JustCloud – Really, Just a Cloud

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If your first impression from the service is that it is exceptionally unpleasant and user unfriendly, you are in the exact place where we are. And it doesn’t get any better when you familiarize with the system.

Probably the most irritating part is that the mailing system of JustCloud sends you an email literally upon every move you make within the platform. Also, since it does not actually provide a free version (but if you trick it, it does!), it constantly reminds you that you need to upgrade to a paid plan by pop-ups and adds on the web application and on your task bar if you install the application. It says it only gives you a 14-day trial version. However, truth is that even when this period expires, there is no problem to use the service, although it becomes even more annoying. If you stop using the web or desktop application, you will continue getting emails begging you to come back.

Upon registration the system gives you various discounts, usually about 20% off of your plan price. Actually, the longer you wait during your free trial, the bigger the discount offered to sign up for paid account.

After you register an account on the JustCloud website, the desktop application automatically starts downloading on your device. It performs backup of your files to cloud.

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You can assign scheduled and automated backups and not bother manually performing them later. The platform provides a Drag & Drop functionality, which makes it easy for you to place the files you need to backup in the specific folder of the cloud system. You can also set parameters for the amount of system resources to use and specify not performing backups unless your computer is idle.

The file sharing system is compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux. It offers applications for iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry. With the online cloud storage system you can share files with friends and other users. You can invite them by email, Facebook, Twitter or provide them with a custom link.

Using the Control Panel functionality you can easily trace the transition of your files to and from the platform, the space you are using, the space remaining, the time remaining for your payment plan, and many others. The control panel allows you to access all of your backed up and synced files from any device with an internet connection, anywhere.

However, here is one serious breakdown. If you decide to upload your files and (since in this blog we particularly talk about photos) large collections of images, you can only upload them on a one-by-one basis! How is that possible?! Also, once uploaded, the platform structure is not quite clear and you may have difficulties finding and sorting your files. Here is a web view of the options the platform provides.

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JustCloud offers 24/7 Technical Support and online help, which could be quite necessary because the service is not too user friendly and intuitive, as you notice.

Shortly, for personal use, JustCloud works fine for backing up and syncing files now and then. However, for professional use, we would recommend other data backup services.

Your Photos in (a) Shoebox!

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Nah, Shoesbox is not a place to store your shoes. It’s a place to store your photos. And I don’t mean the developed ones. What Shoebox does is simply backup and organize your digital photos. Not a lot more to it. Also, you can share galleries of your favorite moments with your friends and colleagues by social media or through email.

You can use Shoebox through web or via its desktop and mobile applications. What made us a good impression is the simplicity of the registration process. No extra information required, such as your address or credit card details. Simply enter your name, email address and password and start using the platform.

Regardless of whether you use Shoebox on your computer or your mobile, the application works and looks quite the same. So, for this example we decided to test its desktop version. Once installed, it requires you to select folders to backup from your system.

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When you make your selection, your photos start uploading to the web platform. You can resume backup at any time or add additional folders for synchronization. The upload speeds are not particularly high, although one cannot complain much.

The basic catch here is the photo resolution limit. Provided you don’t want to pay $5/month, you will have to satisfy with the 1024 maximum resolution of your backed up photos.

Your photos are encrypted using the AES-256 standard. Unfortunately, in Shoebox’s Terms and Conditions section they honestly state that they may access, read, preserve and disclose any information for various reasons. However, if this doesnt bother you, you can benefit from the great photo organizing and storing options.

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In the Timeline section of your Shoebox you get all of your photos in the order of uploading. By the way, Shoebox provides a wonderful photo preview option. Also, you can play a slideshow of your images.

In the Events section you have your photos arranged by the time they had been taken. This platform is very useful when your images come with information from the camera they had been taken with. This way the system is capable of sorting them in many ways, such as by the type of camera they were made with, the date they were taken, and even by their location. The cloud backup platform also gives its users a powerful search option, where you can add various search criteria.

And lastly, you can easily share your precious moments with your friends and collaborators by using the Share option of Shoebox. Due to its organization options, you can also view and modify your shares at any time.

Conclusively, besides the aforementioned security issues, the platform seems like a good idea for storing your images. It may be especially useful for backing up the photos you take with your mobile phone, since Shoebox offers apps for Android and iOS. And most of all, thumbs up for the file organizing options, being some of the best we have seen by now.

Wuala for your Photos

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What is your greatest concern when storing your photos in the cloud? Do you want to store them in complete privacy? Then Wuala is definitely a good option. The more commonly used cloud storage services, such as Dropbox and Google Drive, are very convenient and user-friendly, but when we talk about security, they are definitely not the best possible options.

