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Online Storage With a Twist

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the wiseacres-will-volunteer-to-store-porn dept.

Data Storage 268

mssmss writes "For a long time, I have been looking for a way to securely store my files online without being tied to a single vendor — whose survival my storage depends on. It looks like Wuala has a way to do this, according to this story in the Economist. They use donated disk space of users to scatter your encrypted files over multiple computers."

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fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24965735)

pist frost!

Nice idea (5, Interesting)

Hyppy (74366) | more than 5 years ago | (#24965751)

It's like RAID for online storage.

Sounds great, but what happens when a massive worm outbreak occurs?

Re:Nice idea (4, Funny)

Van Cutter Romney (973766) | more than 5 years ago | (#24965835)

Sounds great, but what happens when a massive worm outbreak occurs?

That's not a problem! [getridofthings.com]

Oh, those worms ...

Re:Nice idea (2, Insightful)

MarkovianChained (1143957) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966061)

Now that I've read that one, can you send the link for getting rid of mental images?

You don't want that link (2, Funny)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966203)

You know how one way to stop feeling the hurt of a stubbed toe is to get a bigger hurt?

Google for goatse.cx ....

Re:Nice idea (3, Funny)

Spazztastic (814296) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966389)

God damnit. I hope nobody was watching inbound websites right then, or I'm gonna have some explaining to do.

Re:Nice idea (2, Funny)

Hyppy (74366) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966759)

I doubt whoever watches inbound websites will want to hear you explain your worms.

Re:Nice idea (2, Informative)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966059)

Sounds great, but what happens when a massive worm outbreak occurs?

multiple copies just like any other good storage solution.

Re:Nice idea (4, Funny)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966223)

Massive Worm? Then you have lots of melange spice and your eyes turn blue.

Re:Nice idea (2, Informative)

fxkr (1343139) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966697)

Sounds great, but what happens when a massive worm outbreak occurs?

Same problem as with regular storage. Have backups.

Re:Nice idea (4, Insightful)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966727)

I concur, and I further assert that backup storage may be one of those things that just doesn't fit into a distributed model nicely. Having several physical copies of the data is 1000 times safer than several online copies, or parts of copies, any or all of which could be wiped out by the same affliction even if in different physical locations by virtue of the network that connects them.

Re:Nice idea (1)

ccguy (1116865) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966749)

-if Scylla was like a pizza, all we got's a slice.

No thanks... (4, Insightful)

KGIII (973947) | more than 5 years ago | (#24965797)

I don't think I want to be liable for the data that someone puts on my PC should the encryption ever be broken.

Re:No thanks... (3, Insightful)

CogDissident (951207) | more than 5 years ago | (#24965863)

Yeah, I can see the government not being particularly forgiving if that chunk of data on your harddrive happens to have childporn or something on it.

"No, really your honor, it wasn't my data. I was just sharing storage space with people online." Is not going to fly in court.

Re:No thanks... (2, Interesting)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966385)

Yeah, I can see the government not being particularly forgiving if that chunk of data on your harddrive happens to have childporn or something on it. "No, really your honor, it wasn't my data. I was just sharing storage space with people online." Is not going to fly in court.

Or, perhaps having this particular software on your computer could actually create the reasonable doubt you require to protect you? Think about it.

Re:No thanks... (1)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966485)

Considering the fact that their server is based in Germany, and one of the "features" listed is

You can also easily share part of your files with friends, family, and co-workers.

I'm sure the government, police and the German version of the RIAA/MPAA could quickly make this site/server both less secure and less permanent.

My general advice would be not to store any important files online because being online is inherently insecure. Important files can be stored in a safety deposit box at a bank (a more traditional and secure approach). For temporary and remote access of files that one may not place a lot of importance on then Wuala and other such services may make sense.

Re:No thanks... (3, Insightful)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966593)

Yeah, I can see the government not being particularly forgiving if that chunk of data on your harddrive happens to have childporn or something on it. "No, really your honor, it wasn't my data. I was just sharing storage space with people online." Is not going to fly in court.

Even if you can point to the company's website "see, I was using this, ask them if I had any way to know what they put on my computer"? Especially since they must have some sort of index saying what they stored where, so you could ask for the relevant part of that.

