Cloud computing has tremendously impacted how businesses function in this technological age. It provides unmatched scalability, versatility, and cost-effectiveness. Businesses encounter additional security concerns as they use cloud technology more frequently and move crucial activities to cloud-based platforms. The swift adoption of cloud services has increased the attack surface for cybercriminals, placing enterprises at risk from various cloud security threats.
The top 15 Cloud Security Threats that impact cloud computing systems are the main topic of this article. We cover a variety of hazards, including data theft, vulnerable APIs, persistent advanced attacks, and damaging insider behavior. Effective countermeasures are needed for these dangers and must be addressed very away.
Table of Contents:
- What is Cloud Security?
- Top 15 Cloud Security Threats
- #1 Data Breaches
- #2 Inadequate Identity and Access Management
- #3 Insecure APIs
- #4 System Vulnerabilities
- #5 Account or Service Hijacking
- #6 Malicious Insider Threats
- #7 Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs)
- #8 Malware Injection
- #9 Data Loss
- #10 Insufficient Due Diligence
- #11 Poor IP Protection
- #12 Abuse of Cloud Services
- #13 DoS Attacks
- #14 Vulnerabilities Caused by Shared Technology
- #15 Communication with CSPs
- How PingSafe helps to solve Cloud Security Threats?
What is Cloud Security?
A key component of protecting digital information is cloud security. It all comes down to ensuring that data is secure when utilized and kept online. This is significant because it affects businesses that offer online services and the individuals or organizations that utilize them.
The service providers which are running programs or storing data make sure their products are always available online. This is done to ensure that everyone has access to what they need. These organizations adopt many security methods to keep people’s information safe in order to earn their trust.
However, security is not the responsibility of businesses alone. Both individuals and companies who are users of these cloud services are also responsible for maintaining security. To ensure the security of these services, everyone must cooperate.
Using the appropriate tools and following best practices are only a part of the various aspects of cloud security. It also includes security of hardware and software that help run services. Making sure that whatever the data users save on the cloud is also secure is another aspect. To achieve this, everyone involved must be aware of what has to be managed and protected.
Simply put, the businesses providing online services must ensure they are created safely. By choosing reputable providers and using the services safely, users of these services may make a difference. They must also ensure the safety of their own devices and internet connections.
Top 15 Cloud Security Threats
Here are the top 15 Cloud Security Threats your organization might face:
#1 Data Breaches
Cloud Security Threats to the various forms of data might originate from inside your organization, suppliers and consultants with access to your network, and people outside the company. They can access your data via your internal network, external email accounts, mobile devices, and the cloud if your company has data there. Traditional perimeter security is no longer sufficient to safeguard your data from these dangers.
Insiders are vulnerable to data protection failures. Unhappy employees may decide to leak confidential information. External parties can infect employee computers with malware and get user names and passwords by using phishing emails or malicious websites.
Email accounts and mobile devices can be misplaced, hacked, or compromised, and employees of your cloud services provider frequently have access to cloud data. When faced with such dangers, businesses must determine the repercussions of associated data breaches and develop solutions that lower their risks from cloud security threats.
#2 Inadequate Identity and Access Management
Organizations may be vulnerable to cyberattacks if IAM rules and solutions are not in place. According to recent data breach cases, some events result from inadequate user education to defend against phishing attacks and social engineering ploys by bad actors who continue to hunt for easy targets to steal passwords and access system accounts.
No company wants to make headlines for the wrong reasons, especially if millions of data were stolen due to a system security breach. Employing identity and access management controls and systems can assist organizations in fending off the growing cloud security threats of cyberattacks, costing them money and damaging their reputations.
These are the kinds of issues you will face:
- Data security issues and challenging audits: Data control challenges are unavoidable without a central identity management system. Applications created by system architects are typically highly secure. Project teams must also add these features to the recently developed systems because there is no centralized identity management system. Project budgets and timetables are frequently constrained while creating or implementing new applications, so the team concentrates on the functionality required to achieve their primary business objectives. In the race to finish tasks, security is sometimes “left until later” or pushed to the back of the line—the cloud security threats associated with maintaining and securely storing more sources of data increase.
