Currys PC World has been ordered by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) to remove a "misleading" advert for its cloud backup service.
An ad for the retailer's Knowhow Cloud service came under scrutiny after an end-user business claimed the advert suggested that the backup product could recover files from the cloud if its devices were hit by a cyberattack.
The advert on the website stated: "Once backed up, your files can be accessed whenever you need them, anywhere in the world.
"All your data is protected and backed up in our military-grade encrypted UK-based datacentres. You can also secure the files on your computer, so if it's ever lost or stolen your data is safe."
The customer was hit by a ransomware attack and tried to retrieve files from the Knowhow Cloud, but was told that the only way to do this would be a "complex process" of restoring each file to its pre-encrypted state one by one - which is not what the advert suggests.
DSG Retail, which trades as Knowhow, responded by claiming that the restoration of files is designed for incidences where files have been accidentally deleted or a laptop has been lost, for example, not in the event of a cyberattack.
It explained that every time a file is modified it is re-uploaded to the cloud - meaning that even infected files are uploaded as they are modified.
Restoring encrypted or potentially malicious files would require the customer to retrieve each file individually because the Knowhow software had no way of scanning the files itself.
The ASA report states: "[DSG Retail] said without the software interrogating each file individually, which could give rise to privacy risks, it was impossible to know which version of a file should be restored, which is why it was a manual process.
"They said files could be encrypted by virus or password and then automatically backed up to the cloud. They said if a user then lost this password it was not the responsibility of the cloud product to unlock these files.
"They said they did not think the ad was misleading as they had made no specific claim that their product protected against any particular virus."
Assessing the case, the ASA said that the advert implied that all files could be downloaded quickly and easily, no matter what state they are in, and that additional security was provided in the event that uploaded files were infected.
Summarising, the ASA said: "Because we understood that the product could not enable consumers to access or restore their data easily and in a practical and timely manner and did not provide additional security benefits, we considered the ad was misleading."
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