Tag Archives: security

How SpiderOak is Fighting for Privacy on the Legislative Level

Regardless of who wins the White House at the close of the election, we as Americans do need to think about how we are going to engage, relate, relinquish control of our privacy in this Internet age.

Among the many advantages the Internet provides is the ability to collect, track and report on movements from what webpages we visit, what we buy, where we go, our hobbies, likes, dislikes, and so on. Should the power to abdicate this privacy be placed in the hands of Google, Facebook, eBay and others who will operate in their own best interest? OR should the government pass legislation that protects the rights of our privacy online and what 3rd party companies can and cannot use without our permission? These are important questions that have longer term implications for us all.

As a company founded and focused on privacy, we feel it is our responsibility to be outspoken on this all important issue. As such, please see our recent press release below and we will share further efforts on this topic moving forward:

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SpiderOak to Legislators: New Policies Urgently Needed to Protect Online Privacy

Mobile Applications, Web Browsing, Gaming and Social Media Are Being Monetized for Profit — at the Expense of Consumer Privacy

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, Nov 01, 2012 — SpiderOak, the ‘zero-knowledge’ privacy cloud backup, sync and sharing provider, is urging legislators to put a priority on passing legislation to protect online privacy. In a world where every interaction has an online component, online privacy rights are consistently being neglected or outright ignored.

SpiderOak CEO Ethan Oberman believes now is the time for legislators to address this critical issue. Consumers’ mobile activity, online Web browsing, gaming and social media are being monitored and recorded by companies without opt-in permission (and in some cases without permissions at all). These companies then sell the users’ data without user knowledge and for significant profit.

60 percent of the most popular online websites violate advertising industry best practices by, among other activities, hosting cookies that collect and enable the sale of personal data [1]. Online ad revenues reached $17 billion in the first half of 2012, a 14 percent increase over the same period in 2011 [2]. Facebook alone made a profit of $1.20 per user in 2011, in part by selling the personal data of its 850 million users [3].

“Privacy is a basic human right. To date — however — major online players such as Google and Facebook have been ignoring that fact,” said Ethan Oberman, CEO of SpiderOak. “Lobbying groups are circling the wagons — intent on preventing the government from passing legislation that protects the privacy rights of consumers and companies alike. The social contract to ‘do no harm’ needs to be refreshed before it is too late. There is no reason why companies can’t be transparent about the information they are collecting, develop fully opt-in strategies and earn a profit all at the same time.”

Private information is a valuable business and companies show no signs of halting their for-profit surveillance. No wonder lobbying organizations like the DMA Data-Driven Marketing Institute are contributing millions of dollars to fight privacy legislation [4].

“SpiderOak has blazed a trail in online privacy by proving users can still enjoy all the benefits of cloud technologies without having to sacrifice the value of their content to anyone and for any reason,” said Oberman. “The steps we’ve taken towards greater transparency and privacy is a beacon for the rest of the industry to follow. We urge the government to pass legislation, such as Do-Not-Track, that will empower and protect users — giving them rights well within the traditions of this great country.”

SpiderOak’s industry-leading ‘Zero-Knowledge’ Privacy Standard takes a holistic approach to privacy that affords the complete protection of user data. File backup, synchronization, and storage are encrypted throughout every stage; SpiderOak never stores the plaintext version of a user’s encryption keys (or password). Even those with direct physical access to the storage servers — such as SpiderOak staff — cannot view any portion of a user’s content including folder names, filenames or file sizes. The complete protection of data is thus ensured.

Sources

[1] World Privacy Forum.

[2] MIT Technology Review, “Online Advertising Poised to Finally Surpass Print,” 17 October 2012.

[3] ITP, “Facebook Scores $1.20 Profit Per User,” 2 February 2012.

[4] The Hill,“Advertisers Launch $1 Million Campaign to Combat Privacy Concerns,” 15 October 2012.

Read original press release on MarketWatch.

Announcing the winners of our Halloween Photo Caption Contest: ‘Your Online Privacy’

It was hard for our team to choose three winners from last week’s Halloween Photo Caption Contest around the theme ‘Your Online Privacy.’ We’re happy to announce the top three that we felt best fit the criteria:

#1 New iPad mini: Stephanie

“This is Zara. She used to be a regular human being before her online privacy was invaded by third parties like Google. SpiderOak can help protect you from falling into their traps. Save your souls… and your brains. Get SpiderOak.”

