July 2013 - Page 2 of 3 - The Privacy Post

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Working With Words in the Cloud

Posted by on Jul 17, 2013

The cloud has offered businesses and enterprises the technological leverage to stay one step ahead of the competition. But wordsmiths ranging from authors and bloggers to copywriters and technical writers can also use the cloud to gain a competitive edge. The cloud can save writers from the nightmare of losing a manuscript without backup or having an idea stolen. As a writer, your words are your livelihood. Writers can secure their ideas with the same degree of protection that some of the biggest businesses employ. Through a secure third party cloud service provider, seasoned writers can keep their words and manuscripts private. And cloud computing in general enables unpublished writers to reach a global audience, bypassing publishers entirely.

Words in the Cloud

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Before the cloud, the only way to get published was to impress an agent with a stellar sample or slowly build up credentials through small presses before sending off a full manuscript one at a time through expensive snail mail. But now, writers no longer need to rely on publishing houses at all. With unlimited space online to upload works to, writers can tap into potential readers from all around the world. Unpublished writers can collaborate with others and get real-time feedback from editors through threads and blogs.

Developers have already tapped the collaborative potential of the cloud with mobile workforces. But now, freelance writers are using the technology to collaborate with clients from around the world. Projects no longer need to be restricted to time zones with the cloud. All that writers and clients need to stay in touch is a secure cloud service provider and an Internet connection. And with the rise of smartphones, most interactions could even be done via iOS or Android. Freelancers never have to worry about losing a project or sensitive client email, as all data would be securely backed up to the cloud. Storing projects online is much more secure than just leaving them backed up on a user device. Laptops and PCs could lose data during a crash, meaning that unless a writer’s done the work of backing up their work, that painstaking manuscript that’s been fiddled with for ages could disappear with just one power outage. And trying to recover such data could be impossible and at the least, expensive. Think flash drives are a better option? Think about what would happen if that tiny piece of plastic were to get lost. With a secure cloud storage and sync service, writers can rest assured that multiple online copies and backups will preserve their work.

U.S. E-books Revenue Growth

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Uploading works to the cloud also helps protect the copyrights of writers. Writers may not know it, but once a work is written, it is automatically copyright protected. But the problem is being able to prove primary authorship in court if needed. Once a file is uploaded to the cloud, writers can have a digital upload timestamp so that if needed, they could prove copyright of a project or work.

Technical writers have perhaps benefited the most from the cloud as applications, storage, and sync, make project security, mobile collaboration, and development easier, more convenient, and cost effective. The cloud covers a wide range of applications that technical writers use everyday, from terminology databases to authoring systems, that could all be maintained on a cloud server, freeing up space and reducing the need for expensive onsite servers. And writers no longer need to be chained to a desk with an expensive company computer as the cloud enables a mobile workforce, remote collaboration, and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies.

BYOD Policy Survey

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SpiderOak

Writers wanting to protect their manuscripts and projects with the cloud should first follow the steps found in the Journalist Security Guide, especially if leaks or sensitive data is an issue or concern. Many cloud services on the market have wide security gaps that leave projects and manuscripts wide-open to data breach or leaks. But for SpiderOak, this private cloud service provider offers the full benefits of cloud storage along with 100% data privacy for writers of all sorts.

As for just how SpiderOak protects projects and manuscripts, the service offers two-factor password authentication and 256-bit AES encryption so that files and passwords stay private. Two-factor authentication is just like the process used by some banking services that require a PIN as an extra precaution along with a password. Through SpiderOak, users that select two-factor authentication must submit their private code through SMS as well as an individual encrypted password. Writers can store and sync new works with complete privacy, because this cloud service has absolutely “zero-knowledge” of user data, a perk especially useful for ghostwriters. Plaintext encryption keys are only stored on the writer’s chosen devices, so authors can keep rest easy knowing their works are protected. SpiderOak’s private cloud services are available on Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms, along with Android and iOS mobile devices, allowing for flexible solutions for writers on the move.

July 2013 - Page 2 of 3 - The Privacy Post

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Hunting for Jobs in the Expanding Cloud

Posted by on Jul 16, 2013

It’s tough out there for jobseekers. With one of the hardest economic climates in decades, the jobless and looking have to contend with a perpetual application process, in which some even apply to hundreds of different positions in hopes of snagging just a few interviews. But savvy jobseekers can use technology in their favor by taking advantage of the cloud.

Jobs in the Cloud

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According to Gartner, cloud software-as-a-service (SaaS) has already grown to a multi-billion dollar industry. And as more and more businesses flock to the cloud, being cloud literate is becoming a new standard for successful job applicants. Not everyone can be a techie, programmer, or cloud expert, but the least you can do to help boost your appeal as an applicant, is to come to future interviews prepared with a basic knowledge of cloud security and practices.

One way that you’ll likely encounter the cloud in your future workplace is through Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies. Bring Your Own Device allows employees to bring their own laptops, smartphones, and tablets to work, allowing for worker mobility and flexible collaborative solutions. For jobseekers on the hunt, this mobility translates to the ability to tap into potential jobs all around the world. As data can be accessed anywhere through the cloud, jobseekers can have their resumes reviewed by employers both locally and globally.

Jobs & the Cloud

Image courtesy of i2mag.com

Another way to leverage the cloud’s market appeal is to take advantage of a job shortage in cloud experts. Rather than just taking a job that could be obsolete in a few years (due perhaps, to the rapid growth enabled by the cloud), become a cloud expert and enjoy job security for what will soon become the new computing standard for education, medicine, business, government, and personal use. Cloud computing jobs have increased by 72%, making it a fast growing sector that promises staying power as it replaces old, outdated infrastructures across a wide range of industries. And the European Union plans on stimulating growth throughout the EU with investments in 2.5 million cloud computing jobs in both the government and private sector. One growing cloud computing job is DevOps. DevOps are IT-savvy development engineers who are responsible for code migration, cloud management, and implementation.

