Researchers Demonstrate Cloud Computing Power Can Be Stolen from Browsers

By Erin Harrison November 29, 2012

As Amazon and Google duke it out in the cloud infrastructure pricing wars, computer scientists from the North Carolina State University and the University of Oregon say it’s possible to conduct large-scale cloud computing tasks anonymously – for free – by abusing cloud-based browsers such as Amazon Silk, Cloud Browse, Opera Mini and Puffin, according to media reports.

William Enck, an assistant professor of computer science at N.C. State, and his five co-authors describe in the paper, “Abusing Cloud-Based Browsers for Fun and Profit,” is a technique they call a Browser MapReduce (BMR).

“MapReduce, developed by Google, is a way to handle the parallel processing of large data sets. Browser MapReduce involves the aggregation of free JavaScript processing offered by cloud-based browsers, in conjunction with a scheduling scheme to work around the computational limitations imposed by cloud-browser providers, to perform MapReduce jobs,” Information Week reported.

As the paper’s abstract explained, several cloud-based Web browsers have become commercially available in response to the surge of smartphones and mobile devices.

“These ‘cloud browsers’ assemble and render Web pages within the cloud, executing JavaScript code for the mobile client,” the abstract said.

The paper explores how the computational abilities of cloud browsers may be exploited through BME architecture for executing large, parallel tasks.

In related news, full adoption of cloud computing continues to be hindered by innovation and security concerns. A recent study by the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) and ISACA the Information Systems Audit and Control Association revealed organizations feel the lack of innovation and security issues will hamper full adoption if things don’t change, TechZone360 reported.

The study was conducted with 250 participants in almost 50 countries around the world with representatives from 15 industry segments including service providers, consultants, integrators and users.

The most glaring result validating the lack of innovation was revealed by 24 percent or almost one in four of survey respondents stating they don’t see any or limited levels of innovation. Regarding the maturity of cloud computing, nearly all the participants said it was far from that goal in fact stating some aspects of the technology was still in its infancy.




Edited by Rich Steeves

Executive Editor, Cloud Computing

SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Related Articles

Looking For The Next iPod/Echo

By: Rob Enderle    4/29/2016

The Amazon Echo, not the Apple Watch, became the last iPod-like product largely because of a far more accessible price point, a more compelling name, …

Read More

Apple Needs Reset, Not Elon Musk

By: Doug Mohney    4/29/2016

Apple's 13 percent sales decline and subsequent stock price drop this week has lead to the usual crazy talk about how to "fix" the company. Vivek Wadh…

Read More

Is the Apple Bubble Finally Bursting?

By: Andrew Bindelglass    4/28/2016

Over the past 13 years, Apple has been one of the most successful companies in the world of tech, posting sales growths in 51 straight quarters. That …

Read More

Shared-Space Providers (Airbnb) Poised to Beat Ride-Sharers (Uber)

By: Steve Anderson    4/28/2016

Travel may be starting to make a bit of a comeback, as a new report suggests that shared-space providers like Airbnb and WeWork are on the rise.

Read More

Facebook Wants More Sharing, Building New Camera App to Drive It

By: Steve Anderson    4/28/2016

One of the great downsides to having a lot of content in any one place is that, after a while, it starts looking downright pointless to add more.

Read More