Cloud Security Alliance (CSA), puts the percentage of world businesses that in some way utilize the cloud, at around 75% and growing.
The cloud has a plethora of advantages, ranging from automated updates, lower fixed costs, enhanced collaboration, more flexibility and the ability to work offsite. So it makes sense that a lot of companies would want to use it.
However, despite the clouds many benefits, it’s not without its problems.
Recent reports put the figure at around 90%, for the percentage of companies that have serious concerns for the security of the public cloud. When we look at it further, we find that there are a number of things for them to be concerned about.
Cloud services have, without a doubt, brought forth a new era in the way we send and store our data, but despite that, there are still many companies that are worried about its implementation, due to its many security challenges.
Top 7 Cloud Security Threats You Should be Aware of
Below is a list of the 7 biggest security concerns for cloud-based services that everyone should have some understanding of.
1. Human Error
When it comes to cloud security, the human aspect tends to be the weakest link in the chain. It’s not out of the question for an employee to accidentally share sensitive information that you are trying to safeguard from hackers. The unfortunate reality is that this issue is further compounded by the increasing number of employees at the company.
In addition to strict policies that should protect the dissemination of data, companies should also invest in IT training, so that employees can more effectively utilize the cloud.
2. Account Hijacking
With the increasing demand and growth of the cloud, this has opened up a new set of problems in the area of account hijacking.
Hackers are now able to use yours or an employee’s login details to remotely access sensitive information via the cloud. Hackers can also manipulative and falsify data through the credentials they have hijacked.
Other methods that hackers might use to hijack an account include the use of scripts and reused passwords, which they can then use to steal sensitive data. In 2010, Amazon was hacked using a scripting virus, which targeted the credentials of their customers. Keylogging, phishing and buffer overflow also presents their own threats. However, one known attack method, which has been around for some time now, known as Man in Cloud attack, entails compromising user tokens, which is what these cloud platforms use when verifying devices during synchronization and updating.
3. Denial of Service Attacks
Hackers are able to push users out of a server, or inhibit user access by flooding a cloud service with something which may seem negligible, but will ultimately end up consuming a considerable amount of system resources. Such as disk space, network bandwidth and/or processing power.
A fully updated internet security tool should be able to detect such attacks, while a firewall program will be able to block these attacks before a server goes down.
4. Injection of Malware
Malware injections are basically embedded code or scripts that are put into cloud services that are verified and run as SaaS to cloud services. This essentially means that this malicious piece of code is injected into that cloud service, but is identified as a valid component of the service or software that is utilizing the cloud servers themselves.
As soon as the malicious code is run, the cloud will start to run in sync with it, allowing hackers to eavesdrop on sensitive data, compromising its security. Recent security reports list malware injections in cloud services, as one of, if not the biggest security concern for cloud computing in general.
5. Attacks from The Inside
There are still many companies and enterprises that are having difficulties acquiring the necessary visibility in their IT systems. This leaves them vulnerable to data security challenges, derived from both unauthorized and authorized users. Such attacks tend to be amongst the most detrimental since even the most sensitive data is easily accessible to the user.
It’s for this reason why its important organizations implement their own strict user policies. They also want to effectively administrate such policies, to ensure they are able to maintain and track user activities.
6. Data Loss
Data that exists on a cloud service can be compromised either through a natural disaster, a malicious attack or a data wipe, carried out by the service provider. For companies that lack a recovery plan, this can be devastating. Amazon is a good example of an organization that suffered the very same thing, permanent loss of data in 2011, resulting in the loss of a significant amount of its customers’ data.
Google also experienced the same thing, when they lost data due to power grid failure after it was struck by lightning, multiple times.
In order to secure your data, you need to constantly review your backup plan procedure, such as physical access, physical storage locations, and physical disasters.
7. Insecure APIs
Cloud services are continually providing access for APIs and third-party tools and applications, which allows for enhanced service delivery and collaboration. But these APIs are not without their faults, as many carry vulnerabilities that hackers are able to exploit in order to access sensitive data.
The solution is for CIOs to take the necessary time to review all third-party services, before agreements of collaborations are made.
Uchenna Ani-Okoye is a former IT Manager who now runs his own computer support website https://www.compuchenna.co.uk.