New service allows anonymous users to rent out your hard drive

Storj

With cloud storage widely available, perfectly functional streaming media services abundant and affordable, and PlayStation Now kicking off the eventual trend of streaming games, we’re living in the era of the cloud. Whereas customers rely on big corporations to provide their cloud-based service, a new service — Storj — is relying on regular people to become the cloud. It wants to rent out space on your hard drive or SSD to customers.

Using end-to-end encryption, the peer-to-peer network stores other people’s files on your drive — it literally transfers the data to and from your drive. The service works through a simple app: drag a file you wish to store or retrieve and drop it where you want it go. The benefit of using Storj is that customers don’t rely on a third-party data provider, and the company claims that its method of peer-to-peer cloud storage increases security in that it decreases common data failures — for example, a random person is likely not the target of a hacker group DDoSing central servers.

The way Storj actually stores and transfers data is similar to the way torrents work. A file-sharing app breaks a file down into small pieces, encrypts each piece with a hash, and then the pieces are distributed throughout the network. When the stored files are called for retrieval, hash chains are used to verify the consistency of the pieces to put them back together. There are multiple hash chains, so if the integrity of one is damaged, another will be ready to go.

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