The Worst That Can Happen With Cloud Storage

Of the millions and millions of softwares that exist in this world, most of them offer the option to host your data in the cloud. That’s amazing, because “the cloud” is one of the most important technological developments we’ve been exposed to in the last 15 years. It’s the reason we’ve been able to stop buying hard drives every time they’re on sale, and why you don’t need to print every picture from your vacation. It’s also been the reason for numerous hacks, data breaches, and causes for disturbance during that time.

The cloud giveth and the cloud taketh away. While some people would argue that the cloud is more safe (and they have a point — most of the time cloud storage comes with stronger perimeters and surveillance) it’s often this method of storage that leads to hacks.

It’s also important to note that “cloud-based” and “hosted” solutions are not the same things, although you may find that they’re used interchangeably. A cloud based solution is like having a unit in an apartment. You’re able to take advantage of all the utilities and advantages that come from being in the apartment, and each month you’re billed for what you use.

You never have to worry about maintaining the utilities, cutting the lawn, or making sure the security guard downstairs is doing his job. That’s all someone else’s job, same goes for when you’re entrusting your solution to the cloud.

A hosted solution is like buying your own house. You’ve got control over your domain, the ability to put any pink flamingo you want in the front yard and and colour combination of Christmas light you want every November. The only person who has access to the house? That’s you.

But guess who the only person is whose responsibility it is to make sure it’s safe, and that you’ve paid your electricity bill, and that your water hasn’t been contaminated? Well, that’s you too.

Cloud solutions are, by nature, managed. Hosted solutions are controlled by you. But what happens when you put too much trust in the cloud? Let’s take a look at some of the most catastrophic examples of the pitfalls of cloud storage.

Equifax

In the summer of 2017, 147.9 million consumers found out their personal information — including Social Security Numbers, birth dates, addresses, and in some cases drivers’ license numbers — was hacked when Equifax encountered a breach. To add insult to injury for 209,000 of those consumers, they also had their credit card data exposed. Equifax is still cleaning up the pieces and finding out just went wrong here.

Distribute.IT

Australia’s version of GoDaddy found itself in an epic meltdown as 30,000 clients all fell victim to a hack that exposed their user’s data. Things got so dark that Anon, known shit-disturbers of the world wide web, actually contacted Distribute.IT to let them know that this one wasn’t their fault. It took the firm 6 to 12 months to resolve the issue, but at least they got a cool story out of it.

Adult Friend Finder

The world’s most popular banner advertiser that nobody will admit to seeing suffered a huge blow in 2016 when it was caught with its pants down with regards to online security. 99% of the passwords that users created in the 20+ years that Adult Friend Finder and its umbrella of websites were cracked pretty quickly, leading the site to offer apologies twice as fast.

Uber

Sure, you could hack to taxi industry. But that doesn’t mean that someone can’t hack you. Uber found this out the hard way in 2016 when information from 57 million users and 600,00 drivers was found exposed on the dark web. Hackers were able to obtain names, email addresses, and phone numbers of the Uber users, plus the drivers license numbers of the aforementioned 600,00 drivers. The problem was that this information was on Uber’s own GitHub, which should’ve never been the case.

To make matters worse, Uber reportedly paid the hackers $100,00 to destroy the data as part of a “bug bounty” but the results were never proven to have come to. By the time Uber recovered from this full in the public, their IPO had dropped in valuation by $20 million.

Ebay

Sometimes, the call is coming from inside the house. That’s what happened in May of 2014, when Ebay discovered that hackers got into their companies network by using the credentials of three corporate employees. They had access to this network for 229 days,. during which they were able to steal the information of millions of users.