Thoughts on last night’s Dropbox outage and hacking hoax

Last night there were some issues with Dropbox.

  • The service went down.
  • Two major hacking groups took credit for it.
  • Dropbox said the service was down because of maintenance issues and that they were not hacked.
  • The hacking groups basically said LOL we’re kidding we didn’t hack Dropbox.”
  • Dropbox said their service was back up and running. No data was lost.

So it was a hoax. That’s good news for everyone.

Here’s my biggest issue with what happened: Dropbox didn’t have a note on it’s webpage that something went down. If you saw a news report and went to Dropbox’s to see what was going on with your account, there would be no statement about the outage and claims of hacking. There should have been something immediately to let people know what was going on.

Maybe I am overreacting a bit, but this incident rekindled all the fears I have about large cloud services like this. Ben Brooks has a really good post about this.

For a good hour or two last night I was worried about my data on Dropbox. If it was lost, it would suck but I have backups. I was more worried what would happen if my data was compromised or made public in a mass dump. I think I will be looking into other services for slightly sensitive data.

There are a few things I will still use Dropbox for. It’s a fantastic service. It has been one of the few services that has fundamentally changed the way I’ve used computers and the internet. But I realize now it’s not really for me.

Overall: I’d rather have an hour of panic over something I can control than have the fear I did last night that there was nothing I could do to protect my data from being exploited.


January 11, 2014