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SpiderOak Semaphor 1.1.0 Mac OS X
SpiderOak Semaphor 1.1.0 Mac OS X
Initial releaseDecember 2007
Stable release
7.5.0 / February 14, 2019; 7 months ago (2019-02-14)
Written inPython/Qt
Operating systemWindows, macOS, Debian, Fedora, Slackware, Android, iOS
Available inEnglish
TypeOnline backup service and collaboration tool
LicenseProprietary (GPLv3 for some tools)

SpiderOak is a US-based collaboration tool, online backup and file hosting service that allows users to access, synchronize and share data using a cloud-based server,[1][2] offered by a company of the same name. SpiderOak is accessible through an app for Windows, Mac and Linux computer platforms, and Android, N900 Maemo and iOS mobile platforms.[3]

According to SpiderOak, the software uses encrypted cloud storage and client-side encryption key creation, so SpiderOak employees cannot access users' information. SpiderOak distinguishes itself from its competition in provision of encryption,[4] in provision for syncing files and folders across multiple devices, and in automatic de-duplication of data.[5]

Some components of SpiderOak are open-source, and as early as 2009 the company announced their intent for the client to be fully open-source in the future.[6] As of 2016, SpiderOak ONE's source code is only available for mobile platforms, with no current plans to open source the desktop client.[7] SpiderOak's password manager Encryptr is open source; the source code for its group messaging application Semaphor is published to allow auditing.[8][9]

In a July 2014 interview, former NSA contractor Edward Snowden recommended SpiderOak over Dropbox, citing its better protection against government surveillance.[10]


SpiderOak was founded in 2007 by Ethan Oberman and Alan Fairless as an encrypted private backup program.[11] In 2013, SpiderOak began developing the Crypton framework, "a JavaScript framework for building applications where the server doesn't know the contents it's storing on behalf of users."[12] Crypton is an open-source project allowing developers to easily add encryption security to mobile applications.[13] By mid-2014, according to Oberman, SpiderOak had near 1 million users.[10]

SpiderOak is headquartered in Chicago and in 2014 employed 42 staff, headed by CEO Alan Fairless.[10] SpiderOak has offices in Chicago and Kansas City, and hires remote employees inside and outside of the US.[14][15]

In February 2017, SpiderOak discontinued using the phrase "zero knowledge" to describe their service following public criticism that the phrase conflicted with the mechanism behind cryptographic zero-knowledge proofs. SpiderOak adopted the phrase "no knowledge" for their marketing.[16]

On August 1, 2018, the warrant canary on their website briefly vanished, followed by some system downtime. It was then replaced by a transparency report. Five days later, the canary was re-signed using GPG encryption. By August 9, Spideroak had also updated their transparency report, making a statement concerning the canary.[17][18] It is impossible to tell if the change was internally driven or canary was tripped and the company has been compelled by court order to hide the fact. [19]

Main features[edit]

  • All data accessible in one de-duplicated location
  • Configurable multi-platform synchronization
  • Preserve all historical versions and deleted files
  • Share folders in web ShareRooms with RSS notifications[3]
  • Retrieve files from any internet-connected device
  • Claimed "no knowledge" data encryption if you only use the desktop client, that is, no sharing, web-access, or mobile access.[20] This claim, however, cannot be confirmed due to the client being closed source[21]
  • Unlimited devices[22]
  • A layered approach to encryption, using a combination of 2048-bit RSA and 256-bit AES[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "SpiderOak Service Agreement". SpiderOak. Retrieved June 9, 2013.
  2. ^ "Spideroak Service Description". SpiderOak. Archived from the original on January 3, 2010. Retrieved June 19, 2009. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  3. ^ a b "SpiderOak Review: Cloud Storage reviews at". Nextadvisor.com. Archived from the original on 2013-01-24. Retrieved 2013-08-10. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  4. ^ "SpiderOak: Dropbox for the security obsessive". The chief difference between SpiderOak and its competitors for the security and privacy-conscious is in how the services treat user data.
  5. ^ Carla Schroder (2009-01-22). "Spideroak: Secure Offsite Backups for Linux". LinuxPlanet. Retrieved 2009-02-26.
  6. ^ a b "Spideroak: Engineering Matters". SpiderOak. Retrieved 2009-11-04.
  7. ^ "Why isn't SpiderOak open source yet? When will it be?". Archived from the original on 2016-10-05. Retrieved 2016-10-05. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  8. ^ "SpiderOak/Encryptr". GitHub. Retrieved 2017-04-24.
  9. ^ "Semaphor Verifiable Source". spideroak.com. Retrieved 2017-04-24.
  10. ^ a b c Yadron, Danny; MacMillan, Douglas (2014-07-14). "Snowden Says Drop Dropbox, Use SpiderOak". WSJ.com Digits. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  11. ^ "About SpiderOak". Archived from the original on 2014-10-09. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  12. ^ "About Crypton".
  13. ^ Klint Finley (March 1, 2013). "Open Source Project Prepackages Kim Dotcom's Security". Wired.
  14. ^ "SpiderOak Grows Enterprise Revenue 300%, Doubles Headcount". spideroak.com. SpiderOak. December 10, 2013. Archived from the original on August 30, 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  15. ^ "Chris Cooley shares how SpiderOak's distributed team works". Silicon Prairie News. August 29, 2014.
  16. ^ "Why we will no longer use the phrase Zero Knowledge to describe our software". spideroak.com. SpiderOak. February 8, 2017. Retrieved February 13, 2017.
  17. ^ "A Transparency Report is a Canary". SpiderOak.com. 2018-08-06. Retrieved 2018-08-10.
  18. ^ "Transparency report". SpiderOak.com. 2018-08-03. Retrieved 2018-08-10.
  19. ^ Schneier, Bruce. "SpiderOak's Warrant Canary Died". Schneier on Security. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  20. ^ "How do I use the SpiderOak Web API?". SpiderOak FAQs. Archived from the original on 22 August 2014. Retrieved 21 August 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  21. ^ "SpiderOak to Become OSS & More: What to Expect From Us in 2014 (PART I)". The Spideroak Blog. Archived from the original on 22 August 2014. Retrieved 21 August 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  22. ^ "Spideroak: Free Online Backup, File and Folder Sync, Share & Storage for Windows, Mac, and Linux – SpiderOak.com". SpiderOak. Retrieved 2009-11-04.

External links[edit]