The real issue isn't what would work in court, but what the media or HR people would do even without a conviction.

Re:No thanks... (1)

Van Cutter Romney (973766) | more than 5 years ago | (#24965907)

I don't think I want to be liable for the data that someone puts on my PC should the encryption ever be broken.

Yeah, but I assume that you would be anonymous to others who are storing their data on your disk. Unless of course the DOJ sends them summons.

Anyway, from my understanding not all the information gets stored in one disk. You'll at max get a sixth.

Re:No thanks... (2, Insightful)

thermian (1267986) | more than 5 years ago | (#24965951)

I don't think I want to be liable for the data that someone puts on my PC should the encryption ever be broken.

Yeah, but I assume that you would be anonymous to others who are storing their data on your disk. Unless of course the DOJ sends them summons.

Anyway, from my understanding not all the information gets stored in one disk. You'll at max get a sixth.

And you think that'll help? No way. If they catch you with even a suspicion of child porn on your pc, you are absolutely screwed.

Re:No thanks... (1)

KGIII (973947) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966269)

1/6 of a collection of photographs would be more than enough I suspect. The risks don't, in my mind, cover the potential benefits. I use a tertiary backup method with one of the backups being off-site. It is not perfect but it ensures minimal risk of data loss. If I were less lazy about it I'd be even more happy but losing a couple of gigs of trivial data because of a hardware failure and my laziness is an acceptable risk to me.

Re:No thanks... (5, Insightful)

denmarkw00t (892627) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966381)

In a distributed system of file chunks, you would never have access to what those chunks make up unless it is YOUR data, so I think its actually a lot safer than you think. In a system like this, all you're storing for other people is essentially random chunks - it would be very difficult to prove in court that you in fact were aware of the content this data belonged to and that you willingly supported a criminal.

The lack of access control (5, Interesting)

apankrat (314147) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966045)

> I don't think I want to be liable for the data that someone puts on my PC

I don't want random people's data on my disk. Period.

I was a beta tester for Wuala and the lack of access control to my donated disk space was the biggest issue. I talked to their CTO and suggested to have an option of donating the space to specific peers only, which should've not been hard to do given they have the social grouping support in place already. He didn't see an issue with wildcarded access though, so they were not planning (nor in fact did) anything about it.

Re:No thanks... (4, Insightful)

Hyppy (74366) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966067)

Or, what if you're in the U.K.?

Police: "We want your encryption keys"
Joe: "I don't have them, they're not my files!"
Police: "Think it over in solitary confinement."

Re:No thanks... (1)

KGIII (973947) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966309)

I wouldn't be at all surprised if various governments actually tried prohibiting some (lawfully prohibited) uses of encryption for private citizens. I even worry that today's mindset of the average person I come in contact with that they'd succeed at such.

Re:No thanks... (1)

Hyppy (74366) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966783)

Perhaps you missed this. [slashdot.org]

The part you get isnt usable... (1)

lazy-ninja (1061312) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966807)

Because they break the files into 100 pieces the pieces on any given computer would not be usable to recreate the original file. Sure, you could break the encryption and have...1/100th of a file.

Online Storage scares me (3, Interesting)

oahazmatt (868057) | more than 5 years ago | (#24965833)

I don't know why, but I really don't like the idea. Even on Google Docs I only put up things that I'm perfectly willing to have comprimised. The idea of having an intermediary overseeing any of my data just encourages me to go out and by an external drive or two.

Re:Online Storage scares me (2, Informative)

Oxy the moron (770724) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966011)

The idea of having an intermediary overseeing any of my data just encourages me to go out and by an external drive or two.

Where do you store your external drives? If it's your personal items you're referring to, you probably keep them in the same house as your computer. Not much of a backup in the event of a fire/tornado/flood/etc. If it's for a business, unless you have offices in multiple locations, you probably keep them in the same office. So now if someone breaks your office's physical security, they have access to your backups as well.

I understand where you're coming from; it's difficult trusting someone to not abuse your privacy or hold your documents captive. I use online storage to back up things that have no "privacy" value per se. I typically just put out backups of my family photos and such.

