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Top 13 Cybersecurity Threats for the Cloud

Top 13
Cybersecurity Threats for the Cloud

Top 13
Cybersecurity Threats for the Cloud

To implement a successful cloud strategy, consider these factors.

The transformation that cloud computing has brought about is undeniable, since it has generated changes in the way organizations use, store and share data, however, it has introduced a series of new threats and challenges to Cybersecurity. With so much information in the cloud, data becomes natural targets for cybercriminals and, contrary to what many might think, the primary responsibility for protecting corporate data in the cloud lies not with the service provider, but with the customer.

To identify the main threats and with the intention of providing updated information on the main security problems in the cloud, we have relied on the latest version of the report Treacherous 12 Top Threats to Cloud Computing Plus: Industry Insights from the Cloud Security Alliance ( CSA), which are listed below in order of criticality.

1. Data breaches

A data breach could be the primary target of a targeted attack or simply the result of human error, as well as application vulnerabilities or poor security practices. The risk of data breach is not unique to cloud computing, but it is consistently ranked as one of the top concerns for customers.

1. Data breaches

A data breach could be the primary target of a targeted attack or simply the result of human error, as well as application vulnerabilities or poor security practices. The risk of data breach is not unique to cloud computing, but it is consistently ranked as one of the top concerns for customers.

2. Inefficient identity, credential and access management.

Cybercriminals posing as legitimate users, operators, or developers can read, modify, and delete data. The result of poor identity or credential management could allow unauthorized access to data and information and potentially cause catastrophic damage to organizations, as well as end users.

2. Inefficient identity, credential and access management.

Cybercriminals posing as legitimate users, operators, or developers can read, modify, and delete data. The result of poor identity or credential management could allow unauthorized access to data and information and potentially cause catastrophic damage to organizations, as well as end users.

3. Insecure APIs

Cloud providers generally expose and develop a set of software user interfaces (UI) or APIs that customers use to manage and interact with cloud services. Provisioning, administration and monitoring are done with these interfaces, and the security and availability of general services in a Cloud environment also depend on the security of the APIs. For this reason interfaces must be built to protect against cyber threats.

3. Insecure APIs

Cloud providers generally expose and develop a set of software user interfaces (UI) or APIs that customers use to manage and interact with cloud services. Provisioning, administration and monitoring are done with these interfaces, and the security and availability of general services in a Cloud environment also depend on the security of the APIs. For this reason interfaces must be built to protect against cyber threats.

4. Vulnerabilities in the systems.

Vulnerabilities are exploitable errors, this means that an attacker can take advantage of the vulnerability of the unprotected application or programs, to infiltrate a system, steal data, take control or interrupt the operations of the service. Vulnerabilities within operating system components put the security of all services and data at substantial risk. In addition, we must not lose sight of the fact that even if we run a mature vulnerability management program, under the multicloud paradigm, the systems of several organizations can share resources, creating a new field of attack for cybercriminals (see threat 12 ).

4. Vulnerabilities in the systems.

Vulnerabilities are exploitable errors, this means that an attacker can take advantage of the vulnerability of the unprotected application or programs, to infiltrate a system, steal data, take control or interrupt the operations of the service. Vulnerabilities within operating system components put the security of all services and data at substantial risk. In addition, we must not lose sight of the fact that even if we run a mature vulnerability management program, under the multicloud paradigm, the systems of several organizations can share resources, creating a new field of attack for cybercriminals (see threat 12 ).

5. Account Hijacking

The hijacking (hijacking) of accounts or services is not new, in addition, a multicloud strategy could add new threats. If attackers manage to gain access to a user’s credentials, they could spy on activities and transactions, manipulate or falsify data, and redirect customers to illegitimate sites. Accounts or service instances can become a new target for cyber criminals. With the stolen credentials, attackers can often gain access to critical areas of cloud computing services, allowing them to compromise the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of services.

5. Account Hijacking

The hijacking (hijacking) of accounts or services is not new, in addition, a multicloud strategy could add new threats. If attackers manage to gain access to a user’s credentials, they could spy on activities and transactions, manipulate or falsify data, and redirect customers to illegitimate sites. Accounts or service instances can become a new target for cyber criminals. With the stolen credentials, attackers can often gain access to critical areas of cloud computing services, allowing them to compromise the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of services.

6. Internal Threat

The level of this threat is open to debate, in fact, it is very likely that many organizations do not consider it as such. For example, both a malicious employee, as well as a vendor managing the systems, can access potentially sensitive information, leading to increasing levels of access to other potentially more critical systems, and ultimately data. Ultimately, systems that rely solely on cloud service providers for security are most at risk.

6. Internal Threat

The level of this threat is open to debate, in fact, it is very likely that many organizations do not consider it as such. For example, both a malicious employee, as well as a vendor managing the systems, can access potentially sensitive information, leading to increasing levels of access to other potentially more critical systems, and ultimately data. Ultimately, systems that rely solely on cloud service providers for security are most at risk.

7. Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs).

APTs are a particular form of cyber attack that infiltrates systems, to establish itself, within the base line of operation in the IT infrastructure of companies, with the aim of stealing data. APTs pursue their objectives stealthily for long periods of time, often adapting to security measures designed to defend against them. Once in place, APTs can move laterally through data center networks and combine with normal network traffic to achieve their goals.

7. Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs).

APTs are a particular form of cyber attack that infiltrates systems, to establish itself, within the base line of operation in the IT infrastructure of companies, with the aim of stealing data. APTs pursue their objectives stealthily for long periods of time, often adapting to security measures designed to defend against them. Once in place, APTs can move laterally through data center networks and combine with normal network traffic to achieve their goals.