University of Texas

Photo courtesy of philosophy.commons.gc.cuny.edu

To kick off your career in the cloud, jobseekers can take advantage of new advanced degree programs big data analytics enabled by the cloud. New degrees in big data analytics include courses in business intelligence, IT, enterprise computing, and data science. Prestigious colleges and universities that are prepared to offer such degree programs include New York University, Louisiana State University, North Caroline State University, the University of Texas, and Northwestern University. But don’t delay your application, according to University of Texas program director Michael Hasler, “Getting 50 [students] is not going to be the issue; figuring out where we want to cap it might be the bigger issue.” According to Chris Brenton, a cloud security architect, becoming a cloud expert could be useful in virtually any job sector or work setting. Because once the world makes the full switch to the cloud, the new IT experts will be those that have the best understanding of the cloud and how to best utilize it in a given situation. Chris Brenton said, “So yes, [companies] are looking for the right person, but in a sense they are also looking for some direction in terms of how the cloud can best be implemented in their own, unique environment.” Some of the most popular new cloud jobs on the market include cloud software engineer, cloud architect, and cloud sales executive. With all that the cloud promises, an economic turnaround could be in store in the near future. Make sure you’re a part of it.

SpiderOak for Jobseekers

For jobseekers, one of the biggest detriments to potential hires is through over-sharing incriminating messages and photos on social media. Be sure to set your social media settings to private and keep any scandalous notes and photos private through a secure cloud storage service. Choosing the right third party cloud service can be a challenge as many services on the market have security gaps that leave private data vulnerable to leak. But SpiderOak sets itself apart from the rest of the market by providing a fully private cloud service featuring all of the benefits of cloud storage along with 100% data anonymity.

SpiderOak protects sensitive data through 256-bit AES encryption so that files and passwords stay private. Jobseekers can store and sync sensitive data with complete privacy, because this cloud service has absolutely “zero-knowledge” of user passwords or data. And all plaintext encryption keys are exclusively stored on approved devices, as SpiderOak never hosts plaintext data. SpiderOak private cloud services are available for users on Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms, along with Android and iOS mobile devices, making this one of the only flexible cross-platform solutions around.

July 2013 - Page 2 of 3 - The Privacy Post

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Who Moved My Cloud? Staying Ahead of the Changing Market

Posted by on Jul 15, 2013

The cloud has revolutionized a wide spectrum of industries ranging from education to entertainment. These changes present a crossroads for enterprises and businesses that can choose to either leverage technological progress in their favor or fall behind. Instead of playing an endless game of catch up and “who moved my cheese?” enterprises and businesses of all sorts can stay ahead of the competition and technological developments with the convenience, scalability, and cost savings that secure cloud services can provide.

Atomic Fiction

Image courtesy of cgsociety.org

In the VFX industry, the cloud has already helped to bring about rapid changes. Through the cloud, film projects have been able to enjoy even greater mobility. Secure clouds have also enabled faster rendering and more private storage to help guard against leaks and hacks. With cloud rendering, VFX infrastructure costs can be drastically reduced. While VHF companies once had to rely on massive and costly render farms, cloud sourcing rendering has freed up project budgets and even more important to the film industry, time. According to Baillie of Atomic Fiction, a VFX company that uses the cloud for over 90% of its rendering needs, “We knew we didn’t have the budget for a large data center. But we didn’t want to be a data center company, we wanted to be a creative company.” Secure third party cloud solutions enable such creative industries to stay creative, while leaving the most monotonous and time-consuming processes for the cloud.

Cloud Computing Growth

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Another way that the cloud is changing the market and workplace is in the IT field. With the cloud, traditional IT has practically been rendered obsolete. In the past, IT teams would maintain and manage both servers and software. But now with the efficiency, scalability, and support that third party cloud service providers offer, owning expensive servers that go out of date is no longer a requirement for maintaining control and security for sensitive data. According to Shally Stangley, managing director for Global Services, “Cloud computing has the ability to transform an IT’s focus from performing business as usual activities (keeping the organization running) to driving IT innovation. IT teams spend less time on updating, upgrading, and maintaining systems and more time supporting business processes, analytics and critical decision making.”

Global Cloud Projections

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Cloud computing frees up IT teams to help instill and maintain better security practices onsite Furthermore, according to executive director of network services for TEKsystems, Rick Madan, “The total cost of ownership of software and hardware goes down for end users since they are removed from the business of buying, licensing, and maintaining associated assets…. the revenue-and-service premise for cloud providers is built on a ‘pay as you go’ model so as an end using company, instead of getting bogged down in the sunk costs of servicing debt related to sometimes idle IT processes and resources, the cloud model allows you only pay for those actually utilized by the business at any given moment.” Thus, the cloud both streamlines IT and reduces the need for large IT staffs, offering enterprises and businesses radically reduced storage and sync costs.

Another way the cloud is revolutionizing the market is in customer relations and building brand loyalty. According to vice president of the Cloud Business Unit of Red Hat, Scott Crenshaw, “The old mantra used to be people buy from people. But customers are moving to more online transactions, which is fundamentally a cloud phenomenon. Even in industries where the transaction requires direct personal interaction, buyers will form their opinions of products and services based on input from online communities.” Furthermore, he says that cloud services offer, “niche retailers the ability to tweak their offerings and develop a closer understanding of their customers.” This way, enterprises and businesses of all sizes can leverage the cloud in their favor. But when choosing a third party cloud service provider, enterprises and businesses should make sure that the provider offers data security and user anonymity, otherwise data could be vulnerable to a breach.

