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Security Software

SpiderOak review

Article comments

Every backup service worth its salt uses encryption to keep your data safe from snoops, but Spider­Oak goes one step further by promising to keep your data private from its own employees. Although you still should use common sense in choosing what to upload to any service, I believe that SpiderOak is one of the best secure online backup options available.

You may store up to 2GB on a free account; extra space costs $10 per month or $100 per year per 100GB (cheaper than Dropbox but a bit pricier than Mozy).

You download an application (for Windows, Mac, or Linux) that coordinates which files and folders to back up, and runs in the background to sync your online backup with your PC. The password that you create never goes to the SpiderOak servers; it's stored on your PC. Your password then serves to generate a pair of encryption keys, which also remain local. The keys work to encrypt your files on your PC before the data goes to the SpiderOak servers--without your password or keys, no one can view your data without cracking the encryption via brute force.

'Zero-Knowledge' privacy policy

This hands-off approach means that every time you log in to SpiderOak, you're just verifying your identity to the desktop client, which in turn establishes a se­­cure connection to the SpiderOak servers. As long as you never log in via SpiderOak's website or a mobile device (in addition to the desktop tools, SpiderOak offers mobile and Web clients for convenience), your password will never enter SpiderOak servers, so theoretically it's difficult for a SpiderOak staffer to peek at your data or give it to a third party.

SpiderOak calls this a "zero-knowledge" privacy policy, and it makes life difficult for anyone who attempts to subpoena SpiderOak for data. While SpiderOak could hypothetically hand your data to, say, the federal government (which could then crack the encryption by brute force), the company promises to notify users of any data requests from civil subpoenas or state or federal law en­­forcement agencies unless prohibited by law. Even better, SpiderOak publishes an annual Transparency Report in which the company reveals how many times it has received such requests, as well as how many times SpiderOak complied.


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paying_customer said: Spideroak also offers zero-knowledge and non-responsive support staff If you have a problem with payments or are about to sign-up for theirservice they bend over backwards to respond to your questions Howeverif you are already a paying customer it takes them 13 days and stillcounting without resolving problems or responding to emails I suggest you stay away from SpiderOak It works great for small sizeslike 2GB but their service simply cannot scale to bigger sizes Everytime you need to make a reinstallation of a new or existing device itwill take weeks to synchronize your computers and Im talkingabout 100GB which nowadays is not considered a huge size And this ONLYIF you are lucky enough to get passed the painstakingly SLOWsyndication process This process is like a roulette you try about20-30 times to get it work and only if you are lucky Syndicationprocess Step 3 out of 10 is often what you end up seeing for 3-4 daysin a row If you are lucky you may also the also exciting message ofSyndication process Step 7 out of 10 for a couple of days before itcrashesI tried talking to support and they simply dont know whats going onI did all the tests they asked and sent them the results and thenthey were gone No reply no response to other emails no nothing Theysimply do not know whats going on and they avoid answering I sawseveral posts online about these problems as wellThis is not the first time this has happened either Their solutionlast timea year ago was to give me two months of free service and letme figure it out by myself I ended up downloading one file at a timefor a month Also their connections are extremely slow and unrealiableI have a 100Gbit connection and often I had the impression that I wastransferring files from a Win98 SpiderOak laptop and trying to get myfiles one byte at a timeI am very disappointed by their product but even more disappointed bytheir service Im quitting for another service after almost 2 years ofconstant problems Yes they have a fancy interface and zero-knowledgeprivacy but behind the interface and all this fancy lingo is a productfull of problems with an also zero-knowledge support staffIf you dont believe me please feel free to waste your time with this

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