With Apple's announcement of iCloud at WWDC on Monday, the migration of data and assets to the cloud space seems to be accelerating and irreversible.
iCloud's massive online storage system allows users to access their data from any decive connected to the Internet. You can access your music library, documents, photos, and all contents from any iOS device, from anywhere. In an era where everyone juggles multiple devices, iCloud answers the hassles of keeping all your devices in sync.
But there are questions to be asked. Are you sure you want to entrust your digital assets to the cloud? Will they also be as easily accessible to those who are not suppose to have access?
You may want to ask the hackers, who have dominated the news with their successes in hacking Sony, Amazon and Google.
After hacking the Sony customer database and posting the passwords for 37,608 users, LulzSec has claimed another victory.
On Monday, the hacker group released a 54MB of SVN's Sony Developer source code on their website.
LulzSec also hacked Nintendo this past weekend, confirmed Nintendo on Monday, and that LulzSec did not steal any personal information. The company's operation was not damaged.
LulzSec said on Twitter, Things we would never harm: Sega, Nintendo, Neopets, Old Spice Guy, anyone that owns a boat for the sole purpose of being a pirate. The weekend's hack was just to get a configured file and make it clear that we didn't mean any harm. Nintendo had already fixed it anyway. <3 them!
But when the hackers do mean harm, there is need to worry about them.
The recent security breach on Sony PlayStation and Amazon's cloud services revealed the vulnerability of the cloud space, and fueled the interest of hackers in cyber attack.
Some claim that hardware-based security can provide a higher protection than encrypted software. The concerns over security could slow the growth of the market for cloud computing, which is expected to reach $3.2 billion this year in Asia alone from $1.87 billion last year, while the global market could reach $55 billion in 2014, according to estimates by technology research firm IDC, reported Reuters.
Others claim that the cloud space is a secure, extensible offsite storage that keeps data secure and available on multiple servers. According to Network Security Edge, the multi-tenant architecture of the cloud is fundamentally different from traditional IT infrastructures in that the cloud continually replicates data, making multiple copies in multiple locations. As a result, data stored in the cloud is inherently more protected than in a traditional IT infrastructure and does not need to be backed up elsewhere.
Is Apple's new iCloud really secure? Will hackers go after it, and will they gain another victory?
Analysts and experts agree that no service or device is perfectly secure. It's really up to the users to protect their own information, by creating secure passwords and backing up the data in multiple locations.
Regarding iCloud, Hackers will be all over this. Hope AAPL comes off some cash for security, said one commenter during TheStreet's live coverage of WWDC. The scale and high-profile of iCloud makes it a juicy target for hackers.
Bill Pennington, the Chief Strategy Officer at WhiteHat Security said, The biggest issue is centralizing everything in the iCloud around an Apple ID, and that they know people who had their Apple ID compromised, reported Forbes. The Apple system is incredibly susceptible to brute-force attacks, Pennington warned.
Though the actual level of security of iCloud remains unanswered, it seems to be the most secure among the existing cloud services.
Cloud is a fragmented market where many vendors provide different security solutions based on their own standards, and it does not currently have an open standard. If there is an open standard, the industry will be able to build a much more secure cloud system. Because if you don't have an open standard, you might do security in a certain way and I might do something that's not compatible, and the applications can't talk to each other, said Manju Hegde, Advanced Micro Device's corporate vice president.
Apple, however, has its own security because it is a vertical company with a closed space, which means that the company will work with its own proprietary technology and its own vertical space making it much more secure than other cloud spaces in the fragmented market.
A breach into iCloud would be of concern, not only shaking the ground for iCloud's great leap forward, but threatening the future of the entire cloud market, affectings its providers and users.
A general truth seems to apply even in the cyber world - only you can protect yourself.