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Top Cloud Cyber Threats: How Do We Deal With Them?

IT infrastructure security is a topic that is becoming more critical every day. Businesses can be attacked for a variety of reasons: external threats, unscrupulous competitors or other interested parties, amateur hackers. We have already seen what sad consequences this can lead to. Therefore, it is important for businesses to be aware of possible threats to their IT systems and take a consistent approach to organizing digital security. 

Cloud computing infrastructure includes many components on multiple layers – physical servers, networks, virtualization systems, storage, databases, applications, etc. To make its infrastructure fully secure, a company needs to ensure that every component is protected. 

Servers

Although the foundation of cloud infrastructure is virtualization, the security of physical servers is very important. It’s not just a matter of putting them in a well-protected location. You also need to ensure that incoming and outgoing connections are controlled and that servers are only connected to specific IP address ranges.  

Colobridge specialists also emphasize that data exchange should take place over encrypted and well-secured channels (e.g. VPN) to avoid potential man-in-the-middle attacks. Vulnerable protocols such as Telnet, FTP, HTTP should not be used. They can be replaced by their secure counterparts – SSH, SFTP (Secure FTP), HTTPS.

In addition, it is recommended to use two-factor authentication.

Network

To prevent your network from becoming a vulnerability in your cloud infrastructure, it is recommended that you follow a few tried-and-true rules.

  • Configure access control lists (ACLs) for VPNs. 
  • Use additional security solutions, such as firewall-as-a-Service (FWaaS) and web application firewall (WAF), to quickly and proactively detect and block malicious traffic. 
  • If possible, deploy Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) tools to detect vulnerable configurations.

Hypervisor 

Hypervisor compromise (hyperjacking) allows an attacker to access all hosts and virtual machines in a company. Computers running hypervisors should be well isolated from shared networks. 

Access to the hypervisor should be carefully controlled, minimizing privileges for all users who are not administrators. Particular attention should be paid to the machines running VM Monitor and virtualization management software such as VMware vSphere. The environments for deploying and testing the new hypervisor must also be made secure.

Storage

In cloud systems, storage is virtualized storage pools. They are subject to these protection rules. 

– Make a clear list of devices or applications that need access to cloud storage.

 – Deny access to storage to internal users who do not need it.

– Delete unused data to reduce the attack surface, as well as to ensure compliance with GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) obligations to customers. We have written about this regulation in detail a few times on our blog.

Use Data Leak Prevention (DLP) tools to be able to quickly identify and block suspicious outbound data streams and prevent compromise of information – both malicious and accidental.

Common Threats

In addition to component vulnerabilities, cloud infrastructure for business can be exposed to threats that remain common across the digital space.

Cryptojacking

Cryptojacking is a fairly new form of cyberattack. Attackers can access cloud systems and use their processing power to mine them. Cryptojacking is difficult to detect. When hackers use the resources of your cloud system, services may slow down, and it seems to be due to a bad Internet connection or a lack of necessary updates. The real cause of the problem becomes clear later.

Data Leaks

Perhaps the most common threat to cloud computing is data leakage. Cybercriminals can gain unauthorized access to the cloud network or use programs to view, copy and transmit data to third parties. Loss of information can lead to GDPR violations and large fines for businesses, as well as reputational damage and loss of customer trust.

Denial of Service

One of the most devastating attacks for businesses is a DDOS attack, which can make a company’s services unavailable to customers for a long time. Cybercriminals “clog” the system with a very large amount of traffic that the servers are unable to handle. The system either goes into denial, or useful traffic simply can’t “reach” the server via overloaded channels.

Account hacking

Perhaps the biggest threat to businesses is the problem of account hacking. Attackers can use methods such as bruteforce and phishing emails to gain access to key company accounts.

Risky applications 

Sometimes your own IT system may be safe, but the immediate threat is posed by external applications that are actively used by employees. Employees should be careful when installing the software they need for their work. In turn, IT professionals need to make sure that the software they use is regularly updated and that all necessary patches are installed on work computers.  

Conclusion

The security challenges of using cloud infrastructure are complex, but not insurmountable. To cope with them, companies should establish a unified security strategy, and build processes to protect all components of the system, including incident response. It is important to choose a reliable cloud provider, then several layers of security, such as network, server, and hypervisor protection will be its area of responsibility, and the IT team will be able to narrow the pool of its tasks and focus on the security of services and applications that the company uses in the cloud. When ordering or testing our services, Colobridge experts will advise you on security issues and point out important points that need attention when working with cloud infrastructure.

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