"Secure" photo sharing

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Oct 2, 2020
Hey all, have a question for the community. I'd like to figure out a way to "securely" share photos with my family. I say "secure" because, well, we all know something is secure until it isn't. Here are my thoughts
- I'm not opposed to having them in the cloud somewhere but I'd like them encrypted in place with something which has been verified as secure
- I don't want to make them public so a login of some sort is a must
- No social media
Obviously I could share with something like email but that's a pain and not very elegant.
I have an office 365 subscription so I could use OneDrive. That has the downside of requiring an MS account, which is annoying, and I'm not sure if they encrypt all the data that is stored there. I do trust MS to keep it secure but in an ideal world I would only store these things in the cloud if they are encrypted in place.
I have a QNAP NAS at home but I struggle with the notion of putting my NAS online via their services. I consider my NAS the most secure place for all my stuff so I don't really want it always connected. I don't mind if there is a folder on the NAS mapped to something with the photos but not the entire NAS itself.
You don't say if this is a one-off requirement, or an ongoing one. Also, is it one way sharing ( you to them) or mutual sharing ( several to several)?
I accomplish much of what you're looking to do via my personal web site. The site has typical (public viewing) content listed but then I also have an unlisted directory that is password protected. Family has been given the URL, ID, PW and they can see that content at their convenience.

One way, no changes. There's no blog either - just the photos I wish to present - full control of me.

The content is not sitting encrypted (you mention as a requirement) on the server though family could download an encrypted file and then decrypt it locally to see the pictures.
Plex is probably a good option. You can then also share other media with your friends and family. Plex is free to try, but you'll need to pay to share accounts or else each end user has to buy the app of their device. I paid the $150 for the lifetime membership and I can create accounts for friends and family and allow them access to my content on my server on a share by share basis (so I can make a folder just for a specific user even.)

There is an open source product similar to Plex called JellyFin ( https://jellyfin.org/ ) but I haven't ever tried it, so I can't speak to image sharing.

Another option is a NAS product like the Synology. It has image sharing two different ways, but obviously this is more expensive because you have to buy the NAS hardware and then buy the drives that go in it. The benefit is you're not beholden to anyone else, you don't have to hope some other company stays in business or doesn't decided to start charging you a fee.
Dropbox,com will do all that you want.

If you look back in the archives of SecurityNow, you'll find that Steve reviewed Dropbox, along with several other file sharing platforms, and found it to be secure enough for most people's use.
Not free, and not yet open to all (still invite only I believe) and only on iOS for now, but maybe one to watch for the future:
If you want to self-host something that still has photo albums, family commenting, tagging, geotagging (or not), etc then open source Piwigo is what I use. It has logins to manage who sees what. I share a lot of my photos as public, but I have specific albums for family only, another for work colleagues, and another for school buddies. Those limited albums all require registration and login.

It's not encrypted though. You can see what the public photos and albums look like at https://photos.gadgeteer.co.za.