iCloud is a fantastic service for synchronizing photos, documents, notes and more between your Macs and IOS devices. But before your personal data can be pushed to your devices, the content has to be stored somewhere. In the case of iCloud, your data is stored on Apple’s servers. So should you feel confident that your digital life is safe and secure in Apple’s data center? Based on Apple’s article on iCloud security, the answer seems to be a qualified “yes.”
When dealing with information security, we talk about data in motion and data at rest. When data travels across the internet, it’s in motion. When data is stored on a hard drive, it’s at rest. Based on Apple’s article, iCloud data is transmitted over the internet using SSL. This is a well-proven standard to encrypt data in motion. On Apple’s servers, it seems that all data is stored encrypted, except for music, email, and notes. Unencrypted data would be much easier for a hacker or rogue Apple employee to steal. So think twice about storing your Swiss bank account numbers in notes if you use iCloud.
Apple hasn’t publicly disclosed the encryption and authentication algorithms used with iCloud. Until this information becomes public, industries that require strong security and data privacy will likely pass on using iCloud.