#2 Free 100 GB: Jon

“Even after eating your brains she won’t be able to get into your SpiderOak account. SpiderOak. Sync. Share. Access. Backup. Zombie Protection.”

#3 SpiderOak T-shirt: Keith

“One of many SpiderOak system administrators. (Thank goodness for Zero-Knowledge privacy!)”

Thanks again to everyone to joined us for the contest and above all for your vigilance around online privacy.

Keep an eye out: this coming month we will offer a special deal on storage, launch our new Zero-Knowledge Ambassador program, reveal customer testimonials and continue to highlight the importance of privacy.

Thanks for your entries, contest winners to be announced Monday

Due to the overwhelming response to our Halloween Photo Caption Contest this week, it is going to take us a few days longer to vote on our three winners. We had originally planned on announcing them yesterday, but will now do so on Monday.

A huge thanks to all who participated! We thoroughly enjoyed all of your humorous captions around ‘Your Online Privacy’ that streamed in on Facebook, Twitter, and as comments on the blog.

Stay tuned!

The SpiderOak Team

Halloween Photo Caption Contest: Win a New iPad mini

For those who value privacy and use SpiderOak, one of the scariest things they can think of is their personal information, files or data floating around online*, vulnerable to eyes other than their own. Yikes. No thanks.

So to rid ourselves of the heeby-jeebies, let’s have some fun over the next three days:

WHAT (was that noise?!):

Halloween photo caption contest (see photo below)

EERIE THEME:

‘Your online privacy’: All submitted captions entered to win must be relevant to this theme

RIP:

Contest ends Oct. 31 @ Midnight CT

WHERE (wolves?):

Comment on our Facebook page // Tweet your caption to @SpiderOak on Twitter, using the hashtag #iPadContest // Comment on this blog post below (It doesn’t have to be all three, but the more you spread it around, the better chances you have of winning!)

HOW TO MAKE IT OUT ON TOP:

The SpiderOak team will pick the top three people with a combination of these requirements: 1) The funniest or best caption, 2) The most likes or RTs on Facebook & Twitter, and 3) The most creative approach. We will announce the ‘Top 3′ winners and their caption on our blog on Thursday Nov. 1. Someone from our team will be sure to get in touch with the winners to deliver the prizes.

PRIZES:

The top three Halloween photo caption contest winners will get to claim these items below in correlation with their place:

  1. A new iPad mini
  2. 100 GB free with Spideroak
  3. An awesome SpiderOak t-shirt

We can’t wait to see what caption you come up with for the picture below. Good luck!

And in the meantime, beware of what might be lurking around the corner (or on that hard drive in the sky)…

*SpiderOak is the only 100% private cloud environment. Your plaintext data is at risk on other cloud providers’ servers from a subpoena or breach standpoint. We pride ourselves our on extremely unique, flexible, private, and secure product available for you or your business. Learn more at spideroak.com.

+1 For Privacy

It is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. And while security is crucial, it leaves out something critically important. Privacy.

We believe you shouldn’t have to choose. Companies who can’t offer privacy are forced to sell security alone. For us, it is the combination that leads to the only true freedom online. Our ‘Zero-Knowledge’ Privacy Standard trumps words like ‘trust’ and ‘security’ as plaintext data is never visible to anyone but you.

Join us in both acknowledging Cyber Security Month but also recognizing a huge ‘+1 for Privacy’ with this special promotion:

For only 48 hours, we’re offering 5 free GB for new users and 3 additional GBs for our already loyal support base.

Visit this link: SpiderOak.com/signup/, and use the promo code “plus1forprivacy” in your account settings.

Note: This code will replace your current amount with 5GBs. If you are an existing paying member, please email Plus1forprivacy@spideroak.com with your username and we will add 3GBs to your account.

Thanks for making the web a safe place with us, and your help spreading the word.

+1 for privacy,

The SpiderOak team

The Marriage & Separation of PRIVACY and SECURITY

We’re finding that lot of people aren’t aware of the difference between privacy and security. And for good reason. It can be confusing. They are, after all, so closely linked and equal in importance – you have to have them both.

Think of it like this:

You hope and expect that your bank is SECURE. You expect that no one else can access your account, access your money, and take advantage of your data and assets. It is also critical to the bank’s existence and business that they take the highest security measures to make sure your money and information is safe.

But a bank IS NOT private – they can see your information, how much money is in your account, and can alter information (sans say a Swiss bank account). There is a lot of expectation around trust in this capacity.

