Ever since Edward Snowden’s revelations about the NSA spying on everything and everybody, it has been painfully obvious that commercial email, calendar, and cloud storage services cannot (and will not) protect our privacy and private data.
End-to-end encrypted storage services such as SpiderOak and Wuala promise high levels of security, but make some compromises in order to improve functionality, and are not open source. Following the unfortunate demise of Lavasoft last year (which closed its doors rather than hand over its customers’ encryption keys to the NSA), there has been no email service that can really be considered secure, although upcoming Lavaboom, Dark Mail, and ProtonMail all look promising.
Another tactic is to not rely on a third party at all, but to roll your own self-hosted personal cloud. This has the advantage of being highly secure, as there is no need to rely on third parties to store your data, and many people swear by it. However, setting up your own cloud is not for the technically faint of heart, can take some time to configure, and requires a certain amount of maintenance.
The WEDG bills itself as ‘the world’s most secure, complete cloud solution’, and is effectively a mini-server that is preconfigured for use as a self-hosted cloud, with cross-system apps (Windows, Android, iOS and Blackberry) for email, calendar, folder synching, and file sharing.
Password or PIN protected PGP comes built-in, the apps connect to the WEDG server using SSL/TSL, and files can be protected with up to 512-bit encryption (256-bit by default). Interestingly, the Inquirer reports that the WEGD is ‘also secure for Bitcoin storage to avoid the need to use internet based Bitcoin vaults of the type that have been targetted by cyber criminals,’ although we were unable to find confirmation about this on the website.
Unfortunately the source code used not be open source (or source-available), which is a real downer as far as we are concerned. When asked about this WEDG Lmt. told BestVPN that,
‘We don’t have any plans to release the source for the WEDG publically, however we have been working with independent security firms, ethical hackers and consultants along the way to make sure that the product is as secure as we can make it… Needless to say, we would never have made it to Kickstarter, if we were not entirely happy with the results.’
Physically the WEDG is a compact and funky looking tapered wedge (hence the name!), available in Black or White, with a lightweight custom Linux OS, a removable 1TB Sata II hard disk, and 10/100 Ethernet connection (a stretch goal is a Gigabyte connection instead).
WEDG Lmt. is currently running a Kickstarter, hoping to raise a minimum of at least £90,000 (USD$153,700) by August 8. Early bird backers can pick a WEDG up for £153 (USD$260), £100 less than the retail price, and can expect delivery in December.
This is considerably cheaper than the similar Protonet secure private cloud server, that despite raising $1 million in less than 90 minutes, is asking for between $1,650 and $6,400 per unit. Please note however that as a crowdfunding campaign, BestVPN in no way endorses the WEDG (and the fact that it is not open source means that we are unlikely to in the future).