Cloud storage databases are large server (computer) farms, accessible over the Internet, and owned by a service company for storing customer data for a fee. See The Cloud: A Definition. Companies rent storage space in the cloud to lower their local storage requirements, or as a backup of their data, thus saving them money. Cyber criminal organizations target these very large databases to steal information much the same as that stored…and stolen, from government and private databases. See Target: Government & Private Databases. Their appeal as targets is their enormous size and the fact that many different client databases are stored in the same network of storage devices in the server farm. Once hacked, the cyber thief or his malware would search each customer database, sampling the data looking for personally identifiable information (PII), banking credentials and account numbers, or credit card numbers. This scenario is very similar to the one described for government & private databases. However, the one big difference is that this cloud “storage for hire” operation may or may not have the wherewithal or concern to protect the stored data like a data owner would. Cloud storage is a relatively new business and very competitive. In order to make a reasonable profit, these operations may have to cut corners to remain profitable. In other words, my opinion is that no one knows more about your data and cares most about its security than you…the data owner. The bottom line is that, in my opinion, cloud storage services might be easy and lucrative targets for the cyber crooks.
Those familiar with cloud storage will counter that the data is stored encrypted, and that’s true in many cases. However, global cybercrime organizations have the very best and fastest encryption code breaking software and will not be deterred by encrypted data. Those same people will argue that the cloud company has implemented the best security practices. They may start out that way, but to my earlier thought on profitable operations, those security practices may not be funded at a level that is needed to make them effective against cyber criminal organizations with lots of funds and resources.
This is the place in the articles that I usually offer a tip to help avoid the threat I’ve written about…however, I have no helpful tip to avoid this threat. Short of finding out if cloud storage is used by each company or organization that stores data on you…virtually an impossible task; and then querying them about their storage security practices…which they won’t divulge for security reasons; I’m afraid your data might be stolen if hacked. Cross you fingers on this one. I don’t mean to be flip about this serious subject, but it illuminates the potential danger of cloud storage…in my opinion.
Be very careful…it’s dangerous out there.
Please comment on this article; we all learn from each other when our views and opinions are shared.
I hope you enjoyed this article. If you enter your email address in the Email Subscriptions box on the right column of this page, I’ll send you an email when a new article is posted. I don’t share your email address with anyone…no one; I hate spam too. Please share my site with your friends and family. Thanks.
Remember, personal computing is a blast…keep it productive and enjoyable.
@PaulsInternet on Twitter
Images courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and FreeByte.com