Re:Online Storage scares me (2, Interesting)

FictionPimp (712802) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966125)

I have a agreement with a family member. I provide them a ssh account on one of my machines with 2TB of storage, they do the same for me. Then I use rysnc to backup my data into an encrypted volume.

Re:Online Storage scares me (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24966137)

I keep my personal USB drives at work, and my work ones at home. (Small company.) Easy & pretty secure. Anything sensitive can be encrypted.

Re:Online Storage scares me (2)

RabidMoose (746680) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966039)

That defeats the whole point of remote storage though. What if your house burns down/floods/gets robbed? It's the Paranoid's Folly: keep all your eggs in one basket, or store them where you can't always seem them?

Re:Online Storage scares me (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966245)

That's why you use encryption. Just about any online backup host that doesn't care which files you send them will work with encrypted files. Encrypt before you send it over. It's really quite simple.

You lose some degree of delta-syncing, if you're doing something like that. You obviously can't send only the changes to a file unless you're doing the encryption remotely (which has some security implications.)

My backup scheme makes use of remote and local storage: encrypted backups to a remote host, and local backups to a USB drive. This way, I keep two backups of my data--one primarily used for machine or disk failure, and one use in case disaster strikes in my area.

Connection Severed (1)

Justin Hopewell (1260242) | more than 5 years ago | (#24965843)

What happens if several of those computers go offline? Do you lose part of your files?

Re:Connection Severed (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 5 years ago | (#24965933)

RTFA There is redundancy for just that reason.

Not me... (0, Flamebait)

Cornwallis (1188489) | more than 5 years ago | (#24965847)

How would this NOT further drag down the speed of the Internet? And wouldn't kiddie pron collectors love this technology?

Re:Not me... (5, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966345)

And wouldn't kiddie pron collectors love this technology?

You could say the same about almost every technology. Full disk encryption, digital cameras, the entire internet itself, all this makes the life of a child pornographer that much easier. Focus on the good uses of a technology, and let law enforcement do its job if someone misuses it.

The toaster (5, Funny)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966581)

You people do realize we need to start with the toaster if we really want to do something about the kiddy porn problem. After all, studies have shown that many child pornographers start their day with a piece of toast for breakfast. Why should corporations be providing child pornographers with equipment that helps them exploit children in this manner?!

Re:Not me... (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966411)

So we have to protect the children and outlaw this service? Is that what you're trying to say?

Re:Not me... (1)

Spazztastic (814296) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966477)

Isn't that the reason big ISPs dropped USENET down to The Big 8?

THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

Re:Not me... (2, Interesting)

Eg0Death (1282452) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966699)

The transfer rate of the files seems to be rather limited as well. My upload was at 12 kb/s when I usually have and upload in the 100s of kb/s from this connection.

Very interesting (1)

StackedCrooked (1204878) | more than 5 years ago | (#24965865)

I think this would be great for setting up an automated backup system.

A well-meaning idea, but perhaps flawed (3, Interesting)

Duncan Blackthorne (1095849) | more than 5 years ago | (#24965889)

It's a nice idea for a perfect world, but we don't live in a perfect world therefore I see several potential problems. One is that like with Tor [torproject.org] , anyone at the end-point could be monkeying with the system. In this case someone could manage to crack the encryption scheme used, and access people's private data. Another problem I see is that if someone is using a service like this to store copyrighted data (mp3's, DVD rips, etc) then, encrypted or not, innocent disk-space-contributors could be implicated in civil or criminal proceedings. Also, some people have bandwidth caps on their internet connections, and even those who don't aren't necessarily going to be happy with our bandwidth being used; I suppose though that if their client software allows bandwidth limiting then it wouldn't be much of a problem. A question I have about this: is there redundancy? What if all or part of a file you're trying to retrieve is on a remote system that's offline?

Re:A well-meaning idea, but perhaps flawed (1)

kokho (1356993) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966463)

Did you rtfa? They use Reed-Solomon error correction methods to break up the data. This allows for distributed storage and reconstruction, where the equivalent of roughly 6 copies of the original file are stored, and assuming constituent users are online 17% of the time, allows the file to be retrievable 99.9999% of the time. But I agree, I'm also iffy. I can't see myself using this service.

