Are You Scared of the Cloud? Well You Should Be…

Are you afraid of using cloud services? Well, you should be because the very computing service's model introduces many different reasons to be concerned. There are a number of security flaws common across many different cloud services. In some cases, the cloud service or website poses a security threat and risk to one's privacy by its very design. Let's look at the biggest problems that come with using cloud services, websites and their associated apps.

Non secure Exchanges of Information

When you are connected to the cloud, you have to exchange information with the cloud servers. Your data is at risk when you upload it to the cloud or download it. Dropbox had to patch a flaw found in 2015 that allowed hackers to steal new information uploaded to its cloud through compromised third party Android apps. This is separate from the 2011 glitch that temporarily allowed anyone with a password to log in and view customer accounts.

More than one cloud service has been found to use unencrypted files to exchange passwords between the user's device and the cloud service. In other cases, the apps on the person's device that are used to access the cloud keep the password file in an non secure format that can be stolen by any type of malware on the device. Hacked apps were rated the third greatest threat to cloud security in 2016. The risk is greatest for third parties that rely on APIs and build on those interfaces.

Your Data Is Our Data

Read the terms and conditions of the cloud service before you sign up. Many free services make money by selling your information. Google Photos mines your personal information to create a profile and better sell items to you.

Facebook is notorious for altering privacy settings and collecting all of your information in the time frame before you go in and tell them no again, but it is common knowledge that they do this. Their greater offense was targeting non-users for advertising and data collection. Windows 10 is universally hated for not just updating at the worst possible times and using your system's resources to distribute its updates but constantly changing security settings and using files stored on your device to better advertise to you. However, this is unusual for an operating system, while it is the standard operating procedure for many cloud services. If you save critical business files such as those for your backlinking service in the cloud, expect them to not just read it but advertise to you based on it.

No Guarantee Your Files Are Safe

When your data is saved to the cloud, they are providing the service as long as you pay the bills. If you fail to update a credit card number when the old one expires, you could find your files deleted when you finally get back to access it. Or you may miss a note in the terms of service that says they'll deactivate the account and delete the data after a specified period of inactivity. When cloud services upgrade their software, or change supported file types, they are not responsible for your data loss.

Infoworld reported in 2016 that the number one threat to cloud computing was data breaches. The sheer amount of data stored in the cloud made it an irresistible target for hacking. And this is separate from the risk malicious insiders pose, such as Corporal Manning stealing data on classified servers and giving it to Wikileaks.

Conclusion

When you use a cloud service, your data is at risk on your device, during uploads and downloads to the cloud and in the cloud itself. Your data is at risk from badly designed apps and often shared by design as the price for using the "free" or low cost version of a service. When the service is free, the company may see it as their right to use your data in any way they can to make money. Fail to pay your subscription or log in as often as required and your data may disappear. And if your data is lost or corrupted during upgrades, the cloud company may not see it as their problem.