Just how safe is the data you store in the cloud? Take your pick. Dropbox, iCloud, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, or whatever else you use; how safe is the data you store there?
I’m thinking not as safe as we think, thanks to a few known features which double as safeguards and sometimes become security holes.
One of the most used cloud storage vendors is the popular Dropbox. And why not? There’s a free tier layer. It works well. It’s fast. It’s secure, right? Right? It is, right? Maybe not as secure as we’re lead to believe or as much as we want to think. Dropbox apologized to customers recently because files that were thought to have been deleted by users years ago started showing up again in their Dropbox accounts.
Isn’t Dropbox supposed to delete files when users delete files? Yes. And no. One Dropbox feature is to let users recover so-called deleted files after 30 days. Think of it as a month-long Undo feature. OK, I can understand that and not worry about it because it’s a built-in feature that definitely can be useful to have.
What about storing files for six years? After they were deleted by the user. Dropbox did that, too, and it wasn’t a feature that was advertised. It was a mistake. A bug. One that took up to six years to uncover and repair.
A bug was preventing some files and folders from being fully deleted off our servers, even after users had deleted them from their Dropbox accounts. While fixing the bug, we inadvertently restored the impacted files and folders to those users’ accounts. This was our mistake; it wasn’t due to a third party and you weren’t hacked
Fair enough. Thanks for being upfront and letting us know what was going on. No harm, no foul.
Uh, wait a minute. That big mistake in this instance is just the one we know about, and as mistakes go, you and I both know they’re much like icebergs. You see the top 10-percent, but 90-percent is below the surface just waiting to go all Titanic on your cloud data.
That got me to thinking about my online data storage. I have Dropbox, iCloud, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive; much like most folks– because there is a hefty free tier for each, which combined is substantial. But I also have a collection of Mac files on my Amazon S3 account; I use the Arq backup system to store those, so I have more granular control over the process. As it turns out, my homegrown Amazon-based backup system is more secure and just as automatic as the big boys and their commercial cloud services. For a price.
That’s the point. We store files online and each online cloud storage vendor tells us the same thing. “Your files are safe with us.” And, they back that up with reassurances such as, “Your files are safe with us.” And, we can delve into the fine print and learn, “Your files are safe with us.”
Really? Then what about all those security breaches we read about every week? I’m beginning to think that online storage is good for those selling online storage services, but there’s an iceberg floating around that industry so it’s more than possible, if not likely, that other bugs and problems and data breaches occur for which even the vendors are not aware.
Think twice the next time LOL Data Cats say, “I can has your data?“