Cloud computing has been rapidly revolutionizing the ways businesses handle their data. It provides accessibility to employees and scalability to the entire organization. Furthermore, the market of cloud computing is even estimated to grow further.
According to an analysis report, the global cloud computing market is expected to reach USD 1,251.09 billion in 2028. It shows that companies are adapting to cloud computing because of its benefits.
Cloud computing can offer a lower cost, enhanced productivity, faster turnaround time, and even a storage site for businesses. However, despite the array of benefits, security is one of the biggest concerns when adapting to this technology.
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Although cloud computing companies insist on their highly encrypted and secure cloud computing software, the infrastructure can sometimes experience attacks. The complexity of cloud infrastructure benefits companies from the security solutions they need. However, some errors committed by users can still cause data exposure.
Cloud computing software is an excellent option for businesses if they want a scalable and versatile technology for their company. So, even though threats are common, the only way to prevent them is through proactive security.
Learning about cloud computing attacks can help organizations secure their cloud software. Staying alert at all times is the best way to combat attacks from hackers.
What Are the Common Cloud Computing Threats?
Vulnerabilities of Data
When data is stored in the cloud, anyone from a cloud service provider can access the content illegally. Although most cloud services providers insist that they do not have access to individual data, it is hard to trust them 100% of the time.
Furthermore, human errors can expose data on the cloud to possible threats.
Injection of Cloud Malware
The attacker will create a malicious application and inject it into the SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS. Once malware is injected into the cloud software, it will divert the cloud user’s requests to the hacker’s module, causing malicious code to be executed. Hence, hackers can now spy on the content, manipulate data, and steal information.
The two most common malware injections are SQL injection attacks and cross-site scripting attacks.
- SQL Injection: It targets the SQL servers in the cloud infrastructure. When there are vulnerable database applications, the attacker will exploit such and inject the malicious code. After, they can gain login credentials and unauthorized access.
- Cross-site Scripting: For hackers to gain access to the victim’s web browser, the cyber attacker injects malicious scripts into a susceptible web page. Then, the cyber attacker could take the session cookie used for authorization to gain access to the victim’s account or dupe the victim into clicking a malicious link.
Denial of Service Attacks (DoS)
A DoS attack overwhelms the system and server. Hence, it becomes unavailable to the user. The problem with DoS attacks is that it affects multiple users by flooding just a single cloud server. When the cloud system is loaded with work, it adds more virtual machines and services to supply the capacity needed, which can be damaging.
Soon the cloud infrastructure slows down, leading to the loss of ability to access the server on the user’s end. If hackers continue to deploy their attack or use more zombie machines, it can cause more harm.
Cloud computing infrastructure allows more than collaboration and accessibility. It’s where documents are stored too. Cloud misconfiguration can cost a lot of damage to companies. When it is detected by hackers, it can lead to a security breach.
Cloud misconfiguration means an error or gap in the user’s cloud infrastructure that exposes their data. It is one of the most common cloud security threats.
Lack of access restriction can be a source of misconfiguration. If companies give anyone access to the cloud, it will lead to unauthorized access. Attackers can easily steal information in the cloud or manipulate them.
Cloud API is a software interface intended to link cloud computing services together. It lets one program share its data and function with another program. It is vital, as companies need to work using multiple software, and sharing data is crucial in the process.
However, if APIs are left unsecured, they can be a source of vulnerability for attackers to exploit. There are various ways attackers can use this insecurity.
They can use the inadequate authentication property of an API. Since it is freely open and easily accessible online, attackers can access whatever data in the cloud infrastructure.
Sometimes attackers use the backend of an API, which developers often miss. Without proper authorization control, hackers can manipulate it.
Uncontrollable Actions of End-Users
When companies lose control of their employees’ access to the cloud infrastructure, it can lead to insider threats and breaches.
It would be easy for insider threats to steal the data or information they need since they have access to, to begin with. There is no need to deploy DDoS attacks, breakthrough firewalls, or gain access in any way. In fact, it would be easier on the attacker’s part.
Sometimes it is hard to deal with the actions of your employees. Controlling the actions of end-users is quite complicated as it is difficult to blame employees for data loss or negligence. But it is required to set rules to monitor, investigate, and check on your employees.
MitC hackers intercept and alter cloud services by exploiting weaknesses in the synchronization token system. It replaces the token with a new one that gives the attackers access for the next synchronization with the cloud. Because an attacker can revert to the previous synchronization tokens at any point, users may never realize their accounts have been hacked.
Improper Access Management
Controlled access ensures that individuals can only manage the information or task they need. Admin can give authorization to who can control what. However, nowadays, most employees have access to everything inside a company.
The distribution of access can be a challenge and risk for a business. If an employee accidentally gives away login credentials, it can harm an organization.
Cloud computing attacks will continue to grow as businesses move most of their activities and data to the cloud. The digital transformation we are experiencing is beneficial for plenty of industries. This technological advancement can bring plenty of benefits and success to a business. However, that does go with online threats and attacks.
As the prevalence of attacks occurs, businesses can only fight back by being prepared. Being proactive in your approach to your data cloud storage and infrastructure is the best way to lessen the impact of an attack.
Here are tips you can follow to keep your cloud computing solutions safe from threats mentioned earlier and others.
How to Prevent Cloud Computing Attacks?
- Use security tools to check your cloud infrastructures configurations. It’ll identify the configuration security and vulnerabilities in the system. It’s easy to check the configuration of your cloud storage in the beginning. However, you can overlook it when doing other activities, so automated tools are needed.
- Backup files, documents, and data regularly to prevent loss or interruption in business operation. You can perform a manual backup or schedule it automatically. Have an online and offline backup.
- Use Data Loss Prevention (DLP) software to determine and prevent unauthorized transfer or deletion of valuable information.
- Cloud infrastructure developers must create secure APIs for their clients. However, it is difficult to implement such if the API is a public application. So, the use of templates and special scripts can secure access.
- Monitoring, revoking, and limiting access to cloud infrastructure should be implemented by businesses. Using a central directory control can help in doing such. Organizations should ensure that every log-in activity is monitored to detect unauthorized access to the system.
- Educate employees about cybersecurity, cloud computing practices, and more. Teaching employees on safety practices will enhance security in the cloud and the entire organization. They can easily spot a phishing email, see if suspicious activity is present, and more.
- As much as possible, limiting access to cloud computing solutions can prevent the chance of data leakage or insider threats. Furthermore, an employee background check is required to ensure that company data will be in safe hands.
- Encrypt data at all stages of transfer and storage. Encrypting data is a defense against account hijacking or MitC attacks.
- Use strong passwords and activate two-factor authentication.
- Install security software to prevent threats and phishing emails that can trick employees into accidentally giving away login credentials.
Companies using cloud computing services must implement practices to protect their data. They should apply security policies, install protection software, and hire professionals to keep cloud infrastructure in check.
Cloud computing technology transforms the way businesses approach their work. It has brought unlimited opportunities and filled the gap that once companies encountered. However, there is always the need to keep it secure to prevent unwanted attacks from malicious actors.
Remember that preventive security is always better.