What Are the Security Risks of Cloud Computing?

Security Risks of Cloud Computing

The first step in adopting the cloud is to understand the risks involved. 

Organisations often overlook the risks of the cloud when moving to this new platform, but there are a few critical issues that companies should be aware of. 

There are different security risks of cloud computing which include the risk of data loss, account hijacking, Spectre and Meltdown attacks, and the risk of natural disasters. 

Moreover, cloud providers may need help to provide adequate security, which is a significant concern.

This blog will discuss with you the critical issues in reference with cloud security.

Keep reading the blog!

Data loss

One of the most significant risks of cloud computing is data loss. 

This can be caused by human error, natural disasters, and malicious attacks. Data loss is particularly problematic when organizations store business-critical information in the cloud. 

Cybercriminals can easily access the data if the cloud provider suffers a breach. Additionally, some services’ terms of service may make data uploaded to them vulnerable to theft or loss.

The interconnected nature of cloud systems also makes security a considerable concern. Malicious actors often breach networks through compromised or weak credentials.

 Moreover, hackers can use poorly protected cloud interfaces to find sensitive data and export it to their own servers. 

As a result, cloud providers must implement additional security measures to protect their users’ data.

Cybercriminals have also become more sophisticated in their attack methods. While a successful Denial of Service (DoS) attack can disrupt business operations, a targeted cyberattack with a ransom demand can result in substantial damage. 

These threats are among the most common challenges facing cloud environments, and these threats are only likely to increase as companies use the technology more frequently.

Another common cloud security concern is account hijacking. 

As organizations use cloud applications and infrastructure to access sensitive information, hackers can quickly get hold of customer or employee credentials, allowing them to access sensitive information. 

Sometimes, this can result in complete control of an online account. This is especially concerning for organizations using cloud-based email and document-sharing services.

Cloud data is most vulnerable when it is in transit from one storage location to another and when it is transmitted to an on-site application. 

For this reason, end-to-end encryption is essential for cloud data security. End-to-end encryption is the most secure method of securing data.

Account Hijacking

One of the biggest threats to cloud computing is account hijacking.

 This attack can result in the complete deletion of an account and the theft of sensitive data. IAM controls are essential to mitigate this risk. 

One example of an account hijacking attack is the data breach at Capital One. 

A former employee of the cloud service provider used a server-side request forgery attack to steal an employee’s credentials and access sensitive data. 

As a result, 100 million credit card applications were compromised. This breach cost the company more than $80 million and resulted in a settlement with customers. 

While no one was hurt in this breach, it certainly carries a risk for any organization.

In addition to account hijacking, other cloud security risks include vendor lock-in. Many organizations need help with switching cloud vendors. 

Changing from AWS cloud service to Google cloud service is a significant undertaking, as all data and functions must be transferred. In addition, charges may be different between the two cloud services.

Cloud security can be worse than on-premises systems. 

A malicious actor can steal account access by exploiting application vulnerabilities, using a non-admin account, and redirecting customers to other websites. 

Using strong passwords is essential to securing your cloud service provider. 

One of the best ways to do this is to use a password manager, which will remember all your passwords and keep them safe.

A lack of visibility in the cloud can make it difficult to detect a potential cloud security incident. Insecure APIs, misconfigurations, and low-code systems can risk your organization. 

Additionally, the growing number of users in cloud systems can make it difficult to manage access policies and permissions. 

In addition, it is easy for an attacker to use your user accounts to gain access to sensitive data.

Spectre & Meltdown attacks

The Spectre & Meltdown attacks have made cloud computing a target for hackers. 

Many of the internet is now run on Google or AWS platforms. 

They run most applications you use on your phone and cache or stream nearly all internet content. 

Even though the security teams at both companies are some of the most capable in the world, an attacker can compromise the security of cloud instances.

Meltdown and Spectre exploit flaws in modern processors, exposing private data and secrets. These flaws are hard to patch and allow hackers to access data. 

They can steal passwords, sensitive information, and even business-critical documents. The attacks have affected cloud infrastructure and personal computers.

Spectre, also known as “Speculative Execution”, is an exploit that breaks the isolation between different applications. 

The exploit can steal data from one application and send it to another. It affects Intel, ARM, and AMD processors. Spectre is harder to exploit, requiring direct access to the microchip.

The Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities have affected nearly every processor made by Intel since 1995. 

Almost every node in an enterprise is susceptible to flaws. Patches to prevent attacks will slow down the performance of the affected processors, depending on chip generation. 

Some users may even experience reboot or blue screens.

The Spectre flaw is a serious security concern. It can be used by low-level malware to gain full control of a computer. Spectre also can be used for privilege escalation. 

Low-level malware can exploit the flaw to gain control of the computer’s memory.

Natural disasters

The risk of natural disasters is a significant security concern for cloud computing. These events are becoming increasingly common and can destroy entire data centres or damage data storage facilities.

Companies must take extra precautions to secure their data to avoid the consequences. Losing data can mean severe financial damage, business disruption, or even closure. 

As more organizations realize that their data is their most valuable asset, they are taking the necessary precautions to ensure it is always secure. 

In addition, the promise of scale and capacity makes cloud services an attractive option for many companies.

Regardless of the size of your business, disasters can cause downtime. Flooding and power outages can affect many companies. 

Knowing how long it will take before your business can resume operations is essential. This will prevent frustration among employees who need help accessing company resources or documents stored on servers.

Cyberattacks threaten any business, but natural disasters are a particular concern. Many cloud service providers use physical data centres that are vulnerable to damage. 

Natural disasters may cause temporary loss of data, or they may ultimately destroy it. If you use cloud services, it’s imperative to protect your data against such risks.

As climate change increases the chances of severe weather events, natural disasters are becoming a more significant concern. 

With no warning, natural disasters can strike and disrupt business operations. Natural disasters can even lead to power outages and a lack of connectivity. 

Businesses need to prepare for these unforeseen events and assess the risks they present.

Human Error

One of the most significant security risks of cloud computing is human error. More than half of cloud security failures can be traced to human error. 

Whether it’s an innocent mistake like leaving your S3 bucket exposed or an unintentional oversight like using the default password, human error poses serious risks. While it is difficult to prevent human error, there are some things you can do to minimize its impact.

Firstly, you need to understand the human error. Human error can be caused by several reasons, including that end-users are only sometimes aware of how to act correctly. 

They will continue making mistakes if they need to figure out what to do. This is why organizations must address human error from both sides.

Human error can be classified as a decision-based or skill-based error. Decision-based human errors occur when employees need to gain the necessary knowledge and training to avoid potentially risky cybersecurity behaviours. 

Employees can also make mistakes when they are distracted or tired. This can lead to security breaches and data loss.

Human error is the most common cause of security breaches. A study by IBM showed that human error was responsible for 95% breaches. 

Another study showed that 19 out of 20 violations were prevented by human error. Other studies have corroborated this finding. 

As a first step, it is essential to understand what human error means in cybersecurity research.

The Bottom Line

If an organization builds proper understanding about the risk involved with the cloud, it can manage the things well.

Hope this article has given you idea about what are the security risks of cloud computing.

As the data is most vital and integral part of any organization, attention must be paid to its safety.

Little precautionary steps can prevent you from facing serious threads as discussed in this blog.