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Megaupload users could have data deleted soon

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Adriene Hill: Here in the U.S., federal prosecutors say they may delete data from file-sharing site Megaupload as soon as Thursday. The company says more than 50 million users could have their data erased from their personal storage space on the Internet. The government says it's deleting the files because the space was used to share movies and music illegally. But what's it say about the safety of the Cloud as a place to store and share things like our pictures?

For more, we go to Rik Fergeson. He's a security expert at Trend Micro. Good morning. 

Rik Ferguson: Good morning

Hill: So what are the risks to storing things like photos, information, in the Cloud?

Ferguson:  I think only one of the risks that you do have to take into account when you’re using a cloud service is the longevity and trustworthiness of your cloud provider. So for example, if you’re using a service from Apple, with the iCloud service, you can place a much larger degree of trust in them, as a provider.

If you’re talking about a company like Megaupload, this is not publically listed company, it’s not a company with a great pedigree. And therefore, you know, you should have consequently less trust in that provider and take other measures to protect your data.

Hill: Now are there other risks involved in keeping my important information in the Cloud?

Ferguson: I think the other consideration that a lot of people come up against when they’re thinking of storing either personal or commercial data in the Cloud is: how secure is my data from employees in that company? Do they store my data in an encrypted format -- which means they can’t get access to my data -- or is it all freely available to those employees? I know some time back, there was, for example, a Google employee who had to be dismissed for inappropriately accessing information of Google customers. 

Hill: Does this mean I shouldn’t be storing my really important photos in the Cloud?

Ferguson: No, absolutely not. It means you should do your research before you make that commitment and make sure that company that you’re placing your trust in is deserving of that trust. Make sure they’re going treat your data carefully, make sure they’re going to respect your privacy, and make sure that they’re a company that you can trust.

Hill: Rik Ferguson is a security expert at Trend Micro. Thanks so much.

Ferguson: Thank you.

About the author

Adriene Hill is the senior multimedia reporter for LearningCurve.

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