Re:A well-meaning idea, but perhaps flawed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24966793)

Did you even read the article? 999,999 times out of a million your file will be available, due to the mathematical magicness of how the file fragments are created and scattered.

Single point of failure (5, Interesting)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 5 years ago | (#24965891)

"For a long time, I have been looking for a way to securely store my files online without being tied to a single vendor â" whose survival my storage depends on."

And when the master server that knows where all those little pieces are goes down, you are still without your data.

Re:Single point of failure (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966115)

It's a pity, a truly distributed system could certainly be built, and it would look similar in many respects to this one. I suppose Wuala has no real incentive to build a system that doesn't need them, though.

Re:Single point of failure (5, Insightful)

cizoozic (1196001) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966219)

And when the master server that knows where all those little pieces are goes down, you are still without your data.

Thank you! What do we have for our winner?

When I started reading TFS I assumed it was going to be some kind of distributed free storage service, that simply stores a copy of each file on multiple free online storage sites. As far as I'm concerned, this instead rates last after single service with a good backup plan and backing it up yourself. /vertisement much?

Re:Single point of failure (1)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966437)

"For a long time, I have been looking for a way to securely store my files online without being tied to a single vendor â" whose survival my storage depends on." And when the master server that knows where all those little pieces are goes down, you are still without your data.

I think you're forgetting about the fact that what you share and upload on this system should in fact be a BACKUP of your files that YOU still maintain a copy of locally.

This is merely another layer of security for your data and HELP mitigate risk of data loss, it is not meant to be the ONLY layer.

Re:Single point of failure (1)

steelfood (895457) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966615)

Without a master server, you're basically looking at freenet. And uh, we know how well freenet works.

Re:Single point of failure (1)

kjllmn (1337665) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966813)

The situation is really the same as today, the only difference that today my data are scattered over one single piece of hardware instead of scattered over several. But scattered it still is. So the threats, basically, remain the same. If the "master server" is down equals if my personal machine is down, etc.

Hmmm.... (5, Interesting)

Facegarden (967477) | more than 5 years ago | (#24965897)

Hmm... sounds good. I'll donate 2TB of space each from multiple computers at different locations and between all of them i'm bound to have two critical pieces of your files, then all i have to do is shut them all down! Muah haha haaaa!

And actually, what would happen if a major disaster shut down all the PC's in a major metropolitan area? Does the service provide enough redundancy that even if everyone in silicon valley went offline, my files would still be safe? I'd rather know where my data is.

Also, slashverteisment? The concept is interesting but the story doesn't bring up the more interesting issue of privacy, it seems like just an ad.
-Taylor

Re:Hmmm.... (2, Insightful)

spacefight (577141) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966001)

RTFA There is redundancy for just that reason.

Re:Hmmm.... (3, Insightful)

Whatanut (203397) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966169)

He didn't ask if there was redundancy. He asked if there was "enough" redundancy. How many nodes going down does it take before the system/data is crippled?

Re:Hmmm.... (1)

spacefight (577141) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966743)

At least, they're having another copy of your files on their servers. So when their P2P network goes down, they'll revert back to a traditionial online storage mode...

What about the availability of my files?
We can't give any guarantees or service level agreements at the moment. Instead, we offer you our promise that we will do our best to make sure your data is always available. Your encrypted files are stored redundantly on our servers so that even if a server crashes, they can be resurrected. Encrypted fragments of your files are also stored in the grid storage which provides an additional backup.

Re:Hmmm.... (1)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966435)

You bring up a good point about redundancy. In order to have one copy of my data on this system someone else needs to donate an equal amount of space. But the article says:

That is an amount of data equivalent to six versions of the original file

Therefore, someone else would have to donate six times as much data as I need stored. For this to break even I would have to donate 86% of my hard disk to backup 14% (including system files that probably don't need to be backed up). I don't think people will go for that.

What worries me more is that the company may try to keep themselves in business through some sort of pyramid/Ponzi scheme (I don't know which one relates better to data) because people are unwilling to donate that much of their drive space.

