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How to properly protect your files on the cloud?

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By encrypting them, you can protect your files, your USB keys and your storage disks, but can you do the same for your files and files stored on your cloud account?

The speed of wired and wireless internet connections and the availability of millions of gigabytes of online storage have resulted in Internet-based storage services. Add an unbeatable cost and ease of access, and you get virtually unlimited storage services available at all times.

First used by large companies to store applications, files and mass processing, the services were quickly extended to individuals.

The trouble with the clouds is that by transferring your documents, you give up a little control over your digital assets.

CHECK!

First flaw in the system is your smart phone. If you use a cloud service with your device, losing that one will give a potential attacker access to your remote files. Lock it by code or by encrypting its contents.

Another misconception, that by erasing a photo for example from your phone it is automatically removed from your cloud service. Go check your file online, the photo is still most likely depending on the service to which you subscribe.

BUILD TO BETTER SHARE

For reasons of storage and especially file sharing, cloud services are often the only way. For this purpose, encryption tools are available to password-protect a file or folder on remote servers.

Whatever your platforms, Mac OS X, Windows, iOS, Android, there are a lot of encoding tools available online.

On Windows, you can use 7-Zip to compress and archive your key documents into an AES-256 encryption key. A context menu “7-Zip> Add to Archive” becomes visible by right-clicking on a folder or file.

From there, attach your archive to an email or transfer it to your cloud – taking care to choose a word or passphrase.

Always on Windows, GPG4Win is another encoding tool that is easy to install and use, and free, but in English.

On the side of OS X, we find its equivalent GPG Tools with which it is possible to encode annexed files, even an entire email, while mobile iOS (iPhone and iPad) we discover several encryption applications on iTunes Store. Just type in the search box the word “encryption” or “pgp”.

The PGP (pretty good privacy) system, free, works with two keys, one private and the other public. A sender uses the recipient’s public key to encrypt his message that only the recipient with his private key can decrypt. And conversely, the sender takes his private key to encode a message that the recipient can decode with the public key.

Thus, with the use of two keys, the knowledge of one key does not allow to deduce the other. In short, you can encrypt files and messages in both cloud storage and email.

Last but not least, if your data is too important or potentially compromising, store it on your system.

VERIFICATION IN TWO STEPS

Remember, in the fall of 2014, some American celebrities have been stolen from pretty compromising photos stored on the cloud iCloud. Although Apple’s service has not been compromised – attacks targeted only usernames, passwords, and security issues for a few individuals – your data must be securely secure wherever it is.

The Cupertino firm strongly suggests a long password and two-step verification, an additional security feature to prevent third parties from accessing or using your account, even if they are in possession of your account password”.

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