Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Single Point of Vulnerability

The article: BBC News - Facebook's bid to rule the web as it goes social

There's something going wrong with Web 2.0. It's becoming so consolidated into a few players, especially Google and Facebook, that eventually one hack attack will take down the entire Web just by taking out one company. This is known to hackers and security professionals as a single point of vulnerability.

I posted these earlier entries on Facebook's F8 conference and what's been coming out of it: "Hope You Like This" (on Posterous' new Facebook Like button) and "All Your Interwebz Are Belong To Us" (on, well, Facebook's ambition). My next one after this will be on the "giant monster battle" now going on between Google and Facebook, with Microsoft and Apple waiting in the wings.

Web 2.0 has had the effect of rapidly consolidating the Web into a few companies, perhaps soon to be one — whether Google or Facebook or some other player, we don't know yet. But this return to the bad old days of AOL is structural. Web 1.0 had the opposite effect: it was a decentralizing technology that, in its most developed form (Napster), began destroying an entire sector of the old media. Economically, consolidation into a monopoly is not a good thing. It ultimately leads to stifling stagnation, which is one big reason why I don't like corporatism (the other, of course, being that under corporatism, corporations gain police power and start oppressing the masses). In terms of security, one company in control of the entire Internet becomes the irresistible target, the single point of vulnerability, like the Death Star with its vulnerable exhaust port that every Rebel fighter just has to sink its torpedo into.

I hope Web 3.0, when it's finally implemented, reverses the current centralizing trend like Web 1.0, and thus reduces once again the temptation of one dominant player to seize power. Some are saying that Facebook is about to "jump the shark" like MySpace did. But MySpace did so by selling out to the clueless old media company News Corporation. Facebook looks like it's trying to replace the Web entirely, making itself the irresistible target for Chinese and Russian cyberwarriors and Facebook-hating anarcho-hackers.

It's like the old Chinese curse: we live in interesting times...

No comments:

Post a Comment