8. Loss of data.

Data stored in the cloud can be lost for various reasons. For example, an accidental deletion by the cloud provider, a physical catastrophe, fire or an earthquake can cause permanent data loss, unless the provider or customer takes appropriate measures to back up the data, following best practices in business continuity and disaster recovery.

8. Loss of data.

Data stored in the cloud can be lost for various reasons. For example, an accidental deletion by the cloud provider, a physical catastrophe, fire or an earthquake can cause permanent data loss, unless the provider or customer takes appropriate measures to back up the data, following best practices in business continuity and disaster recovery.

9. Insufficient context (Due Diligence).

When company executives create current business strategies, they tend to consider cloud technologies. Developing a good roadmap and checklist to assess and guarantee the various technologies and vendors is essential for success. Organizations that rush to adopt cloud technologies and choose providers without conducting due diligence expose themselves to a number of risks.

9. Insufficient context (Due Diligence).

When company executives create current business strategies, they tend to consider cloud technologies. Developing a good roadmap and checklist to assess and guarantee the various technologies and vendors is essential for success. Organizations that rush to adopt cloud technologies and choose providers without conducting due diligence expose themselves to a number of risks.

10. Abuse and misuse of cloud services.

Low security cloud service deployments, and in some cases free cloud service trials, expose organizations to cyberattacks. Cybercriminals can take advantage of cloud resources to target users, organizations, or other cloud providers. Examples of misuse of cloud-based resources include, but are not limited to, the launch of distributed denial of service attacks, spam, and phishing campaigns.

10. Abuse and misuse of cloud services.

Low security cloud service deployments, and in some cases free cloud service trials, expose organizations to cyberattacks. Cybercriminals can take advantage of cloud resources to target users, organizations, or other cloud providers. Examples of misuse of cloud-based resources include, but are not limited to, the launch of distributed denial of service attacks, spam, and phishing campaigns.

11. Denial of Service (DoS).

DoS attacks are designed to prevent users of a service from accessing their data or applications, by forcing the cloud service to consume excessive amounts of resources, such as processor power, memory, disk space or the bandwidth of the network, through this, attackers can cause a slowdown of the system and leave all legitimate users of the service without access to them.

11. Denial of Service (DoS).

DoS attacks are designed to prevent users of a service from accessing their data or applications, by forcing the cloud service to consume excessive amounts of resources, such as processor power, memory, disk space or the bandwidth of the network, through this, attackers can cause a slowdown of the system and leave all legitimate users of the service without access to them.

12. Shared vulnerabilities of technology.

Cloud providers offer their services in a scalable way by sharing infrastructure, platforms or applications. Cloud technology divides the offer “as a service” (As a Service), without substantially changing the hardware / software available, in some cases, at the expense of security. The underlying components that comprise the infrastructure that supports the deployment of cloud services may not have been designed to provide robust isolation properties in a multi-tenant architecture and environment. This can lead to shared technology vulnerabilities that can potentially be exploited across all delivery models.

12. Shared vulnerabilities of technology.

Cloud providers offer their services in a scalable way by sharing infrastructure, platforms or applications. Cloud technology divides the offer “as a service” (As a Service), without substantially changing the hardware / software available, in some cases, at the expense of security. The underlying components that comprise the infrastructure that supports the deployment of cloud services may not have been designed to provide robust isolation properties in a multi-tenant architecture and environment. This can lead to shared technology vulnerabilities that can potentially be exploited across all delivery models.

13. Hardware vulnerabilities.

In January 2018, researchers revealed a quirk in the design of most modern microprocessors that could allow content, including encrypted data, to be read from memory using malicious JavaScript code. The two variations of this problem, called Meltdown and Specter, affect all devices, from smartphones to servers.

Both Specter and Meltdown allow side channel attacks, because they break the isolation between applications. This is a big problem for cloud service providers, because one of the ways to make these attacks more difficult to flank is to keep patches up to date, which in turn consume more memory, among other things, by having to run complex actions in the system, degrading performance and causing some companies to choose to leave their systems unpatched.

As of yet, there are no known exploits that have taken advantage of Meltdown or Specter, but experts agree that it is a matter of time. The best advice for customers is to demand information on how their vendors address Meltdown and Specter issues and that cloud vendors ensure that all the latest patches are in place.

13. Hardware vulnerabilities.

In January 2018, researchers revealed a quirk in the design of most modern microprocessors that could allow content, including encrypted data, to be read from memory using malicious JavaScript code. The two variations of this problem, called Meltdown and Specter, affect all devices, from smartphones to servers.

Both Specter and Meltdown allow side channel attacks, because they break the isolation between applications. This is a big problem for cloud service providers, because one of the ways to make these attacks more difficult to flank is to keep patches up to date, which in turn consume more memory, among other things, by having to run complex actions in the system, degrading performance and causing some companies to choose to leave their systems unpatched.

As of yet, there are no known exploits that have taken advantage of Meltdown or Specter, but experts agree that it is a matter of time. The best advice for customers is to demand information on how their vendors address Meltdown and Specter issues and that cloud vendors ensure that all the latest patches are in place.

In short, having a Cloud and / or Multicloud strategy is key to avoid and detect possible threats that may impact the operational continuity of your company, where the role and participation of the CISO in strategic decisions is key.

In short, having a Cloud and / or Multicloud strategy is key to avoid and detect possible threats that may impact the operational continuity of your company, where the role and participation of the CISO in strategic decisions is key.

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