- Too much information is accessible easily: Permitting employees to access large amounts of data and applications is the most significant and frequent cause of security problems. What causes this to occur? Problems will eventually occur if there are unclear job definitions, a lack of awareness of the roles necessary to do tasks in specific departments, incorrect identification classifications, or users with access to all application data.
#3 Insecure APIs
Application Programming Interface (API) security has taken on utmost importance due to the rising popularity of API usage. The most common reason for incidents and data breaches is improperly configured APIs, which must be examined for vulnerabilities due to incorrect configuration, bad coding techniques, a lack of authentication, and improper permission. These mistakes can expose the interfaces to malicious activity. It might enable resource exfiltration, deletion or alteration, or service outages.
Organizations are quickly implementing APIs nowadays in an effort to increase connection and agility. Enabling digital experiences for API developers and customers is one benefit of doing this. Cloud technologies act as a catalyst for swiftly and simply building or utilizing APIs, which streamline a digital ecosystem.
Depending on the usage and data linked to the API and how quickly the vulnerability is found and fixed, there are different levels of cloud security threats associated with unsecured interfaces and APIs. The accidental exposure of private or sensitive data left unsecured by the API is the business consequence that is most frequently reported.
Some ways in which Insecure API could cause cloud security threats are:
- The Abuse of Insufficient Authentication: Developers occasionally create APIs without authentication. As a result, anyone can access company systems and data through these interfaces because they are exposed to the internet. Imagine yourself exploring a neighborhood and knocking on doors until you locate one that isn’t locked.
- Making Money Off of More Individuals Using Open Source Software: Component-based software development has become the norm in IT. Many programmers include open-source software in their work to save time. This exposes numerous applications to supply chain intrusions. A developer could accidentally download components from open internet Docker hubs that contain cryptocurrency mining code.
#4 System Vulnerabilities
In addition to interfering with service operations, attackers can enter systems and gain control by exploiting system flaws or exploitable defects.
Installation of security patches or upgrades, regular vulnerability scanning, and monitoring of reported system threats are required in order to close security gaps and lessen the cloud security threats caused by system vulnerabilities.
#5 Account or Service Hijacking
Using attack strategies, including phishing, fraud, and the exploitation of software flaws, attackers can misuse account access, steal data, hurt cloud services and systems, and harm the company’s reputation.
Organizations should implement two-factor solid authentication methods and, whenever possible, forbid users from revealing their account credentials and reduce cloud security threats.
To mitigate cloud security threats of account or service hijacking in cloud environments, organizations should implement robust security measures:
- Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): You can enforce multi-factor authentication, which requires the user to provide additional verification than just passwords. This adds an extra layer of security and protects organizations against cloud security threats.
- Strong Password Policies: Implementing strong password policies encourages users to use a strong password and avoid password reuse.
- Continuous Monitoring: Real-time monitoring and anomaly detection are used to identify suspicious activity on accounts and unauthorized access attempts.
#6 Malicious Insider Threats
A company’s security may be severely impacted by the cloud security threats posed by insiders with lousy intent who may be system administrators with access to vital systems and confidential data. Effective policies, task separation, proper logging, auditing, and monitoring of administrators’ activities are all necessary for the CSP to guarantee this is under control.
Mitigating the cloud security threats caused by malicious insider threats in cloud environments requires a comprehensive security approach:
- Access Controls: Implement strong access controls and use the principle of least privilege. This restricts insider access to only the resources necessary for their roles.
- Monitoring and Anomaly Detection: Real-time monitoring and anomaly detection can help organizations identify suspicious activity that could indicate suspicious insider actions.
- Insider Threat Detection: Implement specialized tools and techniques such as behavioral analysis and monitoring user activity to detect insider threats.
