Cyphertite Review

Cyphertite

Cyphertite has closed down, here are some alternatives

Unfortunately, Cyphertite shut its doors on August 18th, 2015. The company cited low interest as the cause, unable to generate the revenue required to continue operation. Cyphertite advised its Windows users to use SpiderOak, while stating Tarsnap is a good replacement for those on Linux.

Our original review remains intact for those interested in how Cyphertite once stood against other vendors.

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Summary

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What was Cyphertite?

Cyphertite was described, quite simply, as "high-security online backup." This was an accurate description reflected by the information on its webpage, showcasing that this was a simple service best suited to techies and enthusiasts, rather than novices who require a little hand-holding. Cyphertite's open-source roots were clear, with the website offering downloadable source code alongside complied client versions of the software. One benefit of this open-source approach was that Cyphertite's encryption methods could be "independently verified."

Cyphertite's free service offered up to 8GB of data, which was notably generous for its time.

What Features did Cyphertite have?

Cyphertite was a little light on features and didn't try to be "all things to all people" like some other backup services.

In a way, it was easier to list what Cyphertite didn't do than what it did! You wouldn't find any friendly synchronization and sharing features, and versioning was limited to configuring how many "increments" of a backed-up file would be saved.

Also conspicuous by its absence was any mobile support - you wouldn't find a way to access your Cyphertite files from iOS or Android.

One feature we had not found elsewhere during its time was a Command-Line Interface (CLI) option for controlling the software. Cyphertite did offer this, further extending its appeal to enthusiasts and experts.

What soon became clear when reviewing Cyphertite was that it was a classic secure online backup solution, aimed at a techie demographic and that it wasn't really trying to be anything else.

Was Cyphertite Secure?

Cyphertite began to regain some lost ground when looking into privacy and security, as you would have expected with a product where this was the focus.

Cyphertite operated encryption based on a "crypto passphrase" to encrypt data before it left your computer.

Another level of encryption was then applied once data reached Cyphertite's servers. These were operated on a true "zero-knowledge" basis, where even Cyphertite staff could not access your data as they didn't have your crypto passphrase.

Another thing that pleased the privacy-conscious was that Cyphertite clearly laid our their attitude to handing over customer data to "the authorities." While they stated that warrants could be served to force them to hand over customer data, they said that this would only ever be in its encrypted form, and thus only accessible by you, or anyone given your passphrase.

For those preoccupied with security, Cyphertite's lack of headline features may have been adequately balanced out by these definite privacy plus points.

Other Platforms

During its lifetime, Cyphertite was only available for Windows, Unix, and Linux. There was a distinct lack of Mac compatibility, and while mobile device integration was in development, it never came to fruition.

Conclusion

There was no getting away from the fact that Cyphertite was rather limited. It didn't offer a fraction of the features of competing software, and the lack of Mac and mobile versions inevitably put plenty of people off.

However, it would have been a mistake to dismiss it out of hand. The stripped-down, traditional approach to online backup certainly appealed to a certain user demographics, as did the focus on privacy and security.

Written by: Douglas Crawford

Has worked for almost six years as senior staff writer and resident tech and VPN industry expert at ProPrivacy.com. Widely quoted on issues relating cybersecurity and digital privacy in the UK national press (The Independent & Daily Mail Online) and international technology publications such as Ars Technica.

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