Cloud Computing, Technology Security

Chrome OS, puts you in the clouds but can it keep you secure?


We told you about Chrome OS and how after a couple of years of denying its existence Google finally owned up to trying to enter the OS market.

But is Chrome Really going to be the MS Windows Killer that some sites are reporting? After all the initial release of Chrome as a Browser did not sweep Internet Explorer from the market and has not made much of a dent in FireFox, Opera or Safari when you really get down to it. This is despite it being hailed as the second coming from many technical sites.

After the first few days of marveling at its speed, and after the right people got a hold of it; Chrome turned out to not be such a great thing. Not only was it insecure but it wanted to track everything you did in a way that made many feel as uncomfortable as being watched by your creepy uncle.

So now Google is dropping an OS with a stripped down Linux Kernel, Chrome as the browser, and if you had not already guessed it Web Based Applications. Yes Chrome is trying to be a Cloud Based OS. Your applications will not run on the OS but on the Web. To the Tin Foil Hat crowd this will mean Google will have direct control over your apps and files. To the security experts it means a single point of failure and access (despite there being multiple servers in a cloud).

Thinking about this from a rational side and including some of Chrome?s known security failings this could be a potential disaster. If Chrome, the browser, is the conduit for applications and files based in the cloud then you do have a serious issue. Chrome has been laughed about by the few Black Hats I have spoken with. They say that Chrome is so open that it is even easier than Safari to get into. Yes it is fast but it trades security for that speed.  According to one Black Hat it is not all that hard to skim page captures from Chrome?s Cache, including bank pages or other secure sites that someone may have gone to. 

Add this on top of an OS that requires you to use the web to use any of your applications and you really do have something worthy of some tin foil.

So why are many sites heralding this like it is a great thing? Well I cannot tell you for certain, but looking at it historically it seems that the press has a love for anything that opposes Microsoft as such they tend to wax enthusiastic at every launch that could put a dent in MS. They tend to do this without looking into the details and often find themselves posting opposing articles about the same application/browser/OS a couple of weeks down the line.