Chris Gerva

Vulnerability vs. Exploitability: Why they’re different & why it matters

Vulnerability vs. Exploitability There is a lot of jargon when it comes to cloud security. While the thought of having a vulnerability in security system seems scary, having an easily exploitable security system is scarier. What’s the difference? How do…

Smart Pens And The Personal Cloud

Smart Pens And The Personal Cloud 

Imagine for a moment the following conversation. This conversation is one that has happened for years around water coolers. But now you have wonder if in fact there are ulterior motives to that accidental or apparently forgetting your phone in a conference room.Livescribe

Have you noticed recently that Bob leaves his phone everywhere a lot? As in yesterday I found it propped up in the conference room. The day before that it was sitting by the water cooler. Anyway if it were anyone else I wouldn’t care but Bob always seems to know what is going on. So it makes me nervous.” Disembodied voice number 1.

Bob does seem to always know what is going on.” Disembodied voice number 2.

The concept of personal cloud is intriguing. Your devices connected in a way that benefits what you need at any specific time. The reality of Bob’s personal cloud in this case is more a security issue then a sit around the table and talk about it issue. Is there a line where leaving your device isn’t’ simply being forgetful?

If you see a phone left in the room you do have to wonder. Which got me thinking about what else you have to worry about. Smart pens can record audio natively on the device. Some of the newer Smart pens actually uses the audio recording of the device it is connected to (iPad, iPhone, Android Tablet, Laptop) to record and store audio. Video pens record HD video – again right on the device. They aren’t bugs in the sense that it’s native recording with no transmission. It is a great boon and a new security risk. If you see Bob’s phone on the table, you have to wonder if Bob is actually still in the meeting, listening. After all he always seems to know what is going on.

Your personal or company provided device can quickly become a location based listening service. By location based it means wherever you are at the time the recording starts. The company or anyone who hijacks your phone can use it to listen to what you are talking about, virtually 100% of the time. Using the Smart pen or any other remote device you can easily see what is going on. You can even use your phone to transmit to your watch using some of the new Smart watch applications.

From a “need” perspective this ability to create an audio recording of a meeting this is great. With products such as LiveScribe and other devices there are even great supporting cloud services. You can quickly and easily record your meeting, add notes and publish it on the service. It takes less than 5 minutes to get everything settled and shared via the cloud services. I’ve found that people actually like having notes to review post meeting and having both the written and audio notes makes a significant impact.

Of course this new technology can create behavior problems. Is it wrong to smash a phone left in a conference room? Most likely that is overkill. You should however remove items left in the conference room and place them outside the room, just to be careful. Its always a good idea to reduce the number of leaks possible by as many portable devices left “by accident” in the conference room. PS, while you are removing devices make sure the video teleconference system isn’t on with the in the room monitor shut off.

This isn’t an article designed to scare people into running around conference rooms picking up pens and phones and then chucking them out the window. This article is about your personal security. It is also to begin the conversation about the personal cloud and eventually personal cloud space. At some point as personal clouds expand there has to be a personal cloud space limit. Where does your cloud end?

By Scott Andersen

Scott works as a software architect and has been involved in IT projects over the past 17 years. Before that, Scott was a public school teacher in Bloomington Indiana.

(Image Source: Wikipedia)


Established in 2009, CloudTweaks is recognized as one of the leading authorities in cloud connected technology information and services.

We embrace and instill thought leadership insights, relevant and timely news related stories, unbiased benchmark reporting as well as technology related infographics and comics.