A new prototype has debuted in the cloud industry – the CloudCapsule. Researchers from Georgia Tech have created this service, which encrypts digital files before they are transferred to the cloud for storage, for cloud users that want another way to ensure their documents are secure.
What Is CloudCapsule?
This new system is used in conjunction with already existing cloud storage systems like Dropbox, Google Drive and SugarSync. It secures files before they are transferred to be stored in the cloud and so they can be viewed without a proxy.
Although it was originally built for iOS mobile devices, CloudCapsule can be used via desktop computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones. Paul Royal, associate director of the Georgia Tech Information Security Center (GTISC) commented:
“We thought its greatest utility would be in the mobile space. This lets us combine the process isolation [feature] present in mobile iOSes with a seamless and transparent way of encrypting data you want to place into the cloud.”
Why Do We Need CloudCapsule?
There is an ongoing challenge in the cloud industry to provide security and utility. The GTISC recently reported that information stored inside any cloud service is secured differently depending on the provider. Each company has unique regulations and rules when it comes to the security of their subscribers’ files. There are no standards that over-arch the industry and recent cloud hacks have consumers looking for a safer way to store.
CloudCapsule secures data through an encrypted mode on a given machine. Information is encrypted and moved to the cloud for off-site storage. Then when a user, utilizing the same machine, returns to access data, they can view files easily. Users on other machines or without the right credentials are denied access. Encrypted data can be stored and accessed through any type of cloud storage service.
While searching through encrypted files could be a problem, GTISC has been working on developing searchable encryption. This feature would let users search through securely stored data by keyword or date. Royal talked about searching too:
“We are trying to design types of encryption that support … performance requirements. Consider a person who needs to encrypt data before it goes into the cloud, but would still like to do basic keyword searches over that data. That’s something we’ve been working on at GTISC.”
How Is It Making The Cloud Safer?
With CloudCapsule, the operating system where files are encrypted has no knowledge of the data and the cloud provider can’t read the files either. Stored information essentially has an extra layer of protection against hacking or data breaches.
For consumers that want extra safety, but still want to store their files on a user-friendly platform – CloudCapsule could be the answer. To view the Georgia Tech Emerging Cyber Threats Report for 2014, on which this article is based, click here to download the PDF.
What are your thoughts about CloudCapsule and how it addresses the security and utility of cloud services?