How Cloud Penetration Testing Can Help You protect Against Attack Vectors

icon Posted by: Hasan Sameer
icon July 8, 2022

In Brief:

What is the Purpose of Cloud Pen Testing?

The primary purpose of cloud pen testing is to enable security professionals to examine the security posture of the cloud. Also, penetration testing for cloud infrastructure includes Evaluation, Exploitation, and Remediation. These are all necessary to secure your resources on the cloud. We will have a detailed look at it later in the blog:

92%

of all organizations have at least some of their resources on the cloud at present

79%

of them experienced at least one cloud attack in the last year and half

45%

of cloud users are having compliance and security issues

26%

of these users have suffered through actual data breaches

How Does Cloud Pen Testing Protect You Against Attack Vectors?

Penetration testing for clouds is an in-depth assessment of your cloud infrastructure. It determines the resistance of your systems to the incoming attack vectors. Moreover, it identifies the vulnerable points that attackers might exploit. Consequently, it works as a tool in the hands of security professionals. Helps them to provide optimum protection for customers’ cloud assets.

Cloud Penetration Testing aids the security of the following aspects:

  • External Cloud Services
  • Internal Cloud Networks
  • Cloud Configurations
  • Virtual Machines Hosted on the Clouds

Besides, it also examines the hosted services, user privileges, and access controls. However, some dos and don’ts can be there depending on your Cloud Service Provider. Every service provider has its own set of policies regarding cloud pen testing.

In simple terms, cloud penetration testing has the prime goal to identify the strength and weaknesses of your cloud systems. Furthermore, the following are a few more deliverables:

  • Identifies security gaps, vulnerabilities, and risk factors
  • Projects the impact of exploitable vulnerabilities
  • Helps in maintaining visibility
  • Provides adequate remediation plan

Major Attack Vectors for Cloud

Cloud Pen Testing is done to prevent cyber-attacks on the cloud. It maps out the potential attack vectors for a certain cloud application. Simultaneously, it prepares the security plan to meet those threats.

Usually, hackers attack a cloud system by exploiting the vulnerability during communications between cloud users and services or applications. Still, some key attack vectors are:

  1. Abuse of Cloud Services: Hackers exploit cheap cloud services to launch DoS and Brute Force attacks. They can target users, companies, and even cloud providers.
  2. Cloud Malware Injection Attacks: Through these attacks, hackers aim to take control of a user’s information in the cloud. They initiate these attacks by adding an infected service implementation module to a SaaS or PaaS solution.
  3. Side-Channel Attacks: The way to launch this attack is by placing a malicious virtual machine on the same host as the target virtual machine. A secure system design can easily avoid such attacks.
  4. Distributed Denial of Service Attacks: DDoS attacks are generally overloading the systems to make the services unavailable for all users. Flooding of even a single cloud server affects a lot of users.
  5. Insider Attacks: These attacks are initiated by authorized users. They purposefully exploit the security policies of the cloud service. Cloud architecture having different access levels can prevent these attacks.

Cloud Vulnerabilities that lead to attacks

Attackers always exploit the vulnerabilities present in the cloud to initiate any attack. Cloud pen testing, as we have discussed earlier in the blog, finds out these vulnerabilities.

Common cloud vulnerabilities that attackers mat exploit are:

  1. Cloud API Vulnerabilities: Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are there to enable the interaction between the user and cloud-based services. The API vulnerabilities can disrupt the management, provisioning, and monitoring of cloud applications.
  2. Malicious Insiders: These are personnel having legitimate access to the internal resources on the cloud. With bad intentions, they can cause a lot of damage.
  3. Shared-Technology Vulnerabilities: Virtualization and orchestration are some shared technologies that cloud computing use. