The notion of cloud storage of your documents may unsettle you nowadays, when considered in the light of the PRISM Internet surveillance scandal. That makes the new Kickstarter project from The CGC Team particularly smart: Plug is a storage system that uses old hard drives or thumbdrives in your home to create a cloud accessible drive . . . that's so secure only you should be able to access your files. That may be a big middle finger thrust up at the Feds.
The company's being a bit gentle about promoting this aspect of its new product, but halfway down the Kickstarter page is a section about the device's security, promising "Your storage is fast and private – again." With Plug, we learn there's "no dark side of the moon," and a smart Pink Floyd-inspired anti-PRISM graphic leaves nothing to the imagination.
Plug stores your files at home. So you can be sure you own your storage. Nobody in the world can access your data, but you.
The encryption is going to be "far more difficult to hack than your computer" the site promises, and to keep the security relevant as the technology advances the Plug will be frequently updated with security patches to keep it "unaccessible from badly intentioned governments and individuals."
That's quite a promise for a $60 gizmo. And, of course, there's much more to the Plug than that. The team behind it seems to have really thought about what the public needs from a cloud-accessible drive. Essentially it's a NAS solution with a pretty flexible front end that means users can get their data from home PCs, their laptops when working remotely, and their smartphone when they're on the move. You can even add up to eight drives to a single Plug via a USB hub, and it'll automatically adjust to cope with the new capacity. There are some smart privacy controls, so you can decide what files are accessible remotely, and for double redundancy, if you buy two Plugs and connect them in different locations, you can make them replicate all your data.
But it's the zero-config private, encrypted VPN at the heart of Plug that may be its cleverest trick. Leveraging an RSA-2048/SHA-1 keyed asymmetric encryption system, it adds an extra layer of safety to your files—it's crackable, like nearly every code, but only if you apply some quite considerable effort.
What files of yours are worth this extra layer of protection?