12 security risks of cloud computing (Part 2)

Should enterprises put their applications and data in cloud computing? And if they do, what security risks they have to face?

7. Parasitic APT

APT (advanced persistent threat) attack is a form of continuous, high-grade and unidentifiable attacks. APT infects the attacked system and creates a foothold, then surreptitiously smuggles data out in a certain time.

Basically, APT pretends and blends itself with in usual data on the system, so it is very difficult to be detected. Cloud service providers also offer advanced techniques to prevent APT from infecting cloud services, but customers often do not have expertise to identify APT on their cloud accounts or in pre-installed systems.

A common, basic method APTs use is through phishing, direct attacks, malicious USB storage and infected third-party network. Specifically, users need to be trained identify phishing techniques and avoid more easily.


8. Temporary data loss

Cloud computing has matured sufficiently. Temporary data loss due to the fault of the supplier is really rare, according to reports. But professional hackers can fully know just certain data loss within a certain time is enough to cause huge damage to the business. And cloud computing centers always have to face objective, unwanted troubles such as natural disasters, fires, explosions...

Service providers suggest dispersing data and applications to increase data security. Backup measures are also necessary and appropriate to make customers' operations run smoothly and easily recover if something goes wrong. Backing-up data and storing off-site (store elsewhere) frequently are very important for cloud computing environments.

Data loss is not just the responsibility of providers but also customers. If customers encrypt data before uploading on cloud, they must carefully store encryption keys. If the encryption key is lost, the data will disappear as well.


9. Lack of skills

Enterprises applying cloud computing without being aware of all risks can face countless other unexpected commercial, financial, technical, legal factors... because they are always working with other partners on the cloud platform.

Operating and architecture problems will increase if the development team of a company does not have enough knowledge about cloud technology, such as an application deployed on a specific cloud system. Businesses need to improve the knowledge to fully understand the risks if registering a certain cloud service.


10. Taking advantage of cloud services

The cloud can be used for malicious purposes, such using computing resources to crack code or to launch a specific attack, typical examples are DDoS attack (Distributed Denial of Service), sending spam and phishing e-mail containing malicious content.

Providers need to identify these abused factors, such as searching data stream in order to identify DDoS attacks, providing tools for customers to monitor their computing environment status. Users should need to make sure providers have reporting mechanism if abuse is detected. Although customers might not be direct victims, taking advantage of cloud computing may cause data loss or system stoppages.


11. DoS attack

DoS (Denial of Service) has been existing for a long time, but because of the development of cloud computing, this kind attack is getting more and more powerful due to the availability and sources of cloud computing. When attacked, the system becomes terribly slow, even stops working in many cases.

DoS attacks require a lot of system resources, power and businesses are the ones paying everything. While large DDoS attacks are frequent, businesses should be careful with application-level DoS attacks, which mean web servers and vulnerabilities in the database are main objects.


12. Sharing technology, sharing dangers

Technology vulnerabilities are a growing threat to cloud computing. Service providers are sharing architecture, platform and applications together. And a single vulnerability will affect the entire large system. Even just a little wrong configuration also affects the whole system.

If a certain network component is controlled by attackers, shared platform and many components will also be unveiled. There should be an in-depth defense strategy, including multi-factor authentication for all devices, all systems on the network to identify intrusion, grant minimum access, partition network and continuously update patch for shared resources.

By: Daniel Carpenter

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