Friday, 17 July 2009

Cloud computing rocks, but yes you can get hacked... so


The twitterworld has been buzzing with the latest twitter hack that gave the hacker access to a lot of sensitive information. This sensitive information was accessible because of a series of factors: passwords that were intercepted amongst others, but what is on everyone's lips is the fact that cloud computing makes everyone's information more vulnerable for hackers. It was a very good and solid communications move of Twitter to openly spread the word on what happened.

(Image source: http://infreemation.net/cloud-computing-linear-utility-or-complex-ecosystem/)

A lot of teachers and knowledge workers have been increasingly publishing there documents online. And with the increase of mobile usage cloud computing (in its very basic form) becomes even more popular, mobile cloud computing is mentioned in the Horizon report from earlier this year. And what if learners become more at ease with password hacking programs (and lets be honest, using those is childsplay). But if we keep in mind to use different passwords for different levels of 'security' or add additional encryption if necessary, some easy hacking might be avoided.

There are a lot of benefits in using a central location for information and knowledge production: you can access it from anywhere, the whole team can work on it at the same time, it is transparent to everyone involved, ... But it does put your information out there for 'everyone' to see.

A lot of us remember Wargames in which the protagonist David hacks into computers for a variety of reasons. And if you link all the computers together, yes a risk is involved. But is it wise to through away the baby with the bath water? I think not. Cloud computing gives a lot of benefits, not only for producing knowledge and team work, but also has benefits for the environment and there is more as you can read in this article by Jim Williams from the Cloudcomputing magazine (and yes Jim, I trust my wife more, I am an old fashioned girl :-D

A more in depth look at all the (technical) features of cloud computing can be read here in the Cisco article or seen in the movie that features Padmasree Warrior from Cisco (and she is a warrior if you look at the apathy of some of the public, keeping going with that lack of interest is a challenge).