Expert: Weigh Risks, Convenience Before Using Cloud

11:07 PM, Jul 10, 2012   |    comments
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Greensboro, NC -- Cloud technology has made it convenient to access all of our information from computers, phones and tablets. But, it's just as convenient for cyber criminals as it is for us.

Dr. Nir Kshetri, an associate professor at UNC Greensboro, who researches cyber crime, said there are some things you need to consider before backing up you information with cloud.

"It is your personal preference, but there is always a risk of storing data, so you have to trade between risk and inconvenience," said Kshetri.

Kshetri said, first of all, you have to understand the information you put into your phone or computer isn't being stored in some cloud in the sky. He said it's in a warehouse in India, China, or even in North Carolina.

If you have an Apple ID, if you've ever shopped online, or if you have a Gmail account, your information is stored in one of those warehouses.

But Kshetri said the scariest part is that the biggest cloud out there isn't owned by Google or Amazon, it's owned by cyber criminals.

Kshetri said they're using their virtual space to warehouse as much personal information as they can, stolen off of countless computers they've hacked. Once they can control your computer, they have access to all of your gadgets.

"These big companies, clouds, which have maybe hundreds of millions of customers' data, and companies' data, they're kind of a potential gold mine for cyber criminals and they always go for that," he said.

While companies take a lot of steps to make sure your information is secure, legally, there are still a lot of gray areas.

Who's responsible if the data is lost?

At this point -- no one.

Kshetri also said that in the United States, companies have no legal obligation to tell you if your information was stolen.

"These technologies like cloud, and social media, and all these things like mobile phones, they are really good, but we should be very very careful about using them, especially when you are dealing with very sensitive information," he said.

Kshetri said a cloud should never be used for sensitive financial or healthcare information. Otherwise, you have to think about how private you want your information to be.

The only information that cannot legally leave the United States is the federal government's data. In fact, the big cloud providers like Google and Amazon have special clouds just to store the government's information.

WFMY News 2

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