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Canon says its cloud service can't restore users' lost videos or full-size images

image.canon
(Image credit: Canon)

Canon has explained what went wrong when its cloud service, image.canon, went down last week – and it's not good news for the affected users.

The image.canon site went offline on July 30 and only returned on August 4, following an investigation from the camera giant into what went wrong.

On the plus side, Canon has confirmed that "we found no unauthorized access to image.canon” and that "the incident caused no leakage of images", which means it's an entirely separate incident to the major ransomware attack that also hit the company last week.

But unfortunately for the image.canon users affected by the earlier incident, Canon also said "there is no technical measure to restore lost video images" and that "still images can be restored, but not with original resolutions". In a statement on the image.canon homepage, it added "we offer our deepest apologies to affected users".

So what in the name of holy pixels went wrong? It was actually a painfully simple coding error. Canon's cloud service has two functions – the main one is its short-term, temporary storage where you can store images directly from your camera for up to 30 days, before sending them onto a long-term cloud storage service like Google Drive.

The problem was that a coding mistake got this confused with image.canon's second function, which is offering up to 10GB of long-term storage with no expiry date. 

As Canon explains, when it "switched over to a new version of the software to control these services on July 30, the code to control the short-term storage operated on both of the short-term storage and the long-term storage functions, causing the loss of some images stored for more than 30 days." Whoops.

Image.Canon

(Image credit: Canon)

It might get cloud

Canon hasn't confirmed exactly how many users were affected by this image.canon incident and lost their media as a result, but the fact that the service is so new is perhaps something of a blessing.

The cloud service has only been up and running for a few months, having taken over from both the 'Canon Image Gateway' (a bridge application that helped you upload media to the cloud) and its now discontinued Irista cloud storage service.

Still, Canon has now rolled out image.canon support to 27 of its cameras (according to its compatibility list), so it could soon become a popular way, cable-free way for Canon users to get images off their cameras, despite this incident.

The incident does nevertheless underline the importance of following the '3-2-1 backup rule', which means keeping at least three copies of your photos, with two backup copies kept on different storage media, be that an SSD or cloud service.

Looking for some recommendations on that front? We have in-depth guides on the best cloud storage for photos and the best portable SSD too, so make sure you check them out if Canon's incident has left you feeling a little unnerved.