Wozniak Spreads Apple iCloud FUD

| About: Apple Inc. (AAPL)

FUD - Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt - is a political term that became popular in technology during the 1980s, when Microsoft (MSFT) used it against rivals who, like it, were trying to replicate the capabilities of the Apple (AAPL) Macintosh.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak launched a major FUD attack over the weekend, claiming that clouds are horribly insecure and that he was scared of what they might do over the next five years.

He's right. Clouds are scary. If they're run like the Apple iCloud.

But Apple iCloud isn't a real cloud. It's a data service, run by Apple out of computers located in North Carolina. Eventually it will be run out of a network of data centers around the world. But all those centers have a single point of potential failure - AppleCare.

Hackers demonstrated this conclusively by simply calling Apple's customer service people and getting a journalist's password re-set to one of their own choosing. This gave them access to the journalist's files, which they were able to wipe out, leaving him no recourse in his work.

That's not a cloud problem. That's a customer service problem. The fact that the journalist had connected his other online passwords to his iCloud account is, frankly, his problem.

But this has nothing to do with cloud technology. Cloud is not about hosting personal files. It's about virtualized computing environments, and systems that can analyze "big data" efficiently enough to provide value to the enterprise.

At its most basic, cloud provides distributed computing capabilities through virtualization, a hypervisor capable of letting a program written for, say, Apple's OSX, run under Linux. Or vice versa. Distributed computing lets this virtual environment give a single program, or web site, access to all the physical resources the hypervisor has access to.

Did you read the term "customer service" anywhere there? I didn't write it.

For clouds to be secure, they need physical security, data security, and a customer service system that won't give just anyone someone else's car keys. They could also use customers who don't tie their house, their locker, and their car keys into one system because it's easier.

At the very worst, all this provides an opportunity for better identity systems. Safe, secure identity, tied to biometrics that can't be easily faked, and audit trails that will keep new identities from doing something irreparable without further inquiries being made, are what I'm talking about.

And this has nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with cloud. This is not, in other words, a cloud problem. It's an Apple problem, Woz's FUD notwithstanding.

Disclosure: I am long AAPL, MSFT.

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