Is the cloud safe?
For individual applications on the Cloud, the biggest risk is with the level of access you are giving the apps you use. The best example here are the Facebook apps you’ve probably been invited to use by friends. If you’ve ever read the details of what access you are giving these apps, you might think twice before installing some of them. You’re giving the app permission to access your name, profile pictures, username, user ID (account number), networks, your friend list, gender, age range, and locale, and any other information you’ve made public on Facebook.
Another example is with Google. While your Google Account is very secure, using the Google Apps Marketplace for add-ons created by third-party vendors, could give access to log-on information, or allow the app access to the data in your Google account such as your email, calendar, and Google Docs.
If you really want to use an app and want to get a better idea of how safe your information will be you can search the app vendor’s website to determine who they are and what security measures are in place - look for logos showing security certification for the app.
Even with these security measures, you need to be aware that they can never be 100% safe. There have been cases where big cloud storage companies like Microsoft, Amazon and Dropbox have experienced outages and security problems, although they have been quickly detected and fixed. Even though your files are protected by encryption and passwords, there is the small chance that hackers could break the codes and access your data.
What can you do to maximise the security of your data in the cloud?
Your passwordChoose a password that’s difficult to hack, and change your password regularly.
· Use at least eight characters, the more characters the better really, but most people will find anything more than about 15 characters difficult to remember.
· Use a random mixture of characters, upper and lower case, numbers, punctuation, spaces and symbols.
· Don't use a word found in a dictionary, English or foreign.
· Never use the same password twice.
Things to avoid
· Don't just add a single digit or symbol before or after a word. e.g. "apple1"
· Don't double up a single word. e.g. "appleapple"
· Don't simply reverse a word. e.g. "elppa"
· Don't just remove the vowels. e.g. "ppl"
· Key sequences that can easily be repeated. e.g. "qwerty","asdf" etc.
· Don't just garble letters, e.g. converting e to 3, L or i to 1, o to 0. as in "z3r0-10v3"
· Don't use passwords based on personal information such as: your name, nickname, birthdate, spouse’s name, pet's name, friends name, suburb, phone number, car registration number, address etc. This includes using just part of your name, or part of your birthdate.
· Don't use passwords based on things located near you. Passwords such as "computer", "monitor", "keyboard", "telephone", "printer", etc. are useless.
· Don't ever be tempted to use one of those common passwords that are easy to remember but offer no security at all. e.g. "password", "letmein".
· Never use a password based on your username, account name, computer name or email address.
Good password tips
· Use the first letter of each word from a line of a song or poem.
· Alternate between one consonant and one or two vowels to produce nonsense words. eg. "taupouti".
· Choose two short words and concatenate them together with a punctuation or symbol character between the words. eg. "seat%tree"