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Cloud Computing and the Increased Threat of Attack Vectors

Introduction

The year 2020: the global Pandemic took over the world and crippled health, social life, emotional life, education, travel and every other sector. The worst-hit of all was small and medium business and economy. However, slowly and steadily, life caught on a new pace, and we embraced the new normal of the virtual world. Thanks to cloud computing, the caped crusader who kept the business, education and economy buoyant. But as they say for every superhero, with great power comes great responsibility. Cloud computing, too, is no exception to this rule. However, increased cloud adoption has made it more prone to attack vectors, let’s see how.

 

What Makes Cloud Computing Vulnerable to Attack Vectors

Cloud computing has become ubiquitous since the Pandemic. According to reports, 20% of the large enterprises invest over 12 million USD annually, a hike of 7% from 2019. In addition, optimising the current cloud usage is the top priority with 73% of enterprises, followed by cloud migration (61%) and container expansion (51%). 

 

This widespread expansion leads to maximum exposure to threats. Some of the most significant vulnerabilities include:

  • Data Threats

Your sensitive business or personal data saved in the cloud is liable to loss, breach or damage. The reason primarily is human action and application vulnerabilities. However, cloud service providers employ modern encryption algorithms to safeguard data in transit.

  • API Vulnerabilities

Users access cloud services through APIs or Application Programming Interfaces. Therefore, interface vulnerabilities can pose a potential security threat.

  • Shared Technology Threats

Cloud services operate through shared technologies like virtualisation and cloud orchestration. By exploiting the vulnerabilities of any of these technologies, attackers can harm the user. In addition, hackers can gain control of the system through hypervisors.

  • Weak Encryption

Cloud services use cryptographic algorithms for data safety. They usually use limited sources of entropy to generate random numbers for data encryption which can be vulnerable to attacks.

  • Insider Threats

Legitimate cloud users can sometimes act maliciously to arrange attacks and leak data in cloud environments. Cloud developers can control this threat by devising Identity and Access Management (IAM) technologies.

Major Attack Vectors for Cloud Computing

An attack vector is a way to get unauthorised access to launch a cyber attack. Common attack vectors include misconfigurations, compromised credentials, exposed services, etc. Let us take a closer look at the possible threat vectors of cloud computing.

 

  • Cloud Malware Injection

The hackers inject an infected service implementation module to a PaaS or SaaS solution or a virtual machine instance to an IaaS solution. If the malware succeeds in deceiving the cloud system, it will revert the user’s requests to the hacker’s module or instance, thus initiating the malicious code. The hacker can now access, steal or eavesdrop on the user’s sensitive data.

 

  • API and Storage Bucket Misconfiguration

As discussed above, cloud service APIs allow users to access cloud services. Therefore, a slight misconfiguration in APIs can pose a severe attack threat to the entire cloud environment.

 

Storage buckets are used by many web applications to host content. Storage buckets are used for large data sets like transaction information for e-commerce websites or internal file hosts to save sensitive data like API keys. Usually cloud service providers have highly protected storage buckets as insecure storage buckets can make the system prone to data leaks. Inappropriately configured bucket policies can be a possible threat to cloud services.

 

  • Credential Leakage and Over Permissive Access 

Over-permissive access policies can make your system vulnerable to security threats. Likewise, compromised credentials can make your system liable to data breaches.

 

  • Distributed Denial of Service

This attack primarily targets high-value items on the servers like credit card details, payment gateways, financial bodies’ portals, etc. DOS is a coordinated attack designed to overburden the system and make it unavailable to the user. Thus, the system, in its bid to prevent the attack, makes it more harmful.

 

The computer turns into a bot receiving commands from the attacker. DDOS attacks can get worse when hackers create botnets, an army of zombie machines or bots to attack the server.

 

  • Side-Channel Attacks

These attacks are launched through virtual machines targeting other virtual machines. One VM manages to acquire all sensitive information from the target VM.

 

How to Make Cloud Computing More Secure

It is the responsibility of the CSPs to make their system more protected. They should be ready with an IT plan to combat any of these probable security breaches. Predicting the probable threat vectors is enough to launch a countermeasure to control these threats in time. The cloud service providers must come up with

  • Multiple layers of protection
  • Highly sophisticated data encryption technologies
  • Build a strong attack/ threat detection and monitoring system and keep it updated
  • Create an efficient response strategy

 

Conclusion

Though cloud service providers must develop highly secure and encrypted systems, users should also choose wisely while purchasing services. At 365Solutions, we help you choose the best-secured cloud services to fit your business needs. Visit our website for detailed information on our services and products. 365Solutions is the most trusted cloud solution provider in the UK and Europe offering managed cloud services at reasonable pricing. Contact us at +44 20 3880 1220 or sales@365solutions.com.

 

Also Read

A Comprehensive Guide to Privacy in Cloud Computing

7 questions to ask when selecting a cloud solution provider

 

 

References

https://www.apriorit.com/dev-blog/523-cloud-computing-cyber-attacks

https://cio.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/cloud-computing/emerging-threat-vectors-due-to-increased-cloud-adoption/85446239

 

radhika

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