Re:Hmmm.... (1)

Somecallmechief (1103905) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966607)

It stores a local copy of all your data on your primary computer and each computer you connect with it. For example, if I use laptop A to store file X, file X will always physically reside on laptop A; and when I store File Z on desktop B, that file is always backed up locally to that machine. They keep a full backup of all files on their central servers; and your files are essentially torrented into the cloud of all other users. It's as efficient a way that I've found so far to sync files between multiple computers and VMs. It would be nice to see it either open-sourced or available to install on an internal/private or alternate public network. For what it is, I think it works remarkably well. The legal issue of having unlicensed content from other users stored on your drive seems a bit overblown. From my understanding, which could be wrong, individuals couldn't be held responsible for files (and much more likely file fragments) which they did not seek out, solicit and about which they have no knowledge. I can't be charged for pirating movies if a pirate runs through the open doors of my house in his attempt to flee the law. The same rule *seems* like it ought to apply here: allowing open traffic across your device/network shouldn't implicate you in any crime should it be part of that traffic. Could be wrong. At the very least, services like Wuala drive innovation forward and make it easier for the next startup to get closer to target.

What if... (1)

CautionaryX (1061226) | more than 5 years ago | (#24965903)

*drinks /. Kool-Aid*

What if the FBI/NSA sets up a few computers on this network and just idly waits until something that interests them shows up on their storage space...

Re:What if... (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#24965961)

What if the FBI/NSA sets up a few computers on this network and just idly waits until something that interests them shows up on their storage space...

How would they know if it's something that interests them? Is there any evidence that even the NSA can crack, say, AES in a reasonable amount of time?

Re:What if... (1)

jep77 (1357465) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966237)

How would they know if it's something that interests them? Is there any evidence that even the NSA can crack, say, AES in a reasonable amount of time?

I would think the source of the files could tell them what's potentially interesting even if the contents can't be readily viewed. Simply the amount of data being stored could even be revealing when viewed over a longer period of time. Upswings in storage needs could indicate upswings in operational activity, which might give them clues as to when to watch for other types of traffic they monitor (presumably everything). So whether or not they can crack AES might not matter. But if they can, I'm sure they'll not be admitting to it any time soon.

Re:What if... (1)

RobinH (124750) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966129)

Why wouldn't you just encrypt your files before you send them up to the storage cloud?

tomatoes (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24965915)

tomatoes are made of moon dust and you are a lizard eating corn melon, buttface.

Java Warning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24965921)

If you hate the bloat known as Java as much as I do, and how the JRE loads (chokes) with out asking, don't visit the website.

Re:Java Warning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24966391)

Just disable java in your browser. In a decent browser it's easy to turn back on if you need it.

The real question (1)

JDHannan (786636) | more than 5 years ago | (#24965927)

is who is going to just donate their hard drive space for no reason?

Re:The real question (1)

Van Cutter Romney (973766) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966003)

is who is going to just donate their hard drive space for no reason?

And their bandwidth [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:The real question (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966365)

I'm using my own hard drive space to backup my own files. That way if my house burns down ... oh wait.

Interesting idea that I'd never use (1)

snarfies (115214) | more than 5 years ago | (#24965935)

I like the idea in theory. P2P storage, very nice.

Except that it relies on sucking up somebody else's bandwidth, which may or may not be saturated as they are torrenting pr0n and/or playing WoW.

And it relies on hard drives that will sometimes unexpectedly get wiped from time to time, completely without notice and beyond my control or knowledge.

And except that someday, inevitably, somebody will break the encryption and will have access to pieces of my stuff.

And except that isn't this pretty much what Freenet already does is?

I'll stick with a nice RAID5, thanks.

Bittorrent (2, Funny)

robo_mojo (997193) | more than 5 years ago | (#24965955)

They use donated disk space of users to scatter your encrypted files over multiple computers.

So they use Bittorrent?

Encrypted Files? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24965971)

I dont know if I would be comfortable with encrypted bits and pieces of my important file(s) spread over how many computers. Especially if some creative soul figured out how to crack or break the encryption scheme(s) used.

Still a single vendor (1, Redundant)

Smidge204 (605297) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966013)

Even though you don't want to tie yourself to a single vendor, that's still exactly what you're doing.

Just ask yourself: If Wuala goes under, how will you get your data back?

