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Why Cloud Computing Security Will Affect You In 2012

Happy New Year and welcome back to Tangled Web! Our first post of 2012 comes to you from Bit9’s Director of Security Research, Dan Brown.

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Bit9’s Director of Security Research, Dan Brown

It’s that time of year again: time for technology prediction blogs.

The common perception among those only vaguely familiar with cloud computing is that it’s a fringe technology – affecting only technologists and large corporations.  The truth is that cloud computing is invading virtually everyone’s life whether they know it or not.

Do you own an iPhone or Android device?  How about a Kindle or Nook?  Soon even our cars will not be immune from the cloud invasion.

Don’t misunderstand me.  There are lots of benefits to cloud computing.  Siri’s magic is enabled by the cloud – your handheld device doesn’t have the compute power to do all that niftiness, and so all that speech recognition wizardry has to be offloaded to the almighty server across the Net.  But what happens so often, is that this niftiness overtakes our better security judgment.  Sometimes we need to step back and take stock of it.

The “cloud” is not an enigma to malicious attackers.  Increasingly that façade is being broken down to its component servers.  If you think corporate environments are rich targets, imagine all of the mobile apps and outsourced IT that are being hosted out there.

This post’s prediction dovetails with another recent prediction of mine.  There I spoke about data being stolen from corporate environments by using data mules to walk it out the door – bypassing corporate security measures.  But much of the same data might also be stolen these days by compromising the cloud.  In the coming year we will see a significant increase in attacks on the cloud that will parallel the increasing use of the cloud in our daily lives.  Security rule #1:  if it’s an attractive target, it will be targeted.

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Bill Keeler

Bill Keeler

Vice President

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