Cloud computing instead of a local server or a personal computer involves a network of remote servers on the internet. Tools and applications like servers, databases, networking, and software are used for this purpose, which gives greater flexibility to consumers in terms of cost-effectiveness.
Cloud computing configurations provide computer-based resources and outsourcing mechanisms that enable different services for different users, such as application-based systems.
The 2019 Cloud Security Report highlights show that there have been many security issues in the past year. Around 400,000 respondents participated in the survey, which brought critical findings as follows:
The top cloud security concern of cybersecurity professionals is data loss and leakage (64%).
Unauthorized access through misuse of employee credentials and improper access controls (42%) takes the number one spot in this year’s survey as the single most significant perceived vulnerability to cloud security, tied with insecure interfaces and APIs (42%).
This is followed by a misconfiguration of the cloud platform (40%).
The top two operational security headaches SOC teams are struggling with are compliance (34%) and lack of visibility into cloud security (33%).
1. Security and unauthorized access
Employee negligence and unauthorized access through misuse of employee credentials are one of the greatest security threats in cloud computing. Modern employees might log in to cloud solutions from their mobile phones, home tablets, and home desktop PCs, making the system vulnerable to many external threats.
2. Lack of visibility in cloud applications
The lack of visibility drives public cloud security risk and can cause unauthorized access, improper handling, and replication of data leading to the removal of confidential data from infrastructure. It can affect the ability of the organization to verify the effectiveness of their security controls (because there is no visibility into tools and data of the cloud). Implement incident response plans (as they do not have complete control over cloud-based assets), and analyze data, services, and users to recognize unusual usage patterns that are inherent to security. It is one of the most crucial challenges that an organization needs to address.
3. Insecure interfaces and APIs
Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) help customers with customization of their cloud experience. However, API on its own can be a threat to cloud security. Not only do they provide companies with the ability to customize the features of their cloud services to suit business needs, they also offer data recognition, access, and effective encryption of data. APIs can serve different purposes for developers but can also leave many exploitable security risks leading to an infrastructure vulnerable to threats.
4. Security Compliance
Being compliant against different industry standards is a headache for the majority of cloud security professionals. Organizations need to follow compliances such as HIPAA for private health information, FERPA for confidential student registration, or one among several other governments and industry regulations. Under these mandates, companies need to know where their data is, who can access it, and how it is protected.
5. System Vulnerabilities
Cloud infrastructure is always prone to system vulnerabilities due to complex networks and multiple third-party platforms.
Once the hackers gain knowledge of the vulnerability — exposed by an integrated third party system – they can easily use that loophole to breach the infrastructure.
Thus cloud security issues are still haunting security professionals. Many of the above risks can be prevented using a dedicated data protection service. However, cloud data security solutions protect data against loss and cybersecurity threats and allow businesses to leverage the cloud without associated risks. It is also crucial to be aware of the security tactics that hackers use to be a step ahead of them. This overall improvement of the security posture and makes breaching cloud infrastructure tough for the hackers.
Below are some hacking tactics often used by hackers.
1. Distributed-Denial-of-Service Attacks
When cloud computing was gaining initial popularity, Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks were unimaginable. Cloud services have made it very difficult to initiate DDoS attacks. But with so many Internet devices such as smartphones and other computing systems, DDoS attacks have become more and more viable.
2. Malware Injection
Malware Injection is usually carried out using specific codes embedded in the cloud services that run as SaaS in cloud servers. Further, once this malware is injected or added into the cloud server, the cloud begins operating in tandem with it. Taking advantage of such vulnerabilities, attackers can eavesdrop or compromise the integrity of sensitive information, and steal data. Moreover, the malware injection attack has become a significant security concern in cloud systems.
3. Hijacking of Accounts
The growth of cloud computing has made hacking more rampant. Attackers can use employee login ID information to remotely access sensitive data stored in the cloud. In addition, attackers may falsify and manipulate data through hijacked credentials. Other methods of hijacking include scripting errors and reused passwords that allow attackers to steal credentials from right under your nose.
4. Phishing and Social Engineering Attacks
Due to the the open nature of cloud computing, it is vulnerable to phishing and social engineering attacks. Once login information or other confidential information is available, a malicious user can log into a system easily as the system is accessible from anywhere. Employees need to be aware of phishing and social engineering to avoid these types of attacks.