It doesn't sound like their client application does all the distribution itself, but rather everything is funneled to and from a central server that tracks the scattered data and makes sure enough mirrors are maintained for reliability.
=Smidge=

Why not just use multiple vendors? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24966025)

Put the files on two different vendors, get an external hard drive at home too, and you're set. I'd trust vendors to be much better at both storing your data reliably and keeping it private than some random crowd of people who may choose to uninstall the program after a few months.

Do the math.... (1, Interesting)

cptdondo (59460) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966029)

If my system is part of this network, then...

I have a 1KB file that I want to store. So I send it up to the cloud. It gets stored as chunks that take up 6KB...

Now if I participate in the cloud, I need to offer up 6KB of storage.

Hmmm..

RAID6 needs less than 50% redundant drives. This stuff needs 600% redundant storage.

The storage needs don't add up, except in specialzed situations. Let's say I have information I don't want anyone to find if they steal my computer. I put it up there. But if it's so sensitive, do I really want it up on the web?

I see this as being useful for information smuggling. Hide the file in plain sight in little bits. Reassemble when you cross the border (or after the DHS goons leave...)

Re:Do the math.... (1)

RobinH (124750) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966163)

Except that RAID only gives you redundancy at a single geographic location.

Re:Do the math.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24966167)

You may have a valid point, but since you used "do the math" and "the cloud" in your post, I stopped reading it immediately. Actually, I had to stop reading everything since my eyes were rolled so far back in my head...

Re:Do the math.... (1)

TheBig1 (966884) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966473)

An idea that I had a while back, but which I have never had the time to implement, is to use multiple layers of steganography and encryption over Fuse to make a plausbly-deniable encrypted volume.

The layers would be as follows:

  1. Base layer would be a directory of photos (music / whatever file types allow steganography).
  2. The bits of each file which are used to store data are concatenated (using some sort of RAID-style redundancy) to provide a 'contiguous' chunk of available bits. The level of redundancy could be adjusted to determine how many files could be deleted without actually losing data.
  3. This contiguous chunk is then encrypted, and presented via Fuse as a file system.

This has advantages of being more deniable than a single large file of random data, unusable free space at the end of a volume, etc. Since the steganography layer would be storing essentially random bits, it would in theory be less succeptible to analysis which indicates that it *is* hiding information. (If you use high ISO photos, with a bunch of noise in the first place, this would probably be even better).

Can anyone think of problems (either implementation or theoretical) which I may have missed with this?

If anyone is interested in doing this with me, drop me a message... I am thinking of doing this in Python, as there seems to be a bit of encryption / steganography libraries already there... alternatively, if anyone knows of an OSS project which already does this, I would appreciate a link.

Cheers

Freenet (3, Insightful)

Danny Rathjens (8471) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966063)

Encrypted distributed donated storage sounds a lot like Freenet. [freenetproject.org] :)

Re:Freenet (3, Informative)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966353)

Only that hardly used data can disappear off the network. I assume in the case of this other offering, it never goes away.

Re:Freenet (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966499)

I was wondering if anyone else would remember this.

Of course, Freenet had other goals. You were donating to a pool in which people (yourself included) could share files. This seems to be more for a private pool.

But.... (0, Troll)

SCHecklerX (229973) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966091)

p2p is only used for illegal stuff! This should be outlawed, immediately.

Microsoft Mesh (0, Offtopic)

MrMoDoJoJr (1136875) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966093)

I've been using windows live mesh (www.mesh.com) to achieve this. I have my work machine and my home machine setup to synchronise files. This way I always have two copies of the files on two machines, with a third copy stored online. My wedding photos might actually be safe now.

Spam (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24966105)

Spam

Oh joy. (4, Interesting)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966181)

Step 1: Joe pervert is busted (legitimately) for kiddie porn. It is determined he stored some of it with this service.
Step 2: Service is subpoenaed, and they give out all the user info for all the places where the bits of the files are stored.
Step 3: Arrest hundreds of people, declare a major kiddie porn ring busted, receive promotion.
Step 4: GOTO Step 1

Music Not Porn (1)

fenodyree (802102) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966717)

After using the service for the last hour, I have to say this is a great place to share music, violating copyright and "illegally" downloading tons of material.

Kiddie porn is one concern, but the RIAA will shut this down before the slow bureaucratic police.