You can use Wuala as a desktop or mobile application for data backup and file synchronization. Unfortunately, Wuala does not offer a free plan. Its paid ones start from 5 GB/EUR 0,99/ month and reach 100 GB/EUR 389/year (for 5 users). The service is definitely not a cheap one, but it is one of the most secure platforms available. It is supported on Windows, Linux, iOS and Android. To use the Wuala service, you need to install its application on your computer or mobile device.

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Initially it gives you four preliminarily created folders where you can backup your files. Using the Add button you can also add files and folders which need to be synchronized. You can also add files for backup and create public and private groups for your stored files.

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The Wuala service mainly differs from the mainstream cloud storage providers in the security measures applied. First, it’s the client-side encryption. All of your files are encrypted locally on your device before being sent to the cloud, which ensures that even on a non-encrypted transfer, no readable data would leak out. The other thing is the policy of Wuala not to have access to your passwords. Only you know your password, but if you lose your password, you will not have access to your files anymore.

If you need to sync particular folders of your photos, click the Add Sync function and manually locate your files in the system to add them for synchronization.

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When your files are synced, you can right-click on any of your folders and make use of the additional features that appear in the drop-down menu. You can also favorite a folder by clicking the star sign that appears to the left of your folder.

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Shortly, Wuala ensures you easily perform file backup and synchronization. It works like any other Sync tool, but with the benefit of being really secure. With Wuala your photos will be safe in the cloud and you will be sure that noone will have access to them, except if you like them to.

The pCloud Encrypted Transfer – a Safer Option for Your Photos

As promised, we will now pay attention to the encrypted version of the pCloud file transfer service. Besides being fully secured, its best part is that it is completely free. To use the service, neither you, nor your recipients need to be registered to the pCloud platform. When you first open https://transfer.pcloud.com/, you are presented with the non encrypted transfer version, and you need to choose the Encrypted Transfer tab.

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As it is in the non-encrypted version, you can send multiple files (up to 5GB total) with up to 200 MB for a single file to up to ten users at once.

When you open the pCloud transfer page, add the files you intend to send using the + Add Your Files section on the screen. Then enter your friends’ email addresses in the Friend’s Email field. When you enter an address, simply click Enter on your keyboard and the email will be added to the list on top of the field. Alternatively, you can click the + Add more friends option to enter other email addresses. After that, enter your email in the Your Email section, below the other users’ emails. This email address will appear as a sender of your files. Below it, you need to enter a password, using which your friends will be able to decrypt your files, once they receive them. You need to provide this password to them using a different media, like an instant messenger or the phone, or maybe over a cup of coffee. When you are done with entering the password, you can enter a message to your friends, explaining details about the files you are sending.

2_Transfer with loaded files

When you are ready with all of the aforementioned steps, click the Transfer button at the bottom of the screen. At this point you will be presented with the progress of encryption. When the process is complete, you will get a screen notification that your files have been transferred. Your friends will receive an email, notifying them about the file transfer you are performing.

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In this email they get a download button from where they can download the files, and an expiry date for them. When the recipient clicks on the Download button, they need to enter your password, in order to decrypt the files and download them.

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By receiving an email notification for receiving the files, you can be sure that the transfer has been successful.

Safely Share your Files via the pCloud Transfer

You are probably already familiar with the pCloud platform, but it has something new to offer its users. This is the pCloud Transfer. To use the service, neither you, nor your recipients need to be registered for the pCloud service. The pCloud Transfer is a completely free and no-registration platform for transferring files. This is a very usable service for photo collectors and photographers. Let’s say you photograph a wedding. You can instantly send a large number of photos to your clients and be completely sure the transfer is fast and secure. Or you can send a collection of photos from your child’s birthday to your guests.

When you open the website you get the following start screen.

1_Transfer start screen

Through this new service you can send multiple files (up to 5GB in size) without single file size limits to up to ten users at once. However, if you register to the pCloud service, you will be able to send files with unlimited size, as long as your quota allows.

Once on the pCloud transfer page, add the files you want to send using the + Add Your Files section on the screen. Then enter your friends’ email addresses in the Friend’s Email field. When you enter an address, simply click Enter on your keyboard and the email will be added to the list on top of the field. Alternatively, you can click the + Add more friends option to enter other email addresses. After that, enter your email in the Your Email field, below the other users’ emails. This email address will appear as a sender of your files. You also have the option to enter a message to your friends, which they will receive along with your files.

2_Transfer with loaded files

When you are ready with all of the steps, click the Transfer button at the bottom of the screen. As you can see, your files are encrypted before sending, which makes the transfer highly secure. When the process is complete, you will get a notification that your files have been transferred. Your friends will receive an email, notifying them about the file transfer you are performing.

