybersecurity. Even though we feel safe at home trying to flatten the curve, working from home can become a headache for many companies. 

Alongside the transition to teleworking, security teams should assess what risks need to be addressed. To get the job done, billions of people use conferencing softwares like Zoom, Skype or Hangouts and login into their work accounts from home. Many don’t have access to VPN services and they forget to, at least, change the passwords to assure some security. 

It’s absolutely critical to take stricter cybersecurity measures with the increased volume of remote workers. With the Coronavirus outbreak, the number of cyber threats and email fishing has doubled. 

Check the emails you get from your colleagues asking for internal information. Calls and emails can be faked. Everyone should be alert, use encrypted softwares and keep the backups of their data on safe clouds. Paying attention to basic security hygiene can go a long way since we don’t know how long the crisis stage of the Coronavirus is going to last.

Cyber attacks are the last thing we as a society need right now. The collective caution when it comes to using safe softwares to work and back up your data can help your company avoid costly incidents.

While protecting your physical health, you shouldn’t forget about your data security. We at Stingle Photos were and are working from home and 100% prepared to cope with the current situation with minimal business disruption. 

A few remote work cybersecurity tips

  • Among a dozen problems that we have to deal with during the Coronavirus outbreak, having your company’s data spread across your team’s personal iCloud or Google Drive accounts can become one of the biggest issues.

It makes sense to provide your team with trustworthy services to communicate and save their work-related files, video and audio material. Count on Stingle Photos. It’s an open-source photo and video gallery with encrypted cloud storage space where your team can save their media.

  • Provide a free VPN service for your team to have encrypted Internet traffic especially when connected to a public Wi-Fi network.
  • Functions like “remember password” for company information systems and work tools should be turned off.
  • Make sure your team implements two-factor authentication both on their mobile phones and laptops.

While trying to stay safe during the Coronavirus outbreak we should take all the measures to reduce the likelihood of cyberattacks, data leakage and errors. For what we know, this situation can entirely change the way we work and revolutionize modern work culture.

Stingle Photos vs iCloud, Google Drive and Dropbox | Which Is the Safest Cloud Storage Solution

“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:

iCloud

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.

Google Drive

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.

Dropbox

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.

Stingle Photos

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.

Top Reasons Why You Should Care About Your Online Privacy and How Stingle Photos Can Keep Your Photos Safe

The right to out data and photo privacy has been compromised by an unprecedented number of cyberattacks in 2019 and 2020. Billions of private photos were leaked exposing many celebrities, politicians and people like you and me. 

We often think we don’t need any apps to hide our pictures since we have nothing to hide. Yet, would you agree to show your bank transfers or post your ID on social media? Private photos must stay, well, private. 

  • In 2019, WhatsApp was hacked and spyware was installed on users’ phones
  • Dozens of celebrity nude photos were leaked from iCloud and Google Drive 
  • Sensitive plastic surgery photos and patients’ personal data was exposed online

Whether you are an influencer with thousands of followers or just a girl who saves her private photos for her boyfriend, you need to understand how essential it is to keep your data privacy. 

Here are 10 reasons why you should care about your online privacy

A fundamental human right

Whether you only have thousands of photos of your dog or you keep compromising photos on your phone, we have a right to online privacy. Only you should decide who can see your photos, videos, messages and work documents. 

Your reputation

We spend a lifetime building our reputation and public image. People perceive our personal brand based on the information we share. Yet, all this can be ruined in a matter of seconds. A leaked video of you taking part in a funny ceremony ban be interpreted in a wrong way, a photo where your colleague is kissing another man will reveal his sexual orientation without him being ready for that. The examples are many and the consequences can change lives.

We change over time

We grow and change our believes, ideas and opinions. A tweet you posted in 2018 does not reflect your current beliefs anymore. The photo where you enjoy a huge stake in 2015 shouldn’t be public for everyone to judge you since you are a vegan now. 

We have the right to change and we have the right to manage the information we share with the world. Even if it’s something innocent like your high school photos, you have to be able to keep those photos safe. 

It’s your career at stake

Who hasn’t applied for a job while still being employed? Who hasn’t sent an awkward photo of her manager to colleagues? Is it just me or you also take a screenshot of your conversation with your teammates and send those to your friend to ask for an opinion?

We do things that are not right but we also have the right to keep it to ourselves without risking our career and reputation. That’s the only way to grow as a professional. But once you are exposed you might have a hard time finding a job in your field since other companies will not want an employee like you. 

Stingle – Control over your photo and video privacy

Now, it’s time to seek a way to take care of your photo and video privacy. There are a number of photo vault apps trying to secure your photos but they only work if someone uses your phone and you set a password to make your photos and videos private. This still doesn’t protect you from leaks. Your data is still not encrypted and is stored on iCloud, Google Drive or OneDrive.

Stingle Photos offers an unprecedented solution to protect your media. It’s an open-source gallery/camera application designed to encrypt, back up and save your photos and videos safe on cloud storage.

Let’s dive deeper to understand how Stingle works. 

No ads

For those who are annoyed with targeted ads and endless pop-ups and announcements, Stingle is 100% ad-free. In addition to that, no personal information is collected and no analytics tools are installed to track you when you use the app or visit the website. 

1 GB of free storage

You can enjoy your 1 GB of free space to save your photos and videos. Once you run out of storage space, you can either free up space by deleting local copies of files that you have already backed up or upgrade up to 20 TB

Transparency

Stingle Photos team believes that trust comes from openness and transparency, that’s why it’s open-source software, which means everyone can audit and review the codebase. We encourage you not to trust any security applications that fail to provide source code transparency. 

You can download Stingle Photos to protect your photo and video privacy from Google Play and soon from App Store.