Twitter Hack A Google Problem? Or Blame Cloud Computing?

Or is it time to blame the victims instead of the hacker?

So the so-called Twitter hack, actually a hack of Google Apps accounts belonging to an employee of Twitter, happened because a Twitter co-founder's password for Google Apps was guessed. This allowed the malicious hacker access to the co-founder's personal information, including details on his wife's computer.

According to Andy Cordial, managing director of Origin Storage, "Our observations suggest that a number of companies and their staff are being forced down the cloud computing route and are having to adapt their IT security systems on the fly," Cordial says. "We have had concerns about this rate of change in the business sector for some time and, with all the data breaches occurring on the cloud front, it's obvious that the chickens are now coming home to roost," he added.

Gee, that makes one feel so much better about the security of Twitter. And Google Apps.

Evan Williams, the co-founder whose wife’s Gmail account was compromised, assured the now-notorious blog, TechCrunch, that this had no effect on the security of Twitter. But as Cordial points out, if Twitter had paid more attention to security “rather than apparently going for user growth at any cost, it wouldn’t be in the embarrassing situation it is now.”

Adding encryption to a company's data storage, whether in the cloud or not, Cordial says, will ensure that data at rest, as well as on the move, is protected from prying eyes. And applying a secure password best practice on top of corporate encryption policies couldn't hurt. Can anyone say “ilovetwitter123”?

Then again, it was personal accounts, not corporate accounts, as I understand it, that were hacked. So how much culpability should Williams take on? In the future, will we blame the victim of computer hacking rather than the hacker?

Adding an interesting ethical twist to the entire situation, TechCrunch published parts of the information revealed in the hacked accounts. They managed to maintain, at least in their eyes, a sense of integrity by not publishing leaked documents naming people who’d interviewed for jobs at Twitter, and other such sensitive documents. 

Ah cloud computing…such a beautiful concept. This recent news is not going to make the lovely, nebulous technology any new friends.

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