Anyone who has a lot of remuneration going over the internet will not be unaware of Cloud computing. Cloud in the Cloud Computing refers to the Internet. It facilitates user to access a device residing anywhere on the internet, for the purpose of sharing files, audios, videos, etc., accessing software and databases through SaaS (software as a service), updates can be released without any need of installing the software on the user’s device separately.
Cloud computing dramatically reduces the cost of installing and purchasing of new devices as all the devices are shared on the network. With its outstanding features like: helpful in cost reducing (no expenditure on external devices), device and location mobility (accessing devices from anywhere), virtual technology (sharing of servers and sources), multitenancy (enable sharing of resources through centralization) enhanced load capacity and so on, have made it popular among internet users.
Besides its popularity there is an unavoidable drawback of cloud technology and that is high exposure to security breaches.
Common security threats prevailing in cloud computing include data breaches, data loss, traffic hijacking, insecure APIs, Denial of service (DOS), Malware attack, cloud abuse, insufficient knowledge and sharing technology vulnerability.
Let us see how these threats can cause harm and how can to get rid of them or prevent them:
Threat #1 Data breach:
Keeping a backup of your data offline may reduce the risk of data loss, but will increase the risk of data exposure. A virtual machine can easily access your side channel timing information to derive the private cryptographic keys used by other virtual machines in the same network. The outstanding features of multitenancy. If not architectured properly may allow an attacker to reach to the users’ data.
- Select a proper and reliable Cloud provider.
- Install proper encryption system to ensure the data security.
Threat 2# Cloud abuse:
One of the cloud’s functionality called “Infrastructure as a Service “(IaaS in short) which offers Virtualization of devices, storage and network does not have a secured registration process. It means that anyone having a proper credit card can sign up for cloud and can instantly start using the cloud. Due to this any cloud network could become a victim of malicious attack, spam mails and other such criminals.
- Authorized registration and validation processes
- Prevention of frauds by monitoring credit card processes
- Absolute examination of network traffic
- Keeping an eye on blacklisted stuff for one’s network
Threat #3 Insecure API:
Application User Interface, software and other interfaces are shared among the users of a particular cloud. Security in sharing such resources is merely dependent on the security policies used by respective API and software. APIs and software which are going to be shared upon the cloud, should have tight security in every aspects it authentication or encryption in order to avoid any malicious attacks.
- Inspect thoroughly the security standards of the cloud provider
- Make sure that strict authentication along with encrypted transmission are populated.
Threat #4 Malware attack:
Due to less visibility and more exposure a cloud network is definitely prone to Malware attacks. Many times it happens so that the cloud provider may not provide the details like how they grant access to software and other functionality, how they track a user and how they addition their policies. This loophole gives an outstanding opportunity for attackers to inject the malicious software, viruses, etc.
- Plan in force authorized supply chain management
- Include human resource requirements also in legal contracts
- Need absolute visibility in security mechanism and compliance
Threat #5 Issues due to shared technology:
Cloud with its IaaS functionality provides high-end scalability by allowing user to access shared devices. A hypervisor allows a guest operating system to connect to other physical resources. These places the cloud at risk as the guest operating system gains access even to the unnecessary levels which influences other systems on the network.
- Achieve best security measures for the purpose of installation/configuration.
- Auditing of non-authorized changes and activities
- Boost up the need of strengthened authorization processes for administrative and other operations.
- Promote service level agreements for installing vulnerability assessments
- Scanning for vulnerabilities from time to time
Threat #6 Loss of Data:
Compromising of important data caused due to deletion, alteration, unlinking a record and storing of data on unreliable medium, is another serious threat. It leads to loss of important data, reputation (for businesses), trust of customers and sometimes even the customers. Sometimes the loss of data may cause severe legal and policy compliance issues.
- Enforce powerful API security
- Secure data with SSL encryption
- Check for the integrity of the data running time duration as well as designing time duration.
- Explore the backup and collection plans of the provider
Threat #7 Account/Service Hacking:
Attacks like phishing, fraud and software exploitation are different types of account/service hacking. Generally such activity is carried out by stealing credentials (gaining access to one’s account illegally). Account hacking can cause a severe destruction to your integrity and reputation.
An attacker can leak your data, use it for falsified intentions, redirect you to harmful sites and injects harmful sources into your systems.
- Restrict the sharing of credentials between users.
- Populate use of strong two-way authentication
- Track employees for detecting unauthorized activity
Threat #8 Risk Unknown Profile:
One of the best features/functionality of Cloud is that it reduces the challenges and the costs spared on the installation of software. Although it may seem very helpful and extraordinary; it includes a few security risks beneath itself. Avoiding details like security mechanisms and policy compliance is likely to put you at risk. Along with the details like versions of software being used and code updates, points like security policies, vulnerability assessments and security infrastructure should also be considered.
Exposure of log details and data, kind of people who will be people sharing your infrastructure, network intrusion logs, redirection strategies and other log information should be overlooked before relying on the vendor.
- Non-exposure of data and logs
- Non-revealing the details of infrastructure
- Alerting on important issues