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‘Zero Knowledge’ Encrypted Cloud Service Sees Business Boom, by Steven Nelson, U.S. News & World Report


If you have been paying attention, you have heard about “zero knowledge” clouds — and you are thinking about changing from Drop Box or other clouds that can access the information you put in them. If you know nothing about zero knowledge clouds, don’t stop here. Read more about them, and decide whether it is time for your firm to change to a more secure cloud platform. -CCE

File-storing service SpiderOak says it’s experiencing a business boom – rapidly nearing one million users and doubling its site metrics in six months – amid a constant trickle of news reports revealing Internet surveillance by the government.

Files stored using SpiderOak are encrypted and their contents unknown – and unknowable – to the company. Sharing such files will soon be ‘zero knowledge,’ too, as the company prepares to roll out Crypton, its open source app-building framework, which will be publicly available within the next couple months.

‘Essentially what we did was we inverted the Internet,’ says CEO Ethan Oberman. ‘We created a world where the server is actually a big dumb machine. It only sees encrypted data blocks.’

A free version of the file-hosting service offers 2 GB of storage in exchange for a name, email address, username and password.

‘We don’t really fact check that information,’ Oberman says.

The company does know the IP address of users, he says, but IP-masking browsers – such as Tor – can conceal that information as well, making it possible to store files without disclosing any identifying information.

If the government were to come to the company with a valid legal demand for data, Oberman says, ‘We could turn over the data, but it is literally in encrypted data blocks and not decryptable by us. The only way it’s decryptable is if you have the key, which we do not maintain.’ . . .