Sunday, July 26, 2009

Online Data Storage ! How safe is it?

Now a days there is much discussion about privacy on the internet, specially focused on individual computers and protection via antivirus and antimalware software’s. It is obviously we who have to protect ourselves from unwanted problems. But there is one internet business that receives virtually not to mention of security: Online Data Storage

Today there are many services offering 1 GB to 50 GB of free and paid storage. These businesses emphasize the joy of backing up to the so called “SAFE” service they provide. So of the service providers even encourage users to put all their personal files on their system for “access from anywhere” convenience. But people who want to use this option have an anxiety- How secure is the information stored on these servers run by strangers and protected only by promises? How about an investigation into the vulnerability of these large storage systems? It would be no surprise to us if there are significant attacks on these servers/data storage business. No doubt in that the management of these companies will strive to keep problems from the media attention.

And then the other side of it, how many of these business willing open their data storage to government agents to search for private information? It is written sometime back that even the famous NSA in the USA is rumored to be monitoring all the world’s communications, be it email, mobile phone, landline, radio transmitters and so forth. The NSA is supposed to have the budget at least more than that of CIA . Do you think our private data on these internet storage services is hidden from the view of these covert agencies? How many of these data storage business are actually controlled by government agencies, either directly or indirectly?
As most of my concerns raised above are very much valid, I know it will be difficult to get clear answers to lot of these questions, but the so called many of these sites do have detailed statements of rights & responsibilities which we hardly or never read them before clinking on “Accept”. Though sites voluntarily d not allow government snooping, it is relatively easy in some countries to subpoena someone’s data. ISP’s willingly handover user’s identity to government authorities these days, even if there is no proof of any wrongdoing. Moreover apart from security one has to be prepared for the service going bankrupt and shutdown without much notice or experiencing unreasonable amounts of downtime, all of which belie their promises of making data accessible anytime anywhere.
Computers & Networks