Here in Northern California we have been ravaged by wild land fires forcing the evacuation of tens of thousands of residents, over 80,000 acres and at least 140 homes have burned in my County alone. The local news channels are doing a decent job of keeping the community informed and now after a month we are finally in the recovery stage. Now the media is keeping us informed about fire safety, where to donate, and what to do to prepare yourself should this happen (when this happens) again.
One piece of advice they recently gave was to inventory your possessions and keep all of your important documents where you can get to them quickly. With this in mind they recommended a 'free' web site where you can upload photos, blueprints, and scans of important documents, cards and other paperwork. While it is a good idea to have the documents, photos, and inventory available; Should you take your local Medias advice and trust them to have researched the web site that they are recommending you upload your life to?
Here is what I found when I researched the site.
· Their user agreement states that if you violate their terms and conditions they may disclose your data.
· They state in the terms that “Your use of the Service is at your sole risk…”
· And ”… technical processing and transmission of the Service, including your Content, may be transferred unencrypted …”
· There are no security certificates on the logon page.
· There is no security or encryption at any point when navigating the web page.
· When you register, you receive a clear text email that contains your username and password. They state in their terms that “You are responsible for maintaining the security of your account …” but they just exposed your credentials!
· A simple whois search found that the domain was just created in March of 2008 and is only registered for one year.
· The free service is only valid for 1 year.
It is scary that media would recommend a web site like this. A large percentage of their views will take what they say as fact and upload their lives and possibly lose everything they have.
John "Mike" Wright