#7 Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs)
Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) infiltrate the target company’s IT systems to steal data and intellectual property (IP). Spear-phishing, direct hacking techniques, and using unprotected or third-party networks are popular methods for APTs to access information.
APTs are challenging to identify and stop but can be reduced with preventative security measures.
Mitigating the cloud security threats of APTs in cloud environments requires a broad security approach:
- Threat Intelligence: Stay informed about the latest APT tactics, techniques, and procedures to anticipate and respond to attacks in a better way.
- Cybersecurity Training: Train and educate employees about the cloud security threats of spear-phishing and social engineering attacks. Emphasize on the importance of verifying email authenticity and reporting suspicious activities.
- Endpoint Protection: Deploying advanced endpoint protection solutions can help detect and block APTs attempting to infiltrate cloud devices.
#8 Malware Injection
The objective of this attack is to gain access to user data stored in the cloud. Hackers can transmit requests to infected modules and run malicious code by infecting Saas, Paas, or Iaas. The dangerous malware has two options: steal data or listen in on users. The most frequent malware injection attacks are cross-site scripting and SQL injection attacks.
To mitigate the cloud security threats of malware injection, organizations should implement several security measures:
- Use secure coding techniques to assure input validation and output encoding, prevent code injection vulnerabilities, and more. To avoid problems like code injection, use safe and secure coding practices. Ensure output encoding and input validation.
- Firewalls for web applications (WAF): Using WAFs to filter and reject malicious requests avoids different types of injection attacks.
- Ensure systems and applications are updated with the most recent security updates to tackle known threats.
#9 Data Loss
Data loss can occur for several reasons, such as accidental CSP deletion or natural catastrophes like fire or earthquake. To avoid this, providers and users must take data backup safeguards and follow best practices for disaster recovery and business continuity.
To mitigate the cloud security threats of data loss, organizations should implement several cybersecurity measures:
- Regular Data Backups: Regularly archiving crucial data and authenticating its ownership. This guarantees that data can be restored even during data loss.
- Use data encryption to reduce the cloud security threats of unauthorized access by safeguarding sensitive data during transmission and while it is at rest.
- Access Controls: By establishing access controls, you can restrict access to data to just authorized personnel.
#10 Insufficient Due Diligence
Organizations must conduct the necessary due diligence before implementing cloud technologies and choosing cloud providers and create a clear roadmap. Failing to do so may expose them to a number of security concerns.
To mitigate the cloud security threats of insufficient due diligence, organizations should implement the following cybersecurity practices:
- Comprehensive Risk Assessments: Conduct in-depth risk analyses to find potential weaknesses, cybersecurity holes, and dangers affecting the organization’s operations.
- Assessments of suppliers and Third Parties: Before forming business relationships, analyze the security procedures of suppliers and third-party service providers.
#11 Poor IP Protection
The highest levels of encryption and security are required to protect IP. Along with identifying and categorizing IP to determine potential security concerns, vulnerability analysis and the proper encryption must be done.
To mitigate the cloud security threats of poor IP protection, organizations should implement the following cybersecurity measures:
- Access Controls: Limit access to vulnerable IP addresses. Make sure that only individuals with permission can access confidential information.
- Encryption: To prevent unwanted access, encrypt intellectual property data during transmission and at rest.
#12 Abuse of Cloud Services
Insecure cloud service deployments, fraudulent account sign-ups, and free cloud service trials are just a few problems that might lead to malicious assaults. Some instances of cloud-based resource exploitation include large-scale automated click fraud, hosting of illegal or pirated content, conducting distributed denial-of-service attacks, phishing campaigns, and email spam.
To mitigate the cloud security threats of poor IP protection, organizations should implement the following cybersecurity measures:
- Access Controls: Limit access to sensitive IPs and ensure that only staff with the proper authorization can access confidential data.
- Encryption: Use encryption for data during both transmission and storage to safeguard intellectual property information from online cloud security threats and illegal access.
- Implement real-time monitoring and auditing of access to IP-related resources in order to spot shady activity or unwanted access attempts quickly.
