Whenever humans invent a new technology, someone is always quick to turn it into a weapon. If anyone thought the Internet and cloud computing might be different, they were wrong. Even with something so abstract as pure information, militaries and cyberterrorists have learned how to turn the cloud into a weapon.
Witness the events of the past few weeks: Cybersecurity experts suspect that Iran has orchestrated a coordinated attack on the online banking sites of the largest banks in the US. They haven't used cyberninjas or mastermind hackers -- at least not in the way romanticized by Hollywood. Rather, the attackers seized control of vast pools of cloud hosting services and launched a torrent of traffic at the banks' sites until each one collapsed under the load.
In addition to denial of service attacks, cloud hosting services are making it easier than ever for hackers to anonymously host malware that embeds itself into websites and advertisements. In the most dangerous of attacks, Web surfers need do nothing more than visit an infected site for the malware to spread to their computer.
As with most military technologies, cloud offensives are relatively easy (if somewhat expensive) to orchestrate but extremely difficult to defend against. If past examples of arms races are any indication, cybersecurity specialists may be playing catch-up for quite a long time.
If you're interested in cloud security, scroll on down to the Research Spotlight for some more in depth information. And if you have any interesting experiences in cloud security and want to share your story in our newsletter, let me know!
Next week we still have one spot left for a feature interview. If you're a cloud startup and interested in being interviewed, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With cyberwarfare in the news, I decided last week to spend some time boning up on how to keep my clients' computers safe in the Big Bad Cloud. Here's what I read -- and considered worth sharing:
"Malware B-Z: Inside the Threat From Blackhole to ZeroAccess" -- An interesting look at some of the most common and dangerous types of malware, and how to defend against them. Read it here.
"Dennis Technology Labs Report: Enterprise Anti-Virus Protection" -- This report is just what it says it is: almost 20 pages of graphs and analysis rating the best antivirus products. Read it here.
Based on what folks are reading on CloudTweaks, it seems everyone wants to know what 2013 has in store for the cloud. Here are a couple of articles that give us a glimpse of what to look forward to:
The Cloud Computing Market In 2013 -- Rick cites numbers suggesting the cloud computing market will grow from $5.6 billion in 2012 to $46.8 billion in 2013.(Is such a large jump possible... and, what's more... isn't the cloud computing market already larger than $5.6 billion? Someone want to do a bit of investing for me? Please...)