Next, all data sent to Mega.co.nz is encrypted with a user-created, 2048-bit RSA key before it leaves your computer. Nobody can decrypt your data, not even the Mega.co.nz employees, as long as you do not tell anyone else the encryption key that you created. Even the file names are encrypted although you can see them after entering the encryption key. If some person does manage to hack in and copy the data you uploaded (which is unlikely), the result will be useless without the encryption key. He or she cannot even see the file names or tell where one file ends and the next begins. This guarantees safety of your data. In fact, there is no option to upload unencrypted data; everything is always encrypted. With Mega.co.nz, you control the encryption, you hold the keys, and you decide who you grant or deny access to your files with no risky requirement to install any software.
It’s important to note that you must remember your encryption key. If you forget it, there is no method of retrieving it again from Mega.co.nz. The company says this is for two reasons: (1.) to make sure no one can impersonate you and ask for the password and (2.) Mega.co.nz and its employees have no idea what your encryption key is! If you lose the encryption key, your files are lost forever with no hope of recovery.
It is possible to share files or even complete folders with friends or relatives. However, you have to define explicitly what is to be shared and who is allowed to access the file(s), and then you must give the encryption key to each friend or relative that you allow in. (NOTE: Never send encryption keys in plain-text email messages!)
There is no need to install any software on your computer as everything is done from a web browser. In fact, you can upload from one computer and download to another computer at any time, assuming the same user name and encryption key is used on both systems. The encryption key is not stored on the computer or anyplace else; you must manually enter the encryption key each time you use Mega.co.nz.
Mega.co.nz does not limit the size of any single file being uploaded. However, some older web browsers have limits. If you are using the latest version of your browser, you shouldn't have any problems with large files.
Finally, Mega.co.nz owns very few servers. While the company is based in New Zealand, it contracts with web hosting companies around the world for disk space. All newly-uploaded data is immediately stored on at least two different servers in two widely-separated locations. If any server goes down for any reason, the duplicate data on the second server is immediately copied to a third server. Every file always has at least two copies available, located on two different servers in different parts of the world. As such, it is almost impossible for Mega.co.nz to lose your data. However, I always keep my own copies of all my data, whether it is stored in the cloud or elsewhere. I never depend upon any one company that might go out of business at any time or be destroyed by fire, earthquake, hurricanes, or other disasters. While Mega.co.nz's storage security is better than that of most other firms, it still isn't perfect. In fact, I don't know of any person or company that has a perfect system. I'd strongly recommend always keeping your own copies of your data as well as placing backup copies in the cloud.
As a brand-new service, Mega.co.nz does not yet have some of the services that its established competitors offer. For instance, you cannot yet upload or download files with an iPhone or iPad or any of the Android devices. It is designed to work only with Windows, Macintosh, and Linux desktop and laptop computers. The company does promise to add handheld capabilities "real soon now." However, I suspect that all the employees are busy right now getting the initial product out the door.
The new Mega.co.nz service is launching exactly 365 days after authorities raided the owner's mansion and shut down his previous site, Megaupload. (See my past articles at http://goo.gl/nf3DG for more information.) That site had a reputation as a haven for pirated materials. The owner maintained his innocence, and charges against him were dropped when the authorities eventually realized they had no case.
The new Mega.co.nz obviously was designed with legalities and security in mind. Data uploaded by customers is even more secure than the previous service and completely unreadable by anyone without the encryption key. Unlike the previous service, unencrypted files may not be uploaded. Everything is always encrypted and the Mega.co.nz employees have no "backdoor key" to see any of the data. Mega.co.nz does require users to pledge that they will not upload copyrighted material to the web site for anything other than their own personal use.
All in all, Mega.co.nz probably will shake up the cloud storage business with its low prices. It should be interesting to watch and to see if the competitors can match these prices!
Mega.co.nz is available at https://www.mega.co.nz although early indications are that the company's web servers are overloaded. Approximately 1,200 users were signing up per minute in the first few hours after the system launched early this morning. If you are unable to access the site, I'd suggest you try again in a day or two.