A Storm Is Brewing: The Trouble of Malware in the Cloud

Grazed from HowStuffWorks. Author: Jonathan Strickland.

When I wrote a series of articles explaining How Cloud Computing Works several years ago, the phrase “cloud computing” — the practice of storing and processing data on remote servers that can be accessed online — was just starting to catch on. More people are familiar with the term today, though many still aren’t sure what it means. But for those concerned about the security of the cloud, a recent study could give us a glimpse into the future of detecting computer viruses and other malware.

First, the basics. Cloud computing isn’t that mysterious — it’s a relatively simple strategy. It involves networking computers, connecting the network to the internet and using those computers to provide services to people. Those services can be simple storage solutions, like an online photo album or filing system like Google Drive. Or they can involve leveraging the networked computers’ processors to do work a personal computer couldn’t handle. In any case, cloud computing can be summed up with the phrase “it’s all happening on someone else’s computer.”...

Now for the scary stuff. Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Indiana University Bloomington and the University of California, Santa Barbara found that about 10 percent of the repositories provided by 20 major cloud hosting services, including Google and Amazon platforms, were compromised. These bad repositories, aka “Bars,” contained malware in certain “buckets” that could be delivered to users through websites or online services, infecting countless devices. Bars even infected popular websites, such as Groupon and Space.com...

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