SpiderOak

For enterprises and businesses looking to leverage the cloud, SpiderOak Blue offers fully private “public” and onsite server options for full flexibility. Choosing the right third party cloud service can be a challenge as many services on the market have security gaps that leave private data vulnerable to third party attacks. But SpiderOak sets itself apart from the rest of the market by providing a fully private cloud service featuring all of the benefits of cloud storage along with 100% data anonymity.

SpiderOak protects sensitive enterprise data through 256-bit AES encryption so that files and passwords stay private. Authorized accounts can store and sync sensitive data with complete privacy, because this cloud service has absolutely “zero-knowledge” of user passwords or data. And all plaintext encryption keys are exclusively stored on approved devices (SpiderOak never hosts plaintext data). SpiderOak Blue’s private cloud services are available for enterprises on Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms, along with Android and iOS mobile devices, making this one of the only flexible cross-platform solutions on the market.

July 2013 - Page 2 of 3 - The Privacy Post

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Launch Your Startup to Success With These Security Steps

Posted by on Jul 12, 2013

In a wave of hacking and widespread pirating, governments around the world are urging consumers and citizens to proactively protect their data. Developing enterprises, startups, and small businesses have all fallen victim to hacking, security breaches, and leaks. One way to combat this threat is by enacting better security practices in house while cloud-sourcing sensitive data storage and sync to a private cloud service. Third party cloud services allow startups to leverage the latest technology in their favor, reducing the need for expensive servers, large IT teams, and upgrades. But unless the third party cloud service provider can offer data privacy and user anonymity, sensitive company data could be left vulnerable to a breach.

The Global Rush to Cyber Security

Image courtesy of businesscomputingworld.co.uk

All around the world, governments are encouraging their businesses and startups to better protect their data. The ongoing cyber wars between China and the U.S. have put cyber security front and center for exhibiting defense companies at the recent Paris Airshow. According to Chief Executive of Alliant Techsystems, Mark DeYoung, “We, like others, are constantly being bombarded by people who are trying to get into our systems.” Companies like Boeing and Lockheed Martin have been targets of a constant bombardment of hacking attempts. And as Dave Hess, President of Pratt & Whitney, said, “The threat is not exaggerated. It’s a significant issue that we’re all struggling with.”

Mark DeYoung

Photo courtesy of deseretnews.com

The UK government has also jumped on the cyber security train, with a £4 million campaign to raise cyber security awareness among businesses and consumers throughout the UK. This Home Office campaign is part of the UK’s National Cyber Security Programme, which seeks to educate citizens about the threat of cyber crime. According to Minister for Security James Brokenshire, “The digitization of the UK economy has made our lives easier and has created huge opportunities, but it has also created individual security risks as well. If we are to meet these new challenges it’s essential we step up our efforts to stay safe online. The threat of cyber crime is real and the criminals involved are organized and driven by profit. By making small changes British businesses can remain competitive in the global economy and consumers can have greater confidence using the Internet.”

Security Costs

Image courtesy of wsj.net

Africa is currently a hotbed of development and startups. But with this rapid growth comes the increased threat of hacking and security breaches. From notorious Nigerian 411 scams to malware and phishing attacks, many African countries have become primary sites and targets of cyber crime. Steve Santorelli, Director of Global Outreach at Team Cymru, said, “Connectivity has significantly improved in many African countries and the rate of online criminal activity has gone up, leading to better awareness among top managers and people allocating budgets.” One way the continent is combating cyber crime is through promoting and adopting CERT, a multinational organization that monitors, reports, and responds to instances of cyber crime. So far, 11 African countries have signed on to CERT including Egypt, South Africa, Ivory Coast, Sudan, Tunisia, Morocco, and Sudan. Africa’s cyber security problem is highlighted by Palesa Legoze, a Director of South Africa’s Department of Communication,  “For the longest time, South Africa was number three in phishing activity, behind U.S.A. and the U.K.; this is not a government problem, it’s everyone’s problem and there is need for coronation to protect critical internet infrastructure.” As Legoze asserts, securing company and consumer data won’t come from the top down. Rather, consumers and companies must take their security in their own hands, filtering through the market to find truly private cloud solutions for their sensitive data.

A recent report from the U.S. Secret Service and PricewaterhouseCoopers, shows that only 40% of polled executives could identify how effective their security programs were. Enterprises and startups should have clear security standards, procedures, and measures to guard against security breaches that could halt productivity and even damage brands. Startups are especially at risk, as shown by a recent study conducted by Symantec. Symantec Vice President Brian Burch says, “Your business is at its most vulnerable when it’s just starting out – finances are often on a knife-edge, you worry about who to trust with your business plan and who to hire. But risks go beyond poor cash flow and personnel – in today’s digital economy, information is money, and cybercriminals are stealing whatever information they can from businesses large and small, young and old. Startups are not escaping their attention.”

Security for Startups and Enterprises

Startups and enterprises of all sizes can protect sensitive consumer and corporate data from any snooping eyes through storing and syncing with a private cloud service. For enterprises looking for a truly private cloud, SpiderOak Blue offers fully private “public” and onsite server deployment options for full flexibility. Choosing the right third party cloud service can be a challenge as many services on the market have security gaps that leave private data vulnerable to third party attacks, malware, and legal snooping. But SpiderOak sets itself apart from the rest of the market by providing a fully private cloud service featuring all of the benefits of cloud storage along with 100% data anonymity.