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In this email they get a list of the files they can download and an expiry date. When the recipient clicks the Download button, your files start downloading on their computer.

4_Ready to download

You will get a notification that your friends have received the files. This way you can be sure that the transfer has been successful.

Also, through this platform pCloud offers an encrypted file transfer option, and we promise to explain how it works in another article. So, stay tuned!

The iCloud Leak

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Photos in the cloud? This week you are lucky for not being a celebrity! Or maybe you are? Then, let’s hope your pics are not stored in iCloud.

Last Sunday Apple’s cloud service iCloud became a part of a scandalous leak of hundreds of nude pictures of Hollywood celebrities. The theory goes that the pictures were stolen from the celebrities’ iCloud accounts. Representatives of Apple claim that they had always taken user privacy very seriously. But can they prove it this time?

Although there are many hypotheses on the possible means of the leak, security experts are already pointing their fingers at two flaws in the Apple security. Those issues are related to the iCloud online storage application and the Find My iPhone API.

What has probably happened is the so called brute-force security attack, which is essentially a trial-and-error-way of breaking through security, and it usually only works if there is a weakness in the security of a system that allows an unlimited number of login attempts.

Usually, when you log in to a system of such type, it protects you from hacker attacks by locking up the system or the account, if an incorrect password is entered a certain number of times. However, after the leak it was established that the Find My iPhone app does not have such limitations. Apple, on the other hand, fixed this vulnerability in an instant. A little too late maybe.

What may be the initial cause of the attack is the posting of the so called iBrute 36 hours before the celebrities’ photos leaked online. iBrute was released in order to point out to Apple some of its security issues. It seems that someone might have benefited from the iBrute system to hack a large number of private accounts.

According to experts, the iCloud security has two potential weak spots.

First, the Find My iPhone app does not have the required level of password protection or user alerts. And second, the user’s iCloud security code, which is separate from the user’s iCloud password. The code defaults to just four digits and may also be vulnerable to a force attack.

Even if all this is true, how could so many accounts be hacked? A leading theory is that there were a handful of accounts that were used to find contact details, including email addresses, for the others. With those IDs in hand, the hackers simply continued to apply the force attack until they had access to other accounts’ iCloud data.

Of course, a completely different source may be the one, which have caused the leak. Or it may simply be an advertising trick. As you know, there is no such thing as negative advertising. But just in case you are still unaware of the iCloud security, we would recommend other online storage services. So, read our blog and stay tuned.

Infinite Storage for your Photos in Bitcasa’s Infinite Drive

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Bitcasa is one of our favorite cloud storage platforms on the market. What we most like about it is its so called Infinite Drive. Unlike others, it does not simply create a folder on your computer system, but it establishes an external drive for your multiple files and folders. The only difference from your internal drives is that the Bitcasa virtual drive does not take space on your computer. As they call it, this is your external hard drive in the cloud. This file storage system allows you to drag and drop files and folders just like any external hard drive. The documents you’ve placed on this virtual drive won’t take space on your computer and will be accessible from any other devices you use. This is especially helpful when you store media, such as photos. You can easily back them up from your mobile, directly in the cloud. You can also simply drag and drop them in your desktop drive and have no worries about their safety.

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When installed, the Bitcasa application appears as an icon in your tray bar, and also, as an external drive on your system. This way you can easily reach it and use it.

Also, the price/quota ratio of Bitcasa is very good. You can get up to 20 GB for free and up to unlimited storage space for just 99$ per month. Even in its free version, you can store a large collection of photos. There are no limits to the file size when you upload your images. 

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You can choose between using Bitcasa on your computer, on your mobile device or on the web. Or on all of them! The platform gives you the opportunity to share files and folders instantly with other users. One way of doing it is by right-clicking on a file, located in your Bitcasa virtual drive. The Send this to a friend option appears. When you click on it you can easily generate a link to share with other users. Alternatively, you can select the Send option on the website after you have marked the file(s) you plan to send. A link is automatically generated and you can send it via email or share it on Facebook, Twitter or an instant messenger.

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The Bitcasa platform provides secure cloud storage by ensuring end-to-end encryption for your files. This way you are the only one who can see your files. You can safely backup all your media and access it via Windows, Mac and Linux, as well as any mobile device. You can access your files even offline.

Shortly, what is most specific about Bitcasa is that it helps you save valuable space on your non-virtual drives. The cloud storage system automatically backups your files even on mobile. You just need to download and install the Bitcasa application for iPad, iPhone or Android.