Cloud computing’s success had a lot to do with the convenience it affords users. Then again, comfort can come at a price. And because the cloud remains accessible to anyone at any time, it is a lucrative target for any enterprising cybercriminal or threat actor.
This post takes a look at the top 5 cloud computing security risks that cloud service providers and users may face.
Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) Attacks
With the ever-increasing number of Internet of Things (IoT) devices globally, bad guys can easily craft a piece of malware to compromise and gain control of them to make them part of a botnet. The Mirai botnet was just like that, and it was used to knock several high-profile websites off the Internet for a time. Cybercriminals can launch DDoS attacks on any target, and cloud services would likely prove good ones because of the effect disrupting their operations would have on thousands of users.
Vulnerability Exploitation and Unsecured App Abuse
Like any other technology, cloud computing has its fair share of vulnerabilities such as CVE-2019-5736 that could give attackers administrative privileges to or full control of a host. If these remain unpatched, they could be exploited by attackers and serve as entry points to infiltrate target networks.
Many users employ various apps to access and use the data stored in the cloud. Often, this data includes confidential information that is only meant for authorized users’ eyes. Then again, not all companies allow only vetted apps for employees’ use. That can lead to leakage should attackers find a way to compromise an app as a means to get to cloud-stored corporate data.
One of the most critical security issues in cloud computing is the loss of confidential and sensitive information due to data breaches. Attackers typically gain unauthorized access to their target network via phishing emails. These days, though, they’ve taken to targeting cloud service providers to inflict as much damage to multiple organizations at once. Successfully infiltrating the defenses of a provider allows threat actors access to all of the databases of its customers.
Most cloud service platforms have multiple tenants or users. And when the separation controls between tenants fail due to vulnerabilities in hardware, attackers can gain a foothold in one company and potentially move on to others within the same platform.
In rare instances, confidential data gets lost due to accidental deletions by cloud service providers. That is a likely scenario for tenants who do not know that their data is stored in a public cloud (one that anyone can freely access).
Cryptocurrency mining requires substantial computing resources and can result in high electric consumption costs. Mining machines are also expensive. To unscrupulous individuals, hacking into and using the resources of cloud service providers seems a plausible alternative. So they sometimes install malware on cloud service providers’ assets that allow them to use their resources to mine cryptocurrencies.
Supply Chain Compromise
Cloud service providers outsource some of their infrastructure, maintenance, and other needs to third-party vendors. Not all companies in the supply chain may be sufficiently protected from threats. So, if you’re looking for a cloud service provider, choose one that has strict supply chain policies and compliance requirements. That can also ensure your security against threats.
You may be wondering now if cloud computing is secure. As this article showed, the technology presents many benefits but enjoying them comes with responsibilities. No technology is ever totally secure. But so long as users are aware of the security risks in cloud computing, they can definitely reap the good things that it brings.