SpiderOak protects startup data through 256-bit AES encryption so that sensitive files and passwords stay private. Authorized accounts can store and sync sensitive data with complete privacy, because this cloud service has absolutely “zero-knowledge” of user passwords or data. And all plaintext encryption keys are exclusively stored on approved devices, as SpiderOak never hosts plaintext data. SpiderOak Blue’s private cloud services are available for enterprises on Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms, along with Android and iOS mobile devices, making this one of the only cross-platform solutions on the market.

July 2013 - Page 2 of 3 - The Privacy Post

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Shadows in the PRISM: Protecting Whistleblowing

Posted by on Jul 11, 2013

Whistleblowers and the NSA PRISM scandal have monopolized headlines throughout the 24-hour news cycle for weeks now. But the problem of protecting whistleblowers is nothing new. In 2005, a former intelligence analyst, Russ Tice blew the whistle on an allegedly unconstitutional NSA spying program that targeted U.S. citizens. On a radio show, the whistleblower even claimed that President Obama was once a target of the program. According to Tice, “in summer of 2004, one of the papers that I held in my hand was to wiretap a bunch of numbers associated with a 40-something-year-old wannabe senator for Illinois. You wouldn’t happen to know where that guy lives right now would you? It’s a big white house in Washington, D.C. That’s who they went after, and that’s the president of the United States now.”

Edward Snowden

Photo courtesy of digitaltrends.com

From future presidents to everyday citizens, whistleblowers have leaked information to the public on once-secret programs that have impacted everyone. The most buzzed about instance of recent whistleblowing is the case of Edward Snowden and the NSA PRISM program. According to Snowden, PRISM amounts to the biggest collection of private citizen user data achieved through the cooperation of tech giants like Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Facebook. The government has actively sought to detain Edward Snowden, following a pattern of aggression against whistleblowers and even journalists.

James Rosen

Photo courtesy of humanevents.com

According to court documents, the Obama administration secretly monitored a Fox News journalist, James Rosen, and now the FBI names him a co-conspirator. According to Jan Crawford of CBS News, this is the first time in U.S. history that a presidential administration has treated reporting the news as a crime, while branding a reporter as a criminal suspect. Rosen claimed that he could keep his source private for his 2009 scoop of classified information on North Korea’s nuclear tests. Government agents kept tabs on Rosen’s location, ransacked his emails, and checked his phone records, under the guise of national security. In his defense, President Obama said, “I don’t think the American people would expect me as commander-in-chief not to be concerned about information that might compromise their missions or might get them killed.”

But Jan Crawford, along with many transparency and privacy advocates, are not buying it. On CBS This Morning, Crawford recently gave a scathing critique of the practice of attacking whistleblowers and targeting journalists, “Now, of course, media critics (including) the American Civil Liberties Union say no presidential administration — not even the Nixon administration — went after reporters with search warrants and secret surveillance, and journalists I’m talking to in Washington … are saying they are seeing the impact of this, that their sources and whistleblowers — those people who can be so important in bringing out information to the public that the government may obviously want to keep secret — that they’re afraid to talk, that they’re staying silent. And that, they say, could be the real impact of this. If the administration kind of intimidates people into not coming forward, people stay silent and the administration gets to control the information and the story.”

The argument the Obama administration has set forth echoes the same arguments put forth against NSA whistleblower Tomas Drake and Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg. According to Jesselyn Radack, National Security & Human Rights Director for the Government Accountability Project (the biggest whistleblower protection advocacy group in the country), “If the government wants whistleblowers to stop exposing its illegal conduct, the government should stop breaking the law. At the very least, the government should protect – not prosecute – whistleblowers. In a surveillance state, whistleblowers are the new enemy, but a surveillance state is where the public most needs to hear from whistleblowers.”

Human Rights Watch

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Protecting whistleblowers has garnered widespread bi-partisan support. And the Human Rights Watch has even spoken out on this topic as a human rights issue. In a recent statement on whistleblowing, the human rights group said, “In light of these specific facts, Human Rights Watch urges the Obama administration not to prosecute Edward Snowden or other national security whistleblowers until it is prepared to explain to the public, in as much detail as possible, what the concrete and specific harms to national security his disclosures have caused, and why they outweigh the public’s right to know. If the administration truly welcomes a debate on issues of privacy, rights, and security, as President Obama has said it does, then prosecuting the man who sparked the debate is not the way to show it.” The organization went further, speaking on the Espionage Act and noting “penalties for disclosures under the Espionage Act, whose charges carry 10-year prison terms, are significantly heavier than what many other democracies impose on government agents who expose secrets.”

Keeping Secrets Safe in the Private Cloud

To keep sensitive secrets private while ensuring anonymity, whistleblowers and reporters should adhere to the suggestions in the Journalist Security Guide. After this first step, be sure to keep any secrets safe through a private third party cloud service. Many cloud services on the market have security gaps that leave sensitive information vulnerable to NSA snooping. But with SpiderOak, journalists and whistleblowers can enjoy 100% data privacy.

As for just how SpiderOak protects sensitive data, the service offers two-factor password authentication and 256-bit AES encryption so that files and passwords stay private. Two-factor authentication is just like the process used by some banking services that require a PIN as an extra precaution along with a password. Through SpiderOak, users that select two-factor authentication must submit their private code through SMS as well as an individual encrypted password. Whistleblowers can store and sync sensitive information with complete privacy, because this cloud service has absolutely “zero-knowledge” of user data. Plaintext encryption keys are only stored on the user’s chosen devices. SpiderOak’s private cloud services are available on Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms, along with Android and iOS mobile devices.

