August 7, 2012
Steve Wozniak Speaks About The Perils Of Being In The Cloud
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Though Apple normally likes to keep a tight lid on what their employees say to the press, the company's co-founder gets an obvious free pass to say what he will.
As such, Steve Wozniak (affectionately known as Woz among the geek set) is prone to giving his opinion about all things tech, even if they aren´t at all favorable for Apple.
In the most recent example, Woz has expressed his concern and frustration over Apple´s iCloud. During a question and answer session after a recent performance of Mike Daisey´s mostly fabricated monologue, “The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs,” Woz expressed his concern for the future of cloud computing.
"I really worry about everything going to the cloud," Wozniak told the audience.
"I think it's going to be horrendous. I think there are going to be a lot of horrible problems in the next five years."
Some of these horrible problems, according to Woz, include the fact that another entity has some sort of access to your files and information.
"With the cloud, you don't own anything. You already signed it away.”
"I want to feel that I own things," Wozniak said. "A lot of people feel, 'Oh, everything is really on my computer,' but I say the more we transfer everything onto the web, onto the cloud, the less we're going to have control over it."
In addition to hosting a Q&A with Daisey, Woz also had one of his revolutionary inventions on display in the theater lobby: One of the very first Apple I computers ever built. These computers were famously built by hand by Woz in Steve Jobs´ parent´s garage in California.
“Everything I designed was purely out of my head, never out of a book," said Woz.
Woz´s comments struck close to home as an ex-Gizmodo writer has been telling his story about how his iCloud account was hacked over the weekend, resulting in a wiped iPad, iPhone and MacBook Air. Additionally, the hackers were able to take control of Mat Honan´s Twitter account and GMail account, all by using some more old school methods.
Rather than use a brute force attack, the hackers were able to use some “social engineering” and Honan´s email address to gain access to his credit card numbers from Amazon. With this information, the 19-year old hacker called Apple and pretended to be Honan. As it turns out, Apple only requires an email address, credit card number and the last four digits of the credit card on file with iTunes to verify identity. Normally, these measures would be secure enough, however with as easy as it was for these hackers to get this information from the offices of Amazon and Apple, his Apple ID and iCloud data were not as safe as he would have thought.
Honan admits to not having a backup of his data and therefore, lost a year´s worth of photos of his daughter, as well as other sensitive information.
“And it´s also worth noting that one wouldn´t have to call Amazon to pull this off,” writes Honan in his piece at Wired.com.
“Your pizza guy could do the same thing, for example. If you have an AppleID, every time you call Pizza Hut, you´ve giving the 16-year-old on the other end of the line all he needs to take over your entire digital life.”
Honan´s incredibly unfortunate situation, combined with Woz´s statement should give many plenty to ponder about their information and where this information is stored. Closing his story, Honan writes: “I bought into the Apple account system originally to buy songs at 99 cents a pop, and over the years that same ID has evolved into a single point of entry that controls my phones, tablets, computers and data-driven life. With this AppleID, someone can make thousands of dollars of purchases in an instant, or do damage at a cost that you can´t put a price on.” It´s likely Woz agrees.