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SpiderOak Semaphor 1.1.0 Mac OS X
SpiderOak Semaphor 1.1.0 Mac OS X
Developer(s) SpiderOak
Initial release December 2007
Stable release
6.1.5 / June 26, 2016; 12 months ago (2016-06-26)
Development status Active
Written in Python/Qt
Operating system Windows, macOS, Debian, Fedora, Slackware, Android, iOS
Available in English
Type Online backup service and collaboration tool
License Proprietary (GPLv3 for some tools)
Website spideroak.com

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] 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. 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.[4] As of 2016, SpiderOak ONE's source code is only available for mobile platforms, with no current plans to open source the desktop client.[5] Encryptr and Semaphor, SpiderOak's password manager and group messaging applications, are open source.[6][7]

SpiderOak distinguishes itself from its competition in provision of encryption,[8] in provision for syncing files and folders across multiple devices, and in automatic de-duplication of data.[9]

SpiderOak was rated "Awesome" by MacLife magazine in 2009[10] and also was made an Editor's Choice by Computer Shopper magazine in May 2009.[11] In a July 2014 interview, former NSA contractor Edward Snowden recommended SpiderOak over Dropbox, citing its better protection against government surveillance.[12]


SpiderOak was founded in 2007 by Ethan Oberman and Alan Fairless as an encrypted private backup program.[13] 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."[14] Crypton is an open-source project allowing developers to easily add encryption security to mobile applications.[15] By mid-2014, SpiderOak neared 1 million users.

SpiderOak is headquartered in Chicago and currently employs 42 staff, headed by CEO Alan Fairless. SpiderOak has offices in Chicago and Kansas City, and hires remote employees inside and outside of the US.[16][17]

In February 2017, SpiderOak discontinued using the term "zero knowledge" to describe their service and renamed the feature "no knowledge".[18]

Main features[edit]

Main features comprise:

  • 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 "zero-knowledge" data encryption if you only use the desktop client, that is, no sharing, web-access, or mobile access.[19] This zero-knowledge claim, however, cannot be confirmed due to the client being closed source[20] and has recently been described as "not technically accurate" on SpiderOak's blog[21]
  • Unlimited devices[22]
  • A layered approach to encryption, using a combination of 2048-bit RSA and 256-bit AES[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "SpiderOak Service Agreement". SpiderOak. Retrieved June 9, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Spideroak Service Description". SpiderOak. Retrieved June 19, 2009. 
  3. ^ a b "SpiderOak Review: Cloud Storage reviews at". Nextadvisor.com. Retrieved 2013-08-10. 
  4. ^ a b "Spideroak: Engineering Matters". SpiderOak. Retrieved 2009-11-04. 
  5. ^ "Why isn't SpiderOak open source yet? When will it be?". Archived from the original on 2016-10-05. Retrieved 2016-10-05. 
  6. ^ "SpiderOak/Encryptr". GitHub. Retrieved 2017-04-24. 
  7. ^ "Semaphor Verifiable Source". spideroak.com. Retrieved 2017-04-24. 
  8. ^ "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. 
  9. ^ Carla Schroder (2009-01-22). "Spideroak: Secure Offsite Backups for Linux". LinuxPlanet. Retrieved 2009-02-26. 
  10. ^ Susie Ochs (2009-06-11). "Online Storage Battle: Which Cloud Back-Up Service Reigns Supreme?". MacLife. Retrieved 2009-11-04. 
  11. ^ Haley, Fiona (2009-05-05). "SpiderOak 3.0 Review". Computer Shopper. 
  12. ^ Yadron, Danny; MacMillan, Douglas (2014-07-14). "Snowden Says Drop Dropbox, Use SpiderOak". WSJ.com Digits. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 1 September 2014. 
  13. ^ "About SpiderOak". 
  14. ^ "About Crypton". 
  15. ^ Klint Finley (March 1, 2013). "Open Source Project Prepackages Kim Dotcom’s Security". Wired. 
  16. ^ "SpiderOak Grows Enterprise Revenue 300%, Doubles Headcount". SpiderOak. December 10, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Chris Cooley shares how SpiderOak’s distributed team works". Silicon Prairie News. August 29, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Why we will no longer use the phrase Zero Knowledge to describe our software". SpiderOak. February 8, 2017. Retrieved February 13, 2017. 
  19. ^ "How do I use the SpiderOak Web API?". SpiderOak FAQs. Retrieved 21 August 2014. 
  20. ^ "SpiderOak to Become OSS & More: What to Expect From Us in 2014 (PART I)". The Spideroak Blog. Retrieved 21 August 2014. 
  21. ^ "Why we will no longer use the phrase Zero Knowledge to describe our software". SpiderOak Blog. 
  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]