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Striking Back at Hackers, Pirates, & Leaks

Posted by on Jul 10, 2013

Software and game developers constantly have to battle the threat of leaks and security breaches. With such culturally accepted and widespread pirating, a full leak or crack could undermine years of research and development, while severely cutting into potential profits. Developers can secure their projects from hacking and leaks by exclusively storing and syncing with a private cloud service.

Photoshop CC leaked onto PirateBay

Image courtesy of petapixel.com

In the face of perpetual hacking threats, developers have been forced to come up with some pretty funny ways of getting back at hackers and pirates. The developers of Arkham Asylum put in some sneaky coding that identifies once the game has been pirated, rendering aspects of the game virtually unplayable. And in the Nintendo DS version of Michael Jackson: The Experience, pirated versions play a switched out soundtrack of a vuvuzela orchestra. While these instances of pirate revenge might provide for a few laughs, they’re far from good security practices. With better practices, security standards, and private cloud storage, developers can ditch the revenge game for a virtually unbreachable data security system.

According to the research firm Forrester, the cloud has enabled companies to stay a step ahead. In a recent Wave report on the public cloud platform market, Forrester said, “Public cloud platforms are the keys that unlock the flexibility, productivity, and economic advantages of cloud computing.” When developers tap into the public cloud potential, they save big on in house server needs, large IT teams, and lost profits from hacks and leaks. Even software giants like Adobe have found their advanced efforts thwarted by savvy hackers. Only a day after the launch of Adobe Photoshop CC, pirates cracked, uploaded, and spread the software for illegal downloading. Uploaded by a user named Ching Liu, the “Adobe Photoshop CC 14.0 Final Multilanguage” torrent was soon one of the most popular software downloads on the notorious PirateBay. Adobe developers had tried to avoid such hacks by including subscription authorizations, but hackers were able to crack them, allowing pirates to use the expensive software for “free”, at the large expense of Adobe.

President Obama with Chinese President Xi Jinpin

Photo courtesy of telegraph.co.uk

And Adobe isn’t the only large company to be attacked by hacking. Recently, President Obama met with Chinese President Xi Jinpin to talk about the threat of security breaches that many Fortune 500s face on a daily basis, including Lockheed Martin, Google, and Bank of America. In addition to larger enterprises, small to medium-sized businesses, including many developers, have started to become prime targets for hacking, leaks, and pirating. According to a recent Symantec report, almost a third of all security breaches have been at the expense of a smaller business. This marks a 72% jump from the previous year, an increase that should alarm all developers.

Barabus Hacked The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile

Image courtesy of gamebreaker.tv

Another instance of developers falling victim to hacking and pirating is the case of The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile. Recently, the Russian hacker Barabus uploaded a PC port of the latest Xbox 360 game, which was previously an exclusive title for the device. Ska Studios was previously able to benefit from an exclusive contract with Xbox 360, and potential releases on other platforms could have been in the works, to further profit the developers that worked so hard on the title. According to Barabus, he cracked and uploaded the game for pirating simply because the developers had not yet released the title for PC. According to Barabus, “The view was expressed that, with respect to the authors, it is not very nice to publish the game on the PC. I have to argue that the part of the authors are not very nice to publish the game exclusively for the Xbox 360, making it impossible for PC gamers to play such a great game. Piracy — yes, that is bad. On the other hand, we did not steal the game for the Xbox 360; we released it for the PC port. Given that the developers ignored the PC platform, about any loss of profit for them is not out of the question. After all, if they wanted to earn money, then the game would be issued on all available platforms. If the game came out on PC officially, then this thread would not exist.” For developers that don’t want hackers determining their platform releases and strategy, trusting a private cloud storage and sync service can safeguard projects.

Private Cloud Solutions for Developers

SpiderOak Blue offers developers data privacy through secure public cloud and onsite server options, granting developers of all sizes flexibility. Choosing the right third party cloud service can be a challenge as many services on the market have security gaps that leave projects vulnerable to third party attacks and pirating. But SpiderOak sets itself apart from the rest of the market by providing a fully private cloud service featuring all of the benefits of cloud storage along with 100% data privacy and user anonymity.

SpiderOak protects sensitive projects through 256-bit AES encryption so that files and passwords stay private. Authorized accounts can store and sync sensitive data with complete privacy, because this cloud service has absolutely “zero-knowledge” of user passwords or data. And all plaintext encryption keys are exclusively stored on approved devices, as SpiderOak never hosts plaintext data of any kind. SpiderOak Blue’s private cloud services are available for developers on Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms, along with Android and iOS mobile devices, making this one of the only flexible cross-platform solutions on the market.

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Straight “A” Hackers: Keeping School Records Safe

Posted by on Jul 9, 2013

Hackers have set their sights on universities and school records. With a single security breach, hackers have been able to access sensitive school records, alter grades, and severely damage the brands of cherished academic institutions. But schools and universities can proactively protect their students and reputations from hacking through securing student data with a private cloud storage and sync service.

Discarded school records

Photo courtesy of Berkelyside.com

Recently, three former Purdue University students were charged with 58 felonies and misdemeanors for allegedly running a grade hacking scheme. The hackers allegedly changed incomplete marks and failing grades to high marks including A’s and B’s. According to the prosecution, the suspects broke into the offices of professors and switched out their keyboards with ones that had key-logging devices installed. With the key-logging devices in place, the students were able to discern the passwords for each professor’s computer, ultimately granting access into grade programs. While grade inflation has been a topic of concern in higher education, the threat of grade hacking undermines the entire educational process.