PRIVACY is more so the safety deposit box you keep at the bank. Only you have the key. It is not only kept secure, at the bank’s location, through their elaborate measures to give you that assurance, but it is also PRIVATE. You are the only one who can see the contents of the box. (Remember the scene in the Bourne Identity, when Jason Bourne goes to the bank to get his black security box? He gets the key, the box, takes it to a room, closes the curtain, and opens it. Alone, with privacy and security as his allies, he is able to access his gun, passports and money. Look out world!)

Here’s another example: A toilet in a glass room with a bolt lock on it. It is secure. But definitely not private.

One last example: You write in a journal, and hide it in your underwear drawer. It is private, or at least this is your intent, as it holds your own personal thoughts, opinions, or experiences. But it might not be secure. All it takes is a nosy sibling to seek it out, or stumble across it. Like that, your privacy is compromised.

All of this to say, in today’s ever-increasing tech-saturated society, your files, data, and information is more exposed than ever before. We believe it is important that you know what different sites and products you use are doing with your data, or at least have access to that transparency.

Just as you probably desire to use a bathroom NOT in a glass room, know only you can access your safety deposit box at the bank, and that your journal will stay private, so we work to uphold and respect this need. We work to offer you a completely private storage, sync, and share environment. We work to offer you the peace of mind that comes with knowing that only YOU have access to all of your files and data, no one at SpiderOak can see it (we call this our Zero-Knowledge privacy standard). This is our highest priority.

Since the inception of our product, we have worked to marry privacy and security for YOUR complete benefit and peace of mind. The whole reason SpiderOak was created was because there was a need for a private, central repository where we, where you, could safely store all of (y)our data.

“Privacy is not a feature to tack onto a list,” said Ethan Oberman, SpiderOak CEO. “It is very much a part of how you build and structure your product from its inception. We’ve taken this integrated approach in a zero-knowledge environment.”

How would YOU explain the difference between privacy and security? Leave us your analogy in the comments below.

Your reaction? The mining of your personal data

Last Monday, CEO Ethan Oberman spoke with Bloomberg West’s Jon Erlichman about companies like Facebook and Google “Mining Our Personal Data For Profit.” (If you missed it, check it out here.)

We want to hear from you.

  • Have you ever seen ads targeted at you based on a search you’ve performed on Google? Helpful or harmful?
  • Based on personal information you’ve given a company, have you been Targeted? Remember this story in the New York Times earlier this year? “How Companies Learn Your Secrets”.

Leave us a comment below and tell us your story.

And if you missed any of our media sweeps this month, check them out here:


SpiderOak in Media

Our History – Dedication to True Backup & Privacy

Welcome to SpiderOak University. If you’re a student, new user, or a lover of continuous learning, this month we’re talking to you.

We’ll be posting a couple video shorts each week where SpiderOak CEO Ethan Oberman uses a whiteboard to explain some of our basic product functionalities. School yourself and keep an eye out for our FIRST QUIZ tomorrow so you can receive extra GBs.

What is true backup? How do we ensure privacy and security for all your data? Learn how to store historical versions of your data with SpiderOak.

Do you have a .edu email address? Don’t forget – you can enjoy 50% off your private backup/sync/share account:

Sign up today.

Living the CloudLife: Cloud Computing 101

Ever wonder just how far into the clouds you and your data are traveling? You are likely using multiple cloud-based services (including SpiderOak, we hope). Google offers software as a free online service to billions of users across the globe. The Internet giant hosts a set of online productivity tools and applications that live in the cloud such as email (Gmail), word processing (Google Docs), calendars (Google Calendar), photo sharing (Picassa), and website creation tools. And whereas you may not think of those services in ‘cloud’ terms, that is exactly what they are. So when someone asks you to define cloud computing, it may seem difficult at first to explain. Try asking that question to 5 of your friends and you’ll probably get five different answers.

There are many ideas of the ‘cloud’. Often wrapped in marketing lingo, definitions fly all over the net. And while they don’t clearly define cloud computing and what makes it different, they sure make it sound good. In essence, cloud computing means having every piece of data available via the Internet anytime you need it. Wikipedia defines it as “the delivery of computing as a service rather than a product, whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices as a utility (like the electricity grid) over a network (typically the Internet).”

Do you (or can you) remember when there wasn’t a cloud? Before the cloud emerged, there was software-as-a-service computing. Instead of data pipes and routers and servers, the cloud brings full fledged services. The underlying hardware and software of networking remains of course but there are now higher level service capabilities available to build applications.

