That was an AWESOME article, wasn't it? The thing I liked about it the most was that it addressed IT security in the "Cloud" from an angle not many people are considering - how its distributed nature can be harnessed to perform evil tasks in a more efficient manner. In this case, the elastic and "grid-like" nature of Amazon's EC2 environment could be used to conduct brute force attacks on PGP passwords associated with ZIP files.
While the nerdier side of me wants to commend the folks at Electrical Alchemy for their TOTALLY BITCHIN' experiment (huzzah!), the more rational side of me says what they have done has brought to light an entire world of possibilities we have yet to consider as "Cloud Computing" begins to take shape. While we are so obsessed right now with worrying about keeping our data safe in a computing model that may not allow us total control over the environment, we quickly forget that there are others who don't give a fig about that data and simply want to use the collective processing capabilities of a shared platform has to offer and use it for things we'd rather they not - breaking encryption algorithms; executing complicated mathematical formulas that were formerly reserved for supercomputers (think nuclear yield calculations); and other nefarious things the "bad guys" generally kick around.
How will we protect against this kind of exploitation of the "Cloud"? Will we screen potential "Public Cloud" consumers against a "Do Not Compute" list a la TSA at the airport? Or will we subscribe to a mind bending "Patriot Act" type of mentality that throttles the consumer's resource and modeling requests in the "Cloud" according to our suspicion of them being on some vaguely defined "Terrorist List"? What if the "Cloud's" logical boundaries flow into resources physically located in Canada or China? Do they have to subscribe to our same "Terrorist List"?
The lines on all of this are fuzzy at best, and though Electronic Alchemy's experiment was a first baby step, things are bound to spiral out from here as more and more bad guys sign up for their chunk of computing clouds with their credit cards (that are probably stolen to begin with).
Viva the New Frontier!