MEGA.nz (FREE Cloud FILE STORAGE) – Review.
Mega is a very viable option especially for users for whom privacy and security are of utmost importance. Another draw for the service is its bouquet of apps that not only caters to the regular users but also serves several advanced and niche use-cases as well. (Techradar.com)
Surely most of you remember megaupload dotcom (now-defunct) setup in 2005, as one of the popular and famous file hosting website with 50 million daily visitors around the world. Its founder Kim Schmitz changed his surname to Dotcom as “a homage to the technology that made him a millionaire”. Kim was the world’s number-one-ranked Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 player out of over 15 million online players at a time. The storage platform megaupload allowed its users to store files on the internet “cloud” and share them with others through a shareable link. However, soon the website became a prey to illegal file storage and sharing of pirated software, movies etc, uploaded by users while at the zenith of earned revenue around US$175 million, and a voluminous 4% share of all the Internet traffic of the World. Eventually, in 2012, the United States Department of Justice seized the domain names and closed all the sites associated with Megaupload brand and arrested Kim Dotcom serving allegations of his organizations involvement in copyright infringement. Kim managed to get Bail on technical issues like if he could be held responsible for the content uploaded by website users and moved to New Zealand. The New Zealand Court has repatriated him to the US, but he prefers to stay in NZ pending his appeal in the SC.
On Jan 2013, Kim launched a new website as MEGA.nz, so to say from the ashes of megaupload, for providing cloud storage, file hosting with a whooping 35GB+ some freebie space as a strong lucrative contender to Google drive, OneDrive by Microsoft, DropBox, iCloud, OpenDrive etc. MEGA cloud drive is accessible conveniently, through any web browser, Android and iPhone supported Free Apps and a Windows installer application MEGAsync, which sits on the taskbar and can Sync your local folders to the Cloud drive in the background.
MEGA also has paid options to upgrade the storage and its file download bandwidth limit per month for business users etc. MEGA assures that their services are encrypted client-side using AES-128 algorithm, which should be secure long into the future as per currently known methods. MEGA claims ignorance to the client side keys to encrypt decrypt uploaded files resulting in their inability to view content stored on servers and therefore sees legal immunity from any responsibility for them which could mean diminishing chance from any Government action against its cloud data like it happened in case of megaupload dotcom
Non-US server locations:
Unlike megaupload, MEGA does not store its data anywhere in the United States, but uses servers in other locations like Europe and New Zealand to prevent direct interference of the United States Law Enforcement this time. Also as claimed the data is encrypted before upload using a local key, the server hosts, and their backup servers on other locations, do not read the data without security key. This somehow is good for Asian countries as the servers are nearer to them and may serve data at relatively faster speed.
… we store Your Files and make them available from servers that are owned and controlled by us, in secure facilities in Europe or in countries (such as New Zealand) that the European Commission has determined to have an adequate level of protection under Article 45 of the GDPR, depending where you are based. None of Your Files are stored in, or made available from, the United States of America…
Duplicate Files Policy:
MEGA’s terms of service says that they would automatically delete any piece of data or files uploaded by any one which already has a been on their server. Its some way similar to the duplicate content policy of Whatsapp, or file attachments on gmail, as they do not create duplicate file copies and only reference to the existing file location is served to duplicated users. As a common principal Apple in iTunes Match and Amazon with its Cloud Player Service follow same.
“Our service may automatically delete a piece of data you upload or give someone else access to where it determines that that data is an exact duplicate of original data already on our service. In that case, you will access that original data.”
Therefore, any new content i.e a file or movie on MEGA uploaded by any user account is scrutinized for duplicate existence and new uploads are terminated automatically. Which theoretically means while downloading any software or movie you are actually using a previously uploaded copy which is a 100% replica of your content. This may not happen with your personal or created content, as such binary duplicate is impossible to find unless some one who has a copy from you is trying to upload it without any changes. This not only reduces duplication or replication of files on server and saves space and bandwidth. However it is not clear if MEGA says their servers receive completely encrypted files from users machines or phones, what is the methodology of encrypted file comparison to filter duplicates content on server?.
Your password is your Encryption Key:
MEGA claims using very strong Encryption like Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) 128-bit key. So how it works?, zdnet.com says in their reviews that MEGA uses your password to the account as the key to both encrypt and decrypt your files and folders. This way coding and decoding is all done on your own computer. We would recommend keeping a very strong password to the MEGA account thus making both encrypt and decrypt mechanism to your files and folder tough job. And also keep your password safe, as if it’s the security key then may be you cannot view the old file content if you reset through forget password link, as decryption without your password Key which was used for encryption is difficult. In case the password is lost the files may be a wood log without any life, even if the account is recovered.
Overall, MEGA is a new player and has given good tools and you will be happy to use the cloud service to back up your important content and access them from any other device or location, if you do not wish to store your million dollar bank account details on their cloud, you can have restful nights. Also, installing MEGAsync application on Windows PC or Laptop would give you a worry free life considering the synchronization would keep working in the background backing up your valuable data on their server. However, please note that the backup process may not be real time and may take its duration depending on your internet connectivity and other factors, etc. But if all is well you can hope that at the end of day your data is all updated on MEGA Cloud servers as backup copy.
Reviewed by Niket Kale for TRUSTMEHER.com