June 22, 2022

PRIVACY: Mega says it can’t decrypt your files. New POC exploit shows otherwise.

In the decade since larger-than-life character Kim Dotcom founded Mega, the cloud storage service has amassed 250 million registered users and stores a whopping 120 billion files that take up more than 1,000 petabytes of storage. A key selling point that has helped fuel the growth is an extraordinary promise that no top-tier Mega competitors make: Not even Mega can decrypt the data it stores.

On the company’s homepage, for instance, Mega displays an image that compares its offerings to Dropbox and Google Drive. In addition to noting Mega’s lower prices, the comparison emphasizes that Mega offers end-to-end encryption, whereas the other two do not.

Research published on Tuesday shows there’s no truth to the claim that Mega, or an entity with control over Mega’s infrastructure, is unable to access data stored on the service. The authors say that the architecture Mega uses to encrypt files is riddled with fundamental cryptography flaws that make it trivial for anyone with control of the platform to perform a full key recovery attack on users once they have logged in a sufficient number of times. With that, the malicious party can decipher stored files or even upload incriminating or otherwise malicious files to an account; these files look indistinguishable from genuinely uploaded data.

Remember, “the cloud” is just a fancy way of saying “someone else’s hard drive.”

If it’s truly important or worth keeping private, don’t store it on anyone else’s hard drive.

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