Roy Sun and Sujay Sharma

Photo courtesy of fox59.com

Hacking even disrupts extracurricular activities and impacts prestigious institutions without prejudice. The most recent elections for president of the Oxford University Union have been a source of much controversy, especially with allegations of hacking. The Oxford University Union was forced to step down amidst a scandal involving his attempted hacking attempts, showing that students will not tolerate hacking in their institutions, even in the case of student election. Other universities that have been the victim of hacking include Chinese institutions like Fudan University, Shanghai University of Engineering Science, and the Shanghai Jiao Tong University. With a simple SQL injection, hackers have attacked Chinese college website about 113 times a day on average.

Edward Snowden

Photo courtesy of abcnews.com

Controversial whistleblower Edward Snowden has claimed, along with the notorious revelation of the NSA’s PRISM program, that the U.S. has routinely attacked a Hong Kong university, whose systems help route all of Hong Kong’s web traffic. According to Snowden, the National Security Agency currently has over 60,000 active hacking targets all around the world, many of which include schools and universities. Instead of holding up student data as collateral damage in the international cyber wars, universities can guard student records against attacks of all sorts by trusting sensitive data to a private cloud service that offers good encryption as well as user anonymity.

Universities around the world have turned to the cloud for savings on servers, server space, large IT staff, and maintenance fees. The scalability of the cloud makes it an obvious option for institutions with fluctuating class sizes and data needs. Recently, the University of the Philippines kicked of its first wave of cloud adoption, with promises of moving even further to the cloud in the future. Through the Google Apps for Education program, email and collaborative applications have moved to the cloud, offering UP students greater storage capacity, reliable servers, and mobile collaboration. UP Assistant Vice President for Development Jaime Caro said, “the rollout of these Google Apps for Education services is just one of the many things underway from the eUP project. In time, these accounts will be synced with the user credentials needed to access the information systems that will be deployed in phases to the campuses. Once completely rolled out to all campuses, this is expected to benefit more than 70,000 members of the UP community (students, faculty, staff): with Google Apps for Education, they will be able to boost their online productivity with 30 GB inbox space, greater file sharing capacity, and a supportive environment for online collaboration.” Elvira Zamora, UP Vice President for Development, further highlighted the benefits of the switch, “The best part is that these tools support and encourage sharing and group work online, much like physically working together in class or in the office. Through these applications, UP students, faculty, staff, and even us administrators will have greater opportunities for collaboration despite geographic constraints.” In a digital age in which more and more of traditional education is taking place online, such flexibility is essential to the survival of higher education institutions. But unless schools choose private cloud services that protect both data and identity, hackers could seize sensitive student information that could undermine the potential of both the student and the university.

SpiderOak Blue

For schools looking to the cloud, SpiderOak Blue offers fully private “public” and onsite server options for full flexibility. Choosing the right third party cloud service can be a challenge as many services on the market have security gaps that leave private student and school data vulnerable to third party attacks. But SpiderOak sets itself apart from the rest of the market by providing a fully private cloud service featuring all of the benefits of cloud storage along with 100% data anonymity.

SpiderOak protects sensitive enterprise data through 256-bit AES encryption so that files and passwords stay private. Authorized accounts can store and sync sensitive data with complete privacy, because this cloud service has absolutely “zero-knowledge” of user passwords or data. And all plaintext encryption keys are exclusively stored on approved devices, as SpiderOak never hosts plaintext data of any kind. SpiderOak Blue’s private cloud services are available for schools and universities on Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms, along with Android and iOS mobile devices, making this one of the only flexible cross-platform solutions on the market.

July 2013 - Page 2 of 3 - The Privacy Post

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Budding Green Businesses Inside the Cloud

Posted by on Jul 8, 2013

Cloud computing has won the loyalty of businesses and enterprises looking to leverage technology in their favor for cost-effective storage and sync solutions. Switching to the cloud could save enterprises big bucks in reduced server, staffing, and maintenance needs. But another often-overlooked aspect of savings through the cloud can be found in energy use. For companies wanting to green their image and practices, the cloud could be a fiscally sound and powerful way to reduce energy needs.

Going Green with the Cloud

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According to recent findings in a study commissioned through Microsoft and done by Accenture and WSP Environment & Energy, cloud storage and sync can radically cut back on an enterprise’s net energy use. This study analyzed greenhouse gas emissions and overall energy use for both cloud-hosted and onsite deployment methods for applications like sharing and email. The smaller the enterprise, the more the organization stood to benefit by employing cloud technology. Organizations with 100 or fewer users could cut their carbon footprint by up to 90% through switching to a secure public cloud, rather than relying on local servers, which typically only run at a measly 10% of capacity. Larger enterprises can save around 30% by making the move to the cloud and a case study involving a larger enterprise found that 32% of the company’s net energy use and carbon output could be reduced, simply by moving the bulk of the company’s email users to the cloud.

The Green Cloud Industry

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The research group Pike Research also conducted a study on the green potential of cloud storage and sync. The study found that mass adoption of the cloud could provide upwards of a 38% reduction in global data center energy use by the year 2020. Consolidating data centers through the cloud allows for strategic usage, capitalizing fully on available capabilities and streamlining processes for better and more energy-efficient practices. According to Andrew Hatton, head of IT at Greenpeace UK, “Currently, cloud computing may be accounting for just 2-3% of total electricity used, but it is growing rapidly.” While some players like Microsoft, have been implicated by Greenpeace, others have earned the loyalty of environmental techies and enterprises that seek out ways to cut cost while reaping the benefits of green branding. Facebook’s IT infrastructure currently boasts complete use of renewable energy sources and only 2% of Apple’s carbon footprint can be traced to IT facilities.

