My ramblings on the stuff that holds it all together
Could Skynet be a Cloud Application, and Should I be Scared?
Has the cloud been sent from the future to kill you?
It’s Friday… so time for something completely different, Smugmug have already built skynet here on EC2 which decided it wanted more power… and made a semi-autonomous decision to scale itself out to mammoth proportions, if you weren’t as diligent as they are and maybe don’t pay close attention maybe your EC2 bills would bankrupt you by the time you see the invoice, assuming no credit-control limit… then you’d be out on the street, maybe loose your job, etc.
Or what if your EC2 instances picked up some kind of malware that is EC2 aware and it suddenly started to become a botnet, harvesting people’s credit card details to open up new EC2 accounts and spawn more parallel instances of itself, or spread to other cloud providers or opened up online loans, credit cards and gambling accounts, trade accounts, share dealing accounts – which in turn bankrupted other people. what if it made a coordinated (or maliciously intended), distributed on-line run on a particular stock, sparking panic buying, which in turn causes credit crunch 2.0 and brought about the end of humanity? oh, wait… that’s going on now.. maybe we know what caused it 🙂
What then if EC2 did provide IP connectivity back to your own networks and it started stealing and disseminating your internal commercial data (or entire virtual servers..), what if you ignore all that security best-practice stuff and start plugging in your office HVAC system into the LAN (lots of it going on these days) and it decides that it should brute-force access into or DoS your building UPS, resulting in overloads and fires.
Maybe virtualization is that chip they found, and VMware are really Cyberdyne systems?
Ok, bit off the wall but this thought came to me on the train home today…I’ve had a nasty dose of the flu, so maybe that paracetemol was a bit stronger than it said on the box 🙂
Best to remember those firewalls, sandboxes and policies are there for a reason.. and people’s natural impatience to embrace new things can always compromise that, especially in today’s world of instant/on-demand gratification… why do I have to wait 7 days to sign my paper! credit card application form… those check-points are there for a reason, the same security principals that apply to the physical world also apply to the cloud and virtualization – just because you can do something, doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do, you need to assess risk and mitigate accordingly*
Normal service will be resumed shortly..
*Although I would expect there would be a few eyebrows raised if your corporate risk register contained an essay on how to mitigate against a horde of cyborgs controlled by your HR department trying to exterminate you (oh, wait..:))