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Could Microsoft Stage a Comeback Against Apple?

Stocks in this article: AAPL MSFT

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The thesis of this article is that Apple's (AAPL) recent cloud-security issues could pose an opening for Microsoft (MSFT).

I'm approaching the issue at hand from a regular consumer's standpoint. The average American today is increasingly signing up for a "total cloud experience" with at least one of the major ecosystems: Google (GOOG), Microsoft or Apple. There are also the three smaller computing ecosystems: Amazon (AMZN), Facebook (FB) and BlackBerry (BBRY).

In an increasingly typical case, a user of these major ecosystems is storing most of the following information in the respective cloud verticals provided by Google, Apple, Microsoft and others: email/SMS, address book, calendar, documents, telephone records, music/video multimedia and books.


If you consider the information contained in particular in the first four of those categories above, the stakes are high to keep these systems secure. During the last year, however, there have been a variety of security breaches that illustrate the weakness of some of these cloud security systems:

1. Mat Honan:

In this hack last August, a prominent Wired magazine journalist's -- Mat Honan -- life was taken over. The chief weaknesses in the systems to enable this came from Amazon and Apple, where Honan's iCloud account was hacked and caused the criminal to remotely wipe his Apple computers, and worse.

2. Apple's iCloud left the gate open:

More recently, on March 22, it was discovered that anyone could get into your iCloud account by just knowing your email address and your date of birth -- easily obtainable online by any hacker worth his or her salt. Within hours, Apple shut down its iCloud password reset system -- or at least so it thought.

Concerned Apple customers who went to iCloud to look into their accounts had the option to turn on so-called "two-factor authentication" -- which basically adds to cloud account password security by sending a separate code by SMS to your phone. However, Apple responded by saying it needed 72 hours to implement this security measure.

Well, for people who instructed iCloud to activate this security measure on March 22, it took a whopping 13 days for Apple to enable it. A hacker doesn't need much more than 13 seconds or 13 minutes to destroy someone's life.

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