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4 Common Cloud Vulnerabilities that Lead to Data Breach

Guest Writer
18.02.2021
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API Security

Moving to the cloud is all about agility and speed. But this agility and flexibility frequently come at the expense of security, leaving organizations, customers, and their data at risk. Moreover, as more and more organizations adopt multi-cloud and hybrid cloud strategies, this is adding additional challenges and threat vectors to increasingly complex environments.

Here are 4 common cloud vulnerabilities which frequently lead to data breach:

Public Exposure

It’s the oldest mistake in the book: spinning-up a new cloud resource but leaving it publicly accessible and completely unsecured. Hackers nowadays routinely employ automated tools which scan target networks for any exposed assets, meaning that your unsecured public assets are virtually guaranteed to be discovered.

According to Gartner, by 2021, over 50% of enterprises will unknowingly and mistakenly have some IaaS storage devices, networks, applications or APIs directly exposed to the public internet, up from 25% in 2018.

Excessive Permissions

One of the major benefits of moving to the cloud is that it enables fast business operations. However, in the name of expediency, access credentials are frequently handed out in hasty and unnecessary manner, so that many users end up with excessive permissions for which they have no business need. The problem is that should any of those credentials fall into the wrong hands, attackers will have far-reaching access to sensitive data.

According to Gartner, by 2023, 75% of security failures will result from inadequate management of login credentials, identities and privileges, up from 50% in 2020.

Too Many Alerts

This may sound counterintuitive. After all, detection of suspicious activities is a good thing, right? Well, it depends. Are those alerts helping you detect malicious activities, or are they drowning you in noise?

According to study by IT security firm Bricata, the average SOC receives over 10,000 alerts each day. This is a massive figure, which no human (or team of humans) can realistically deal with. It means security managers must sift through a sea of excessive alerts and false positives to find the really important alerts which are indicative of actually malicious activity.

Insufficient Context

Everybody talks about ‘context’ but what does it actually mean? One of the key challenges in security is that looking at any single alert doesn’t actually tell you very much. Is that login in the middle of the night a hacker, or an admin working late? Is that first time API invocation an act of reconnaissance, or a DevOps engineer going about their business? Is that access to a sensitive storage bucket a new feature being released, or the last step in a data breach? Practically every user activity can be either legitimate or not, and looking at just that activity tells you almost nothing.

What you need, instead, is to be able to intelligently correlate events across multiple threat surfaces, application layers, and time span, to be able to connect event A to event B to event C – even if they are months apart – and see when you are under attack and to block it in time.

Summary

The cloud is not “more” or “less” secure; it’s different. This means you need defenses which are specifically adapted to the cloud, and to the unique threats you face there.

Although the list of vulnerabilities is almost endless, working to remediate these four common cloud vulnerabilities will help you a long way in making your cloud environment more secure.

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