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May 12, 2011

How Safe is Google Chromebook’s Cloud?

How Safe is Google Chromebook’s Cloud?

Forbes, By Kenneth Rapoza

Google’s new laptop product, the Chromebook, will turn to the cloud, and see a load of cybercriminals waiting, says the chief global malware researcher at leading consumer anti-virus company Kaspersky Lab.

“With all your data being available in a cloud network, in one place, and available all day, every day through a fast internet link, this will be a goldmine for cybercriminals,” says Costin Raiu from Kaspersky Lab. Raiu says that the Chromebook is probably the safest operating system around, with its sci-fi built-in self healing capability that makes it look something aboard a Cylon warship from Battlestar Galactica. The hardware inside Google’s Chromebook is low-end, with all of the speed coming from the cloud. The idea is that Chromebook users will save their pictures, their music, their videos and other files on Google’s cloud network, keeping hackers away from their laptop. But that won’t keep cybercriminals away from the cloud, and one only needs to look at what happened recently to Sony Play Station’s 77 million account holders who had their identities stolen this month from hackers. The attacks led to the leak of over 10 million credit cards.

“Hackers just need to get a hold of the authentication tokens required to access your cloud account. There are plenty of drawbacks to cloud computing,” he says.

Most of the attacks nowadays focus on infecting the machine and then hiding the presence of the malware for as much time as possible to intercept banking transactions or credit card numbers. With cloud centric operating systems, the race will be towards stealing access credentials, after which, “it’s game over,” he says. “Who needs to steal banking accounts, when you have Google Checkout? Or, who needs to monitor passwords, when they’re all nicely stored into the Google Dashboard?”

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