With rapid climate change and a consumer base that rewards environmentally sound practices while punishing polluters, green cloud technologies are more important than ever for enterprises of all sorts and sizes. According to the UN, mobile phones will outnumber the human population by the end of 2014 and mobile traffic is expected to increase by 1300% within four years. Keeping up with the energy demands of this growth is a challenge, but one that cloud storage and sync services can meet. Cloud services can help save enterprises money in big ways previously not thought of before. Server rooms, large IT staff, and big air conditioning budgets are no longer necessary when using a public deployment model for the cloud. And the cloud even helps cut back on the need for office supplies like flash drives, CDs, paper, and ink. In the long run, switching to the cloud helps cut back on energy from manufacturing to the service sector.

Energy Savings through the Cloud

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Eric Masanet, associate professor of mechanical engineering at Northwestern, says, “We can’t fly by the seat of our pants when it comes to assessing sustainability. We need numbers – hard data – to properly analyze how cloud computing compares to how computing is done now. Well-thought-out analysis is especially important with new technology, which can have unforeseen effects. Our public model allows us to look forward and make informed decisions. What we found overall is that by hosting services on the cloud, as opposed to locally, the savings are pretty robust.” In his study conducted with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, he found that switching basic productivity and email functions to the cloud could save around 23 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy for millions of workers in the US. Essentially, that amount of energy could power the entire city of Los Angeles for a year, showing just how much the world could save if enterprises made the cost-effective switch to the cloud.

SpiderOak Blue

For enterprises looking to green their practices with the cloud, SpiderOak Blue offers fully private “public” and onsite server options for full flexibility. Choosing the right third party cloud service can be a challenge as many services on the market have security gaps that leave private data vulnerable to third party attacks. But SpiderOak sets itself apart from the rest of the market by providing a fully private cloud service featuring all of the benefits of cloud storage along with 100% data anonymity.

SpiderOak protects sensitive enterprise data through 256-bit AES encryption so that files and passwords stay private. Authorized accounts can store and sync sensitive data with complete privacy, because this cloud service has absolutely “zero-knowledge” of user passwords or data. And all plaintext encryption keys are exclusively stored on approved devices (SpiderOak never hosts plaintext data). SpiderOak Blue’s private cloud services are available for enterprises on Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms, along with Android and iOS mobile devices, making this one of the only flexible cross-platform solutions on the market.

July 2013 - Page 2 of 3 - The Privacy Post

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Pinching Pennies & Cutting Costs through the Cloud

Posted by on Jul 5, 2013

CIOs and IT teams are familiar with the cost savings that cloud storage and sync services have to offer. But without a system-wide switch to a thoroughly investigated and approved cloud service provider, enterprises of all sizes are left with a hodgepodge of clouds. This often amounts to dangerous and anarchic storage and sync situations, in which different departments, staff, and personnel, utilize different cloud services for different purposes. Networks are left vulnerable and sometimes, private data gets stored in plaintext, making it an easy target for even the most novice hackers. With infrastructure, software, and security offered through various cloud services, not having a standard service could result in security breaches that halt production and ruin brands.

Cutting Costs with the Cloud

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For many enterprises and businesses, cost savings have been the primary driver to the cloud. But to maximize the benefits of the cloud while cutting costs and securing sensitive corporate data, enterprises should plan out a system wide switch to a private cloud service provider that offers data anonymity, zero-knowledge backup, and support. This way, IT departments can help maintain best practices onsite while HR teams can ensure compliance across the network. Through a consolidated private cloud service enterprises can retain control over their data, CIOs can keep tabs on usage and CFOs can manage departmental costs while keeping a centralized financial plan.

Cloud Benefits

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The promise of cost savings has even attracted the attention of the Australian government, with officials considering making a governmental switch to the cloud, similar to the one currently taking place in U.S. governmental organizations. After seeing the benefits of cloud computing in person, Australian Treasury Chief Information Officer Peter Alexander has spearheaded efforts to move organizations and governmental data to the cloud. Savings run the gamut from reduced staffing needs to increased office space due to freed server space. And it’s not just enterprises that are leveraging the cost savings of the cloud, as more and more manufacturers realize the benefits the cloud has to offer.

According to Senior Manager for Microsoft Enterprise Systems, Louis Columbus, cloud systems are attracting manufacturers through enabling personalization, customization, and faster rollout. The constant demand for better and faster production has driven many manufacturing sectors to the cloud including defense industries, industrial industries, aerospace, and tech companies. Cloud services enable a mobile workforce, allow for strong and secure collaboration across networks, and streamline customer service. Another way the cloud can help most businesses, manufacturers, and enterprises is through cloud-based enterprise resource planning. According to Principal Matt Haller of Tilly Virchow Krause, in-house ERP systems “have been cumbersome, required expensive on-site specialized IT resources to run and maintain the system, and have not provided quick access to the necessary information to inform decision making.” Through utilizing cloud-based ERP, enterprises can protect and streamline their resources and data.

Cloud-Based Savings

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Another way the cloud can save enterprises money is by cutting energy costs. According to a six-month long study commissioned by Google and conducted by scientists at both Northwestern University and the Lawrence Berkeley national Laboratory, cloud utilization can save upwards of 23 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity. Onsite servers and data center infrastructure commonly leads to underutilized resources and power waste. Moving the most commonly used applications like customer relationship management (CRM), productivity software, and email from in-house IT-managed system to cloud solutions could reduce energy consumption by up to 87%. But unless a cloud service can provide data privacy and user anonymity, sensitive data could be breached.

