JungleDisk and Amazon S3: Secure, Redundant, Encrypted Backup

A few months ago, Amazon.com announced their S3 service. S3 allows you to store your files on Amazon servers, encrypted and secure and visible only to you. Your files are stored with full redundancy which means multiple copies of your securely encrypted files are stored in data centers all over the world. Amazon.com then charges you pennies for storage and transfer.
It’s a bit like if I went to Kinko’s, made copies of all my files and then kept them in weather-proof, fire-proof, catastrophe-proof lockboxes at Amazon’s different global offices. I’m using Amazon’s S3 servers, but only I have the key to send, receive and view the files.
When first announced, S3 didn’t make much of a splash with consumers because there weren’t any applications for it yet – it was simply a service waiting for the geeks to write something fantastic for it. That fantastic application is here: JungleDisk.
JungleDisk sits on your Windows, Mac or Linux computer and creates an extra virtual drive that connects directly to the S3 servers. JungleDisk talks directly to the S3 servers and encrypts your files as it uploads them – or retrieves them. The files are secured by a long Access Key ID and further secured by a Secret Access Key provided by Amazon that only you know. You access your files just like you do any of your internal or external hard drives. If you run JungleDisk on multiple machines, (all with the same Access Key ID and Secret Access Key) you can access all of your files from all of your machines.
So instead of having to burn my 32 GB of data to DVDs and mail them to mom and dad every month, I can simply use JungleDisk to backup my Emachine desktop, my Sony Vaio laptop and my Mac Mini on Amazon.com’s servers with industry-standard encryption, secured redundancy.
I’m in the process of moving all 32 GB of my data up to the S3 servers. Once it is there, though, I never have to upload it again – it is stored, secured and encrypted. I’ll keep copies of active files (anything I’ve touched in the last 6 months) on my real drives just for speed’s sake.
It’s taking a while do the initial upload of fitting 32 GB through my DSL connection but once the files are up, they’re up. I don’t have to worry about hurricanes, storms, global warming, avian flu, social unrest or Jerry Bruckheimer movies sabotaging my data.
To store my 32 GB of data, it will cost me a whopping fifteen cents per gigabyte per month. That’s only $4.80. And to do this initial upload it is twenty cents per gigabyte per month. That’s only $6.40. And after the initial upload I’ll only be uploading new files so I’ll be getting complete, secure, encrypted, redundant backup storage for about $5 a month.
And you know the best part? JungleDisk is FREE and OPEN SOURCE. You might wonder, “But won’t the JungleDisk programmers be able to see my data?” Nope. Your installation of JungleDisk talks directly to Amazon’s S3 servers without any middleman (unlike many other services).
So get started right now and go to http://jungledisk.com/

11 thoughts on “JungleDisk and Amazon S3: Secure, Redundant, Encrypted Backup

  1. Paula Gregorowicz

    I’m just curious Andy, how do you do your incremental backups weekly, etc so you’re not transferring “all” your data and paying for transfers of data that didn’t change. The website didn’t really offer any FAQ or tips on that..and I was curious since I am searching for an easier backup solution myself.

    Reply
  2. Andy Wibbels

    I’m doing it a bet messily. I have a folder called Xfer (short for ‘transfer) that is shared on my desktop – I always sync that to my laptop when I go remote and I can also access it from my Mac.
    I divided my backups into DVD-sized chunks Backup_1, Backup_2, etc. Now I’ll have a Backup_8 that I’ll just dump the Xfer contents in from time to time – it’ll write over an old files with the same filenames.
    Oh and Lori – THANKS!

    Reply
  3. john

    Okay, sounds good, but you can buy Carbonite for the exact same price per month, but no limits (100GB anyone?), and no upload price per GB.
    JungleDisk is not really all that great a deal because you have to pay Amazon every month, 4ever…

    Reply
  4. Andrew

    Well it is not true that they talk to only S3. They also apparently (after asking for your secret key) two servers:
    quack.cheeto.dreamhost.com
    and
    ip68-4-97-66.oc.oc.cox.net
    I have not analyzed the data being sent but they certainly could be stashing your keys and using your storage behind the scenes to store warez etc.

    Reply
  5. Mark

    I’m concerned about one statement on jungles website: “Can I access the Jungle Disk WebDAV server from another machine?
    No, for security reasons you can only connect to the Jungle Disk WebDAV server over the localhost interface.”
    If I am reading this correctly, if my pc is stolen, then I can’t get to my files. Is this true? If so, not a very good service.

    Reply
  6. Will Green

    Mark –
    “No, for security reasons you can only connect to the Jungle Disk WebDAV server over the localhost interface.”
    JungleDisk works by running a local DAV server on your machine, so that it can appear as a local disk. When you write to your JungleDisk, it then connects to your AWS S3 account and stores your files there. Since your files are saved on S3, you can access them from anywhere, even if your computer is stolen (since they don’t reside on your machine!).
    Permitting only localhost access to the WebDAV server is a security measure.

    Reply

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