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March 2013/ Volume 15 / No. 2

Big data creates cloudy security forecast

Back in 2009, some researchers at Sensepost Security in South Africa decided to poke around in the security mechanisms of a couple of the major cloud providers. The results were presented at Black Hat and Defcon. The researchers set limits for themselves so that they didn’t run afoul of the law, but still managed to find some fairly amusing gotchas. They were nice about it and passed along their findings to the relevant cloud providers. And none of the security holes they uncovered resulted in major breaches or takedowns. Still, it made a skeptic out of me where cloud security was concerned. For a couple of years, my answer to “how do you secure the cloud?” was “it can’t be done.” I’m still pretty skeptical about cloud security. I’ve grudgingly come to recognize, however, that some pretty good work is going on, to make it possible to control the quality of security you get in Web deployments, and to monitor what’s going on in your slice of the cloud. Even if application security in the cloud isn’t yet ironclad, it’s increasingly...

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