#13 DoS Attacks
Attacks known as denial-of-service (DoS) restrict customers from accessing their data and apps by consuming abnormally huge quantities of system resources, such as memory, disk space, network bandwidth, and CPU power, by the cloud services that are being attacked.
To mitigate the cloud security threats of DoS attacks, organizations should implement various cybersecurity measures:
- Network Traffic Monitoring: Keep a close eye on network traffic for any indications of strange activity to help quickly identify any DoS assaults.
- Implement traffic filtering and bandwidth control strategies to stop malicious traffic and decrease the impact of volumetric attacks.
- Utilize load balancing strategies to equally divide incoming traffic among several servers, significantly lessening the effects of resource fatigue attacks.
#14 Vulnerabilities Caused by Shared Technology
CSPs provide scalable services by sharing platforms, infrastructure, and applications without significantly modifying commercially available hardware and software.
It could result in shared technology vulnerabilities if the underlying components, including CPU caches and GPUs, do not provide adequate isolation qualities for a multitenant architecture (IaaS), multi-customer applications (SaaS), or redeployable platforms (PaaS).
To mitigate the cloud security threats of vulnerabilities caused by shared technology, organizations, and cloud service providers should implement various cybersecurity measures:
- Security Evaluations: Conduct regular security evaluations and vulnerability scans of shared technology components to find and fix any potential flaws.
- Ensure that each tenant’s data and resources are sufficiently isolated from those of other tenants by enforcing strict isolation procedures.
- Engage in security audits conducted by a third party to evaluate the security status of cloud infrastructure and shared technology.
#15 Communication with CSPs
Customers must specify the precise security needs in the SLAs with CSPs or service level agreements. To understand CSPs’ security controls, they might consult the CSA Security, Trust, and Assurance Registry (CSA STAR).
CSPs must also outline how they maintain PCI and Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) compliance and safeguard multi-tenant borders.
To address the cyber security threats associated with communication with CSPs, organizations should implement the following measures:
- Encryption: To secure data during transmission between an organization’s infrastructure and CSPs, use robust encryption protocols (such as TLS/SSL).
- Implement robust authentication techniques, such as multi-factor authentication (MFA), to confirm the legitimacy of the organization and the CSP.
- Auditing on a regular basis: Assess the CSP’s security controls, data handling procedures, and compliance with industry standards through frequent security audits.
How PingSafe helps to solve Cloud Security Threats?
PingSafe is a full-featured cloud security technology that can assist you in securing your cloud in a number of ways, including:
- Cloud Misconfigurations: Misconfigurations are automatically fixed. Misconfigurations across resources, lateral movement pathways, and impact radius are visualized using graphs.
- Security flaws and best practices are highlighted through constant monitoring of the security posture of new and current cloud services.
- Building as a Code: Check IaC deployment and configuration against CIS benchmark, PCI-DSS, and other standards. To prevent merge and pull requests with hardcoded secrets, CI/CD integration support is available.
- Identify cloud resources/assets with known CVEs (Intelligence acquired from 10+ sources with thorough coverage) for vulnerability management. It offers an evaluation of Zero Day Vulnerabilities.
- Threat Watch: A dashboard for monitoring all of your environment’s zero-day vulnerabilities and associated problems.
- Agentless software bill of materials (SBOM) reporting and VM snapshot scanning for security flaws
- The offensive security engine simulates zero-day threats safely to provide more comprehensive security coverage. This enables enterprises to rely less on outside security analysts and bug bounty hunters.
- Private Repository Scanning for Secrets: Find and fix more than 700 distinct kinds of credentials in the private repository of your organization. It offers round-the-clock monitoring of each developer’s private repository to spot organizationally important data leaks.
While the cloud has many benefits for businesses, it also has some Cloud Security Threats and its issues. Traditional security technologies and methods are sometimes ineffective at adequately securing cloud-based infrastructure because it differs significantly from on-premises data centers.