Apple’s iCloud: Should We Trust It With All Of Our Files?
In lieu of the rumored release of the iPhone 5 lies the true gem: the introduction of the iOS 5 mobile operating system and the iCloud. The iCloud will enable users to access all of their documents, music, apps, and so on among their Apple devices wirelessly. Derived from the concept of Cloud Computing, the iCloud will centralize all of your information without effort on the part of the user. However, such automated connectivity has brought about concerns of how secure the infrastructure is from an individual as well as from a corporate standpoint.
With all the hacks and viruses that have been a continuous problem for any indiscriminate user, the iCloud could magnify the problem beyond a single account, file, or device. To long time Apple users, virus protection is much more of a concern than it was in prior years. This may be due to Apple’s previous move to allow third party companies to handle some of the software development of their devices. With the iCloud, instead of maybe getting a virus on one machine, it could potentially spread to all devices connected to a iCloud account. Important documents as well could fall prey to prying eyes if a hacker were successful.
From a corporate point of view iCloud presents an even greater threat. At the moment there has been no information on possibly tweaking restrictions on what can be synced to iCloud: all documents, sensitive or not, will be synced to Apple’s service and hence duplicated. Hackers now only need to focus on hub of the iCloud to be able to access millions of files instead of attacking several proficiently protected systems. In addition, with employees utilizing their personal devices for work purposes, this centralization of data makes the possible number of targets much more enticing for those hackers. iCloud could very well contain the mother-load of information.
The biggest problem concerning security seems to be Apple’s lack of transparency toward all of these concerns and their silence amidst the commotion. While I am somewhat confident that Apple would not implement a cloud service without addressing such threats, being a “free” service leaves few resources to implement, let along maintain robust security measures. Time will tell, but for the new feature it may be best to be wary of what you place in the Cloud.
Are you concerned?
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