15,363,490 files stored in Wuala (2, Interesting)

Skapare (16644) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966189)

I have more than twice that number of files on my 8 external hard drives.

CC (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24966265)

Open up a Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail account and cc them all on an email with your files compressed/encrypted as an attachment.

Donated Bandwidth (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966329)

Nice idea, but no thanks now that my use is capped thanks to comcast.

Always make two backups (4, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966361)

I have a home business. So, for safety, I always keep one copy of my data at work and one at the office.

Oh wait.

What a great way... (1)

CPeanutG (860916) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966523)

What a great way to go over your 250GB monthly limit from Comcast.

If you are considering this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24966565)

and are in ANY business that stores information about employees or insurance filing information, this is a non-starter. HIPPA The Health Information Privacy and Protection Act simply will NOT permit it in all probability for reasons of accessibility, for one thing.

If ONE provider's storage system goes down, is stolen or compromised, YOU are toast as YOU have no control over the physical-layer of security as required under the regulations of the Act.

Nice idea, but for really sensitive information, this could get you fined, get any licenses in the financial or medical fields revoked and could even get you prison time should ANYTHING at all go wrong.

Nope. Not a winner at all for really sensitive data.

FreeNet? (1)

Speare (84249) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966573)

For all the downsides already listed, isn't this idea exactly the same as FreeNet? You'll have someone else's sicko illicit p0rn on your system, while someone else is trying to crack the encryption protecting your bank records. All until the indexing scheme breaks, in which case nobody can retrieve their files.

Churn is your enemy (4, Interesting)

mcorner (168581) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966601)

On paper it is mostly a great idea.

We had a paper on some tricks to play in file systems to make it perform better:

http://prisms.cs.umass.edu/mcorner/papers/fast_2007_tfs.pdf

But when you get down to it, churn is your biggest enemy. If you look at the rate at which people join and leave p2p networks, the amount of replication you need to do can use a lot of bandwidth. Every time a user quits (or drive crashes etc.) all of the data they were storing for others must be replicated again. If they aren't available online for a while you have to assume they have left the network and replicate proactively. See the paper for a few sample calculations based on the churn found in systems like kazaa and skype.

-M

FiRst (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24966603)

CrashPlan (1)

CaptSaltyJack (1275472) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966619)

CrashPlan [crashplan.com] is a really nice option IMO. You can backup your stuff to multiple friends' computers, and the files are of course encrypted (Blowfish, I think) before they're transferred over the network. You pay for a license but your friends don't, which is nice. Very affordable, too.

Freenet (1)

77Punker (673758) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966675)

Freenet has been doing this for years. Basically all it is is a distributed, encrypted filesystem with some HTTP front end.

That's a ridiculous oversimplification, but that's how it works to the user.

Scenarios and Question (1)

MarkKnopfler (472229) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966757)

Bit Torrent Scenario -> 1. File 86 % complete and no other seeders. Stuck for 5 days ! Dang !

Wuala Scenario -> 1. Stored Large File.
                                    2. Want to download file.
                                    3. File 86 % complete and no other seeders. Stuck for 5 days ! Dang !

Possible ?

Stupid department... (1)

Vexler (127353) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966773)

If the data is scattered among many computers, it won't do you any good (or get you any excitement) to store a few blocks of porn. At best you get a few pixels, and you probably won't even know WHICH pixels they are supposed to be, seeing that they are supposed to be encrypted.

Next time, pick something like "Will-trade-blocks-for-food" or something like that.

It's a great idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24966787)

until I turn my PC off/my hard drive dies/I don't want to be part of it anymore and somebody loses all his stuff.
Bad luck.

Why would you want to secure your online files? (1)

Orig_Club_Soda (983823) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966797)

Every Slashdotter would agree that if its on the internet, it belongs to everyone. Digital rights management software and systems to secure personal files ie property is EVIL and there is no acceptable application of such technology.

Sounds risky...but (1)

beatle11 (1086123) | more than 5 years ago | (#24966817)

Obviously if they are storing files on your HDD than theres a huge security risk. But the algorithm used splits the file into many pieces. If they only store on piece of a file on your HDD and scatter the others among other computers that makes things much more difficult for hackers.
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