Mega Founder Kim Dotcom Issues ‘Cash Prize Encryption Challenge’ In Response To Privacy Debate

Kim Dotcom, founder of the legal and private Mega, has issued a challenge in the wake of the debate surrounding the privacy of the cloud storage site. Dotcom is so confident of his encryption scheme that he will give a cash prize to anyone who can decrypt the security measures surrounding Mega.

Mega is a legal cloud storage site much like Dropbox and was founded by Dotcom (born Schmitz), who founded Megaupload, which was shut down in 2012 over copyright infringement claims. Now Dotcom is back with his legal and private file sharing site, Mega. The emphasis is on security and Dotcom is willing to put his money where his formidable mouth is.

Mega launched on Saturday, quickly attracted more than 1 million users and is becoming a traffic behemoth. Dotcom tweeted an Alexa graph comparing Mega’s traffic to similar sites Rapidshare, Rapidgator and Hotfile. Mega’s traffic has skyrocketed while the competition has plateaued. But that's not enough as Dotcom looks to make Mega the number one filesharing site on the Internet.

In Mega's publicity package, privacy is pushed foremost. Encryption is in the hands of the user, ensuring complete privacy over the individual’s files and activity. Security and freedom are what Dotcom is after with Mega and while the launch event was silly and pompous, as previously reported by IBTimes, all launches are like that and it’s what happens next that is truly important.

Mega has faced some growing pains, including crashing due to the massive influx of traffic, but it will face its greater challenge in the future as its attempts to keep users secure and all activity private will be tested by all sorts of individuals. Some may want to take down Mega to shut Dotcom up, while governments and other entities will be interested in the goings on of the site.

Speaking at the launch event in New Zealand, Dotcom said, “Mega believes in your right to privacy. Mega has created an ecosystem that keeps your data private and safe.” Taking to Twitter, Dotcom has announced that he will issue a challenge with a cash prize for those intrepid enough to test Mega’s encryption methods.

Torrentfreak talked to security researchers and experts to discuss possible security flaws of Mega. Ars Technica describes the methodology as well as the encryption, including the in-browser encryption and decryption of a user’s files. Olivier Laurelli spoke to Torrentfreak regarding Mega’s security and noted that there have been minor flaws in the site’s security measures and there may be some possible ways to exploit the security measures, although all attempts have been unsuccessful at present.

More importantly, privacy is essential because, according to Laurelli, “Security has been sold to the public for a good reason; it’s just a way for Kim Dotcom to say ‘my service is legal and I have no way to know if my users are doing illegal things on my website.’ The poor implementation means that it’s not a user-centric security, it’s just a legal one.”

Dotcom is, of course, not backing down and announced on Twitter, “We welcome the ongoing #Mega security debate & will offer a cash prize encryption challenge soon. Let's see what you got ;-).”

If any flaw emerges, it seems Dotcom will be proactive in fixing it, saying on Twitter, “#Mega and the beauty of open source. You find a bug. We fix it. You recommend something great. We implement it. Loving it."

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