Since the revelations some years ago about government spying I have been trying to protect my privacy on the internet more than I have in the past. Using encrypted email, VPN's, stronger and more unique passwords, better firewalls and whitebox servers and routers I put together myself among other things.
One of the things I used a lot before the revelations was Dropbox. I'm sure you're all familiar with it but for those who don't, it's a cloud storage company meaning they operate a server which keeps a copy of the files you choose to put on the service and automatically syncs them to other computers you own.
A common usage scenario of this service is sharing files between your home and work computers and things like that. Another usage is keeping some servery stuff in sync. I liked to use it to keep files in sync between two webservers I had in fallover, so if one server suddenly lost internet access the site would still be accessible and because of Dropbox the two servers would always have the same files.
An alternative to this scenario is using rsync. It's efficient but difficult for novice users to setup, it doesn't have the intuitive interface of Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud and other cloud providers.
But three months ago I came across a new project called Syncthing
, it's open source on GitHub and under active development, in-fact a new release was just published about an hour ago and they have new main stable releases every 1 to 2 weeks and betas every other day.
It has some great features that make it perfect for privacy. Firstly there is no central server holding a copy of your files, so there's no "cloud" here. It works more like rsync in that the files are sent from your computer(s) and received by your computer(s). It also generates strong encrypted certificates for all your machines and encrypted tunnels are made between clients when swapping files.
It has two network features, it can use Syncthing peers to send your data for you (if one or more of your computers are behind a restrictive firewall) or it can send the files directly which requires you to open some ports and specify the ports in the client. The direct method is fastest but the security is about the same as the files are all encrypted before being sent to any "node" in the network.
I really love this project as it allows you to share any number of folders with any number of computers you own, it has the security I need, it's incredibly fast and well polished, well maintained and updated frequently (by the way it has 1 click updates inside the interface so its quite convenient to stay up to date) and it's completely free and open source.
The Syncthing software works on Windows, Linux and macOS and features a unified codebase for all three including the same GUI which means all the platforms have feature parity.
I hope this helps some of you as it has helped me, I've stopped using hubiC and Dropbox due to this software and I've found it to be incredibly reliable and feature pact beyond what the commercial offerings provide.