Protecting Your Savings

Finding a truly protected third party cloud service can be a challenge as many “secure” services on the market have security gaps that leave private corporate and consumer data wide open to third party attacks and even governmental spying, given the recent NSA PRISM scandal. One cloud storage and sync service that sets itself apart from the rest of the market is SpiderOak Blue. This service provides enterprises with fully private cloud storage and sync, featuring all of the benefits of the cloud along with 100% data privacy. SpiderOak Blue is available with onsite deployment and private servers or outsourced deployment through a private and secured public cloud server.

SpiderOak protects sensitive enterprise data with 256-bit AES encryption so that files and passwords stay private. Authorized accounts and network devices can store and sync sensitive data with complete privacy, because this cloud service has absolutely “zero-knowledge” of user passwords or data. And all plaintext encryption keys are exclusively stored on approved devices because SpiderOak never hosts any plaintext data. This way, even if programs like NSA’s PRISM continue unchanged, consumers can rest easy knowing that their data is truly protected and brands can gain diehard customer loyalty by publically securing consumer information. SpiderOak Blue’s cross-platform private cloud services are available for enterprises on Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms, along with Android and iOS mobile devices.

July 2013 - Page 2 of 3 - The Privacy Post

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Staying One Step Ahead of the Shifting Market

Posted by on Jul 4, 2013

Cloud infrastructure has become the new standard for SMEs wanting to use technology to stay ahead of the competition. Unfortunately, the lack of a standard set of cloud security regulations has led to many SMEs missing out on the benefits of the cloud out of privacy concerns. While many smaller enterprises are kept from the cloud due to fears of data loss or a security breach, once they make the switch, most find that their data is even more secure and private than when all data was hosted onsite.

Cloud Infrastructure

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A recent Comscore survey of 211 small to medium-sized U.S., German, U.K., and French companies, found that before cloud adoption, 60% of respondents viewed the cloud as insecure, 42% were concerned about reliability, and 45% believed that cloud adoption would result in loss of privacy control. After having made the switch to the cloud, 94% claimed they now enjoyed a greater level of security than previously held onsite. 75% of respondents said that their company experienced improved service reliability, 61% claimed that the length and frequency of downtimes decreased after the adoption, and 62% found that privacy levels increased with their cloud service. According to Trustworthy Computing General Manager, Adrienne Hall, “There’s a big gap between perception and reality when it comes to the cloud. SMBs that have adopted cloud services found security, privacy and reliability advantages to an extent they didn’t expect. The real silver lining in cloud computing is that it enables companies not only to invest more time and money into growing their business, but to better secure their data and to do so with greater degrees of service reliability as well.”

The Cloud Infrastructure Market

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The current approach leaves consumer data in a virtual wild west, in which enterprises and consumers much proactively seek out secure cloud solutions that can provide consumer data protections and user privacy. A recent paper in the Washington and Lee Law Review proposes the establishment of legal frameworks that could tackle the absence of cloud security standards by requiring companies to adhere to strict privacy regulations, while offering consumers greater control over their sensitive data. According to co-author Jay Kesan, the H. Ross & Helen Workman Research Scholar in the College of Law, “Our goal with this piece is to raise awareness of the privacy of online information, which is something that people seem to care about a lot more once they actually know what companies are doing with their personal information and data. If you think it’s a fair trade to receive an email service in exchange for letting a company track what Web pages you visit and show you relevant advertisements, by all means, you should continue to do so. But there are always security risks involved when information is stored, electronically or not. Users must weigh the advantages and disadvantages of the available options.”

How Cloud Infrastructure Works

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The situation has propelled many consumers and lawmakers to action. In Australia, lawmakers are addressing the issue by considering national cloud security regulations. With 71% of Australians using a cloud service, the Australian Communications and Media Authority cites privacy and security concerns as its chief concern in considering the implementation of consumer data protections and cloud regulations. But regulations do have a downside in stalled growth and many consumers are just as wary of the government as they are of the cloud service providers, especially in the wake of the NSA PRISM scandal. A safer, cheaper, and easier alternative than rolling out national or global cloud regulations is through exclusively using a private cloud service to store and sync any sensitive data.

Protecting Data in the Meantime with SpiderOak

When selecting a secure service, there are several factors to keep in mind. For one, server location matters. Do you want to the convenience of public cloud deployment, with servers located offsite, or would you trade convenience for more ownership of your data security by keeping cloud services close at hand with an onsite server? Another thing to consider is that many services on the market have security gaps that leave private data vulnerable to third party attacks, malware, and legal snooping.

For enterprises looking for a truly private cloud, SpiderOak Blue offers fully private “public” and onsite server deployment options for full flexibility. SpiderOak sets itself apart from the rest of the market by providing a private cloud service featuring all of the benefits of cloud storage along with 100% data anonymity.

SpiderOak protects sensitive enterprise data through 256-bit AES encryption so that sensitive files and passwords stay private. Authorized accounts can store and sync sensitive data with complete privacy, because this cloud service has absolutely “zero-knowledge” of user passwords or data. And all plaintext encryption keys are exclusively stored on approved devices, as SpiderOak never hosts plaintext data. SpiderOak Blue’s private cloud services are available for enterprises on Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms, along with Android and iOS mobile devices, making this one of the only cross-platform solutions on the market.