June 5, 2014
Computer World cites a recent report published by the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security's Cyber Statecraft Initiative, warning of vulnerabilities to critical infrastructure should web-based cloud services be compromised:
As cloud systems become more embedded in business systems, the potential damage of cloud service failure is growing exponentially. We have already reached a point at which, the Atlantic Council think tank warns, a major cloud service failure could initiate a chain of highly damaging economic events."If that failure cascaded to a major logistics provider or company running critical infrastructure, it could magnify a catastrophic ripple running throughout the real economy in ways difficult to understand, model or predict beforehand," the Atlantic Council's report said. "Especially if this incident coincided with another, the interaction could cause a crash or collapse of much larger scope, duration and intensity than would seem possible -- similar to the series of events that struck the financial system in 2008."

This close coupling of cloud services with the non-virtual economy means it's only a matter of time until a serious incident takes place, they believe. "Internet failures could cascade directly to internet-connected banks, water systems, cars, medical devices, hydroelectric dams, transformers and power stations."

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