Mega web application in 2013
|Initial release||19 January 2013|
|Available in||50 languages|
|License||Mega Limited Code Review Licence (source-available freeware)|
|Alexa rank||200 (March 2019[update])|
Mega (stylised in uppercase as MEGA) is a cloud storage and file hosting service offered by Mega Limited, an Auckland-based company. The service is offered primarily through web-based apps. Mega mobile apps are also available for Windows Phone, Android and iOS. Mega is known for its large 50 GB storage allocation for free accounts.
The website and service was launched on 19 January 2013, by Kim Dotcom, who had founded the now-defunct service Megaupload. However, in 2015 Kim Dotcom disassociated himself from the service and stated that the New Zealand government had seized the shares of a Chinese investor and has control of the site. Mega Limited responded that the authorities have not interfered with its operations.
Kim Dotcom's first file-hosting site Megaupload was seized and shut down on 19 January 2012 by the United States Department of Justice, which began criminal cases against its owners. After Gabon denied the new company domain name me.ga, Kim Dotcom announced it would instead be registered in his country of residence, New Zealand, under the domain name mega.co.nz. Mega launched on 19 January 2013 – a year after Dotcom's original site was shut down. Kim Dotcom reported on Twitter getting over 100,000 registered within the first hour, speculating that this may make Mega the fastest-growing startup in history. Kim Dotcom also reported on Twitter that the site was extremely busy, and received thousands of user registrations per minute at the time of the tweet. Kim later reported Mega having more than 1 million registered users, and 60 uploads completed every second. Three days later that number was updated to 500 uploads completed every second. To promote his new website, Kim Dotcom hired ice cream chef Gianpaolo Grazioli to create a mega flavor in an extravaganza for his followers. On 7 February 2013, it was announced that the former Chief Executive of InternetNZ, Vikram Kumar, would step in as the new CEO of Mega. Tony Lentino, interim CEO of Mega, would instead maintain a seat as a director with Mega and continue to provide his entrepreneurial spirit and skills to the enterprise.
Early users of the site experienced various issues, including slow-to-nonexistent upload speeds and problems logging in. The service improved slightly over the next three days, but remained insufficient for large volumes of uploads. Others said there appeared to be no way to close an account in case it got compromised. Technology commentators blamed the poor performance on the site's popularity, noting it was ranked in the top 150 websites in the world in the first few days of its existence, subsequently dropping a few thousand places.
On 4 July 2013, the Mega Android application was released on the Google Play marketplace. Four days later, on July 8, 2013, the Mega software development kit (SDK) and affiliate program was released. On September 4, 2013, Kim Dotcom stepped down as Director of Mega. In a later interview with the Washington Post on September 7, Kim Dotcom announced Mega was getting 20,000 signups for the service every day. Furthermore, in 2013 Mega was receiving about 100 DMCA takedowns per day. On November 26, 2013, the official Mega iOS application was released on the App Store marketplace. On 20 January 2014, the official MEGAsync application was released for Windows and on 6 September 2014, the official MEGAsync application was released for Linux.
In March 2014, Dotcom announced his intentions to list Mega on the New Zealand Stock Exchange. In September, a report published from the Digital Citizens Alliance – commissioned via brand protection organisation NetNames – characterising Mega as a 'shadowy cyberlocker' was branded "grossly untrue and highly defamatory" by Mega's CEO.
In July 2015, Dotcom said he does not trust Mega service in a Q&A session with tech website Slashdot, claims the company had "suffered from a hostile takeover by a Chinese investor who is wanted in China for fraud" and that the New Zealand government seized this investor's shares and now has control of the site. Dotcom encouraged readers not to use it and that he plans to set up a completely open-source nonprofit competitor. Dotcom announced on his Twitter account that he plans to release a detailed breakdown of Mega's status. Mega responded that the authorities have not opposed or interfered with any of Mega’s operations.
In January 2016, Mega announced that the service has 35 million registered users that have uploaded 12 billion files.
Dotcom has said that data on the Mega service will be encrypted client-side using the AES algorithm. Since Mega does not know the encryption keys to uploaded files, they cannot decrypt and view the content. Therefore, they cannot be responsible for the contents of uploaded files. Dotcom stated that encrypting files allows them to work with a larger number of data hosting companies around the world, decreasing the likelihood of a Megaupload-style seizure of servers by one government. He mentioned in an interview with Ars Technica that "Each file will be kept with at least two different hosters [sic], [in] at least two different locations," and "That’s a great added benefit for us because you can work with the smallest, most unreliable [hosting] companies. It doesn’t matter because they can’t do anything with that data."
In the first few weeks after the Mega launch, various security problems were found that researchers said an attacker could use to gain access to a logged-in user's files. In response, Mega started a vulnerability reward program which offers a reward of up to €10,000 for reporting security problems to Mega.
The Mega team indicated that some companies, such as film studios, will have direct access to remove files if they discover the encryption keys online and determine that the content infringes their copyright. Dotcom added that if such companies want to use that tool they would have to agree, prior to receiving access, not to sue Mega or hold the site accountable for the actions of its users.
- Free account users receive:
- 15 GB of base storage quota.
- An additional 35 GB trial at signup expires after one month.
- Additional storage allowances can be activated through various "achievements", but also expire. The maximum permanent storage is 50 GB.
- Paid account users are provided with four tiers of options:
- 400 GB storage (1 TB of bandwidth per month)
- 2 TB storage (2 TB of bandwidth per month)
- 8 TB storage (8 TB of bandwidth per month)
- 16 TB storage (16 TB of bandwidth per month)
Mega has released some documentation of its API so developers can write their own applications.
According to Mega, the site "works with all major current browsers", but there can be some inconveniences to using browsers other than Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. For example, with Internet Explorer 10, as it has a "memory leak in the Blob saving functionality, the user has to close and reopen the Mega tab every couple of hundred megabytes of inbound file transfer". There is currently no option for sharing among a group of users.
In February 2013, Dotcom unveiled that Mega would be expanding into e-mail, chat, voice, video, and mobile. In December 2014, he revealed that his company would "soon" launch a browser-based chat service. In mid-January 2015, Mega launched MegaChat in beta, marketed as a web-based, encrypted alternative to applications like Skype and FaceTime.
Mega released a browser plugin extension called MEGA Chrome Extension in 2015. It was advertised as reducing loading times, improving downloading performance, and strengthening security. Mega also released a browser extension for Firefox.
On 5 September 2018 it was reported that the extension on the Chrome Web Store was compromised by the addition of code designed to steal website credentials and cryptocurrency. The original code on the GitHub page was not affected.
- Comparison of file hosting services
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