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Should Online Users Fear The Cloud?

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Ginger Allen
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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - If you have electronic devices hooked up to the internet — which is pretty much everyone — then there is a good chance that you are using the cloud. But should that make you worried?

Helene Honeybone runs an advertising firm from her home office in Dallas, and she uses the cloud. “It also has a lot good that comes with it,” she said.

Cybersecurity lawyer Rose Romero explained, “The first thing to really kind of think about when you think about the cloud is it is not a physical thing.” The cloud is just a storage space which can be accessed by users online. “A lot of consumers may not be aware, but a lot of their information is already stored on the cloud. For example, Google Mail, Twitter, Facebook — all of that is cloud storage.”

Romero warned that cloud storage can be vulnerable. She said, “Over 44 percent of the malware that we experience here in the United States starts there at the cloud, is based in the cloud. Because a lot of these bad guys find the cloud, if you will, the servers out there, is a really easy mark.”

And if your stuff gets hacked, you could be left holding the bag. “I think a lot of consumers would be surprised that a lot of these cloud providers, if you read the fine print in the service agreements, that they take no responsibility,” Romero added.

That is why Honeybone backs up her most important files somewhere else, too. She said, “I don’t trust that it’s going to still be there if something happens.”

Romero recommends that users keep their security software up to date, create complex passwords, and change passwords. Also, there are some things that online users might not want on the cloud at all, such as credit card information or health-related details. “I would certainly recommend that any of your personal information,” Romero said, “should not be stored on the cloud.”

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