Every day new start-ups present options for cloud computing. If we follow these trends, the computer merely becomes a gateway into the cloud – removing the need for onboard storage and freeing consumers to leap from one device to another depending on their requirements.

The days of downloading and installing memory-hogging applications on their device will be gone and replaced a powerful Internet browser capable of accessing and computing. However, we are not quite there yet as there are many drawbacks to this system still. The first is accessibility as we still don’t live in a fully connected world where the Internet is accessible everywhere. Further, there are critical security and privacy concerns and who ultimately has access to what data (an issue we worked hard to solve at SpiderOak with our ‘zero-knowledge’ privacy).

The idea of handing over critical data to a 3rd party company still worries many people – and with good reason. Ultimately, users adopt a hybrid approach where some data lives in the cloud and runs off of cloud applications while other more valuable data stays firmly on their machine.

As you are aware, we at SpiderOak are very passionate about privacy and security. In fact, the founders – Ethan and Alan – created SpiderOak to dis-spell the myth that just because data is online doesn’t mean that it cannot be completely private. We believe, as hope more and more companies will agree, it is in the users best interest to employ the most advanced techniques around protecting user data. This will only grow in importance as the cloud becomes more ubiquitous.

Another somewhat lesser known complaint about the ‘cloud’ relates to outages. In the ‘cloud’ world, we have come to expect that data should always be available. And when it is not we become very very impatient and frustrated. For example, imagine not being able to access email or an important business document. All companies suffer from outages as nothing can be perfect all the time (including us humans). Amazon, generally considered the gold standard, had devastating downtime last year that had millions of users suffering. Though no company can promise an outage-free service, there are methods in place to quickly restore service and make sure data is not lost.

Despite some of the drawbacks and a bit of hype, cloud computing remains a critical trend. Many of you have voiced your opinion on Facebook and Twitter on cloud computing. We would love for you to also sound off in the comments. How would you explain cloud computing to your mother? What do you think of cloud computing? What are some of your predictions for the next 5 to 10 years?

I’d love to look back at this blog post in 5 to 10 years to compare your thoughts!

Dropping DropBox: A Relocation Guide

If you have recently switched from DropBox to SpiderOak, we’d like to take a few moments to welcome you to the secure side of backup. We know that switching backup providers can be a lot like moving to a new place.

It can be exciting and maybe a little intimidating too. We at SpiderOak would like to provide you with a relocation guide that will make the transition a little easier. There’s no map or moving boxes required, just the opportunity to start living your new and improved life on the
cloud.

Know the Territory:

You may be accustomed to the DropBox landscape, but at SpiderOak, security is our foundation. We have a strict, zero-knowledge privacy policy and an extensive, layered encryption system. Your data will remain secure on our servers in your very own SpiderOak safe house and we don’t even have the keys! Your password is the only key to unlock the encryptions and we have no way of ever knowing your password. At SpiderOak, we take security seriously.

Learn the Language:

With DropBox, you created a central folder on your hard drive for backup. You dragged and dropped your files into the main DropBox folder. SpiderOak has a completely different approach that allows you to keep your current file structure. Our client allows you to select data from your folder hierarchy using the ‘BackUp’ tab. SpiderOak uploads a mirror copy of your selection to our servers.

As you can see below, it’s easy to select files for backup.

No need to move folders around anymore. ‘Drag and Drop’ becomes ‘Select and Save’

Practice the Customs:

Security is the backbone for all of our features. To ensure security, backup must occur before syncing and sharing. Anytime you modify a file, SpiderOak must first upload the changes and build encryption blocks before any other process can begin. This requires you to back up every device you would like to sync. It also requires a little bit of extra time for the upload process. The motto to remember: ‘Security is our number one priority’.

Get to Know the Locals:

Learn more about the SpiderOak community by visiting our FAQs and Forum. The FAQ is a great place to learn how SpiderOak can meet your individual needs. You can also learn about the variety of special features that SpiderOak has to offer. Our Forum provides an interactive community where our more experienced users can help you get acquainted with your new surroundings. If you have specific questions or requests, please contact our SpiderOak Customer Relations department.

Embrace Your New Home:

SpiderOak offers our free 2GB plan to backup your data for as long as you like. When you’re ready, you can expand your new space and upgrade to our paid plans in 100GB increments. We provide 100GB for $10 per month or $100 per year. SpiderOak doesn’t discriminate. You can back up as many devices as you like, even external drives. We support all major platforms and have no file size limit. The space is yours. The security is yours. Welcome to SpiderOak!