To say that iCloud is a big deal for Apple is a bit of an understatement. The cloud-based storage and backup service was launched just 6 months ago, alongside the iPhone 4S and iOS 5, and has already garnered more than 100 million users.

But its quick rise in popularity and deep integration into Apple’s software has led to one major question: how secure is it? Well the folks over at ArsTechnica recently spoke with some software security experts to find out…

According to Robby Gulri, Echoworx’s vice president, iCloud uses the best security practices in the industry including SSL transmission and on-disk 128 bit encryption. He also commends Apple for its recent move to ban developer access to Unique Device IDs.

That’s the good news. The bad news, however, is that if Apple ever wanted to, it could view any and all of your iCloud data. Forensic data analysis expert Jonathan Zdziarski points out an interesting portion of iCloud’s Terms and Conditions:

“However, Apple reserves the right at all times to determine whether Content provided by others and has no duty to pre-screen such Content. However, Apple reserves the right at all times to determine whether Content is appropriate and in compliance with this Agreement, and may pre-screen, move, refuse, modify and/or remove Content at any time, without prior notice and in its sole discretion, if such Content is found to be in violation of this Agreement or is otherwise objectionable.”

So how does Apple access your information if its encrypted? Ars explains that the company “holds the master decryption key” which would enable it to essentially decrypt and review any user’s iCloud data if needed.

Should you be worried? No. The bottom line here is that your iCloud data is well-protected — well, from everyone outside of Apple. And it sounds like they will only access your files if it’s pertinent to a legal matter.

Do you use iCloud? Do you ever worry about security?

  • I no longer use iCloud for backups because once it told me 2hrs to restore from backup 0.o.

    • 2 hours is nothing! I have 12 GB on my iCloud backup! I’m sure it would take longer than 2 hours to restore that! The iCloud backup I use for worst case scenario daily backups. If I get a new device, I’ll backup manually to my PC before transferring settings, etc.

      • Anonymous

        Yeah! I agree! Totally! I have 11.7GB on mine! And another exclamation!

      • Anonymous

        Yeah! I agree! Totally! I have 11.7GB on mine! And another exclamation!

      • I have a few mb on iCloud including my contacts, messages, settings, notes, and reminders. Whenever I need to restore, I restore from iCloud backup and plug in my iPhone/iPad into iTunes and sync my apps, music, and videos. No biggy. I am satisfied. It does take a while though =/

    • i use icloud with automatic backup enabled
      and 2 hr is worth getting an up to date backup
      + i cloud features synchronizing ur calendar, notes with other apple devices, its a very useful package of features .

  • Yeah iCloud is great, my sync time is always 5 minutes or less not 2 hours…

  • Dan

    I don’t backup fully on iCloud, but I use it to save my contacts, calendar, reminders and photostream

  • Anonymous

    I don’t use iCloud because I don’t want Apple seeing what I do on Jailbreak.

    • I agree. Because Apple is known for clicking through millions of iCloud backups.

      • You do know that Apple is capable of writing software, right?

        That’s like saying “Wow, I’m so impressed that Google has clicked through over 50 billion webpages.”.

  • I don’t have an issue with using iClouds for my iPhone & iPad back-ups..but i have a time machine for the larger Files.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t like the part where it says “modify Content at any time without prior notice” … So they are allowed to change the mails inside my inbox just like that? Modify any phone numer in my iCloud addresses? That’s scary

    • This is more for their protection, like when you take pictures of your underage girlfriend and decide it’s a good idea to store them on Apple’s servers.

      • Anonymous

        That’s what you say, not what iCloud’s terms and conditions say

  • Luke Row

    To be perfectly honest, I hadn’t even considered about how secure my data is out there in the cloud… but after reading this it’s plain to see that you don’t need to worry.

    • “it’s plain to see that you don’t need to worry”
      W00t, i would say its quite the contrary, i mean sure some people seem to believe
      that apple is some kind of charity organisation and that they would never even dream of the
      abuse of power. we reached a point, where all our private information is stored in “the cloud”
      (the cloud always sounds so light and soft, as if noone could ever reach your data, but its just
      apples big fat servers here on earth), we have cameras constantly pointed at us and carry a gps surveillance chip with us at all times, no matter if you use an ipad, ipod or iphone and in addition there is enough data on each one of us, which we choose to upload ourselves onto facebook or google+ and so on, which is even linked to these super surveillance devices.
      be more aware of whats going on

      • Luke Row

        But you can delete individual photos in your photo stream now so that’s a bit of a moot point

  • we are social media and we provide social media marketing

  • This is why I don’t use iCloud.

  • I think people underestimate iCloud. Most people don’t even know its there, which is the point. But, when you need it in emergencys it will be there for backups, photos, documents etc all because it’s done automatically.

  • Anonymous

    I wouldn’t sweat this. Apple takes privacy more seriously than say, Google. Companies are required to be able to access data for legal matters, but they would not do so without a court order or your permission.

  • I’m not concerned, I don’t have any dead bodies or credit card numbers in my iCloud, so if they hack me, the worst they’ll get is silly pictures of me after surgery