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'Cloud Shredder' Can Rip Files in Half to Prevent Hacking

TMCnews Featured Article


November 04, 2011

'Cloud Shredder' Can Rip Files in Half to Prevent Hacking

By Ed Silverstein, TMCnet Contributor


Hacking is becoming an increasing concern for everyone from the individual e-mail user all the way up the governments of major world powers. So Nan Zhang, a researcher from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, has come up with a unique way to prevent hacking of files.


His new invention, the “Cloud Shredder,” will rip “documents in two so that half resides in your computer, while the other half is stored in the cloud,” says a report from Tecca.

As it stands now, users often encrypt files on computer to protect them. Yet, it appears not too difficult to decrypt data if a hacker has the needed tools. In addition, mobile devices can get lost or be stolen. It is also possible to store files on a remote server using Dropbox (News - Alert), but cloud service providers could still inspect the data, according to Newscientist.

“Having half a particular file on your computer and half of it stored in the cloud means you can't open it without having access to both,” Tecca said.

In addition, under the invention, the part on a computer remains on a local hard drive.

“If your smartphone or tablet falls into the wrong hands, for example, the documents stored in that device are nothing but broken data. And if you want to be extra sure your files can't be pieced together, you can go on your cloud storage service to delete everything,” Tecca adds.

Cloud Shredder isn't available for purchase yet but Zhang got it to work with Adobe (News - Alert) Acrobat Reader and Open Office.

In addition, the Cloud Shredder will be introduced at China's Frontier of Computer Science and Technology conference later this month.

Still, a few reviews have found a limitation to the system.

“Users need to be online at all times if they want to access their ‘shredded’ data,” Ubergizmo said in its review. “Another drawback is that if you happen to lose or accidentally delete one half of the data by yourself – there’s no way for you to get it back.”

This is far from the only major challenge that is being investigated by the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

TMCnet reports that the academy is also working on how to feed the world’s population, which increases by 75 million people each year.


Ed Silverstein is a TMCnet contributor. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves







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