New CloudSlice App Protects Personal Photos from Hackers

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Celebrities aren’t the only ones at risk of having pictures stolen from cloud storage accounts.

Selecting pics to protect with CloudSlice

It is easy to encrypt and protect personal photos with CloudSlice

In August 2014, hackers leaked compromising photos stolen from several celebrities’ iCloud accounts*, which were then widely published across the Internet. This violation of privacy isn’t limited to just celebrities – anyone’s private photos are at risk of being stolen and used without the owner’s permission.

The threat caused by the potential hacking of billions of photos stored on cloud services is the reason why Escape Velocity Apps created and is launching its new CloudSlice app, which aims to protect each photo stored on an iPhone or iPad by not only encrypting the photos but “slicing” them among multiple cloud storage accounts.

Stories abound of instances in which photos are stolen and used without permission, with the most threatening being cases of “digital kidnapping” in which photos of children are republished for either marketing purposes or by those who publish them on their own blogs or social media as pictures of their own children. Potentially more common is the farming of photos and their metadata for marketing purpose – enabling marketers to target consumers based on information gleaned from their photos.

Photos stored in a single cloud storage account are at great risk of being stolen, but CloudSlice encrypts the data with a key only held by the account holder and then slices each photo so that it can be divided into as many as five different cloud storage accounts such as iCloud, Google Drive, DropBox, Microsoft OneDrive, and Box. Using the CloudSlice approach, photo security is greatly improved since each photo isn’t stored in any one account on the cloud but split among several. Since each slice only contains pieces of encrypted image data, complete photos are never actually stored on the cloud.

“Despite a lot of work putting various security measures in place, a single exploit or successful social engineering ploy can put a user’s cloud data at risk, resulting in events like the celebrity photo hack,” said Douglas Dimola, president of Escape Velocity Apps. “Rather than rely on the security measures of a single service, we had the idea to use the combined security of five different services together to safely keep your photos private on the cloud.”

In the case of the celebrity hacking scandal, if their photos had been encrypted and sliced using CloudSlice, the hackers would have been unable to access their private photos. Since each slice only contains pieces of encrypted image data, complete photos are never at risk of being stolen.
CloudSlice is easy to use. To slice and upload photos, users simply tap the + button on the main screen and select which images they wish to protect. To retrieve a stored photo, they just tap on its thumbnail as they have already been doing. The photo slices will be instantly fetched and displayed in CloudSlice, and presented options for sharing or exporting the photos.

Related Stories:

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks about encryption and consumers’ right to privacy
“If you put a key under the mat for the cops, a burglar can find it, too. Criminals are using every technology tool at their disposal to hack into people’s accounts. If they know there’s a key hidden somewhere, they won’t stop until they find it.”

The cost of “free” online photo services
“An image may be worth 1000 words, but image metadata may spill far more information than that, especially when applied to a Google service. According to this year's Google I/O keynote, the Photos service will offer a search function that can find people, places, and objects — all without any active tagging on the end user's part.”

*How did nude celebrity photos get leaked?
“Apple concluded hackers were able to force their way into celebrities' private photo collections by repeatedly guessing passwords -- or answers to their security questions. This was possible, because of a bug in the system Apple uses to remotely store photos and documents: iCloud.”

About Escape Velocity Apps:
Located in Cumming, Georgia, Escape Velocity Apps LLC is a mobile software development company established in 2010. The company’s Audiolio app is a popular tool for business professionals and college students to add bookmarks, handwritten notes and freehand sketches to audio recordings of meetings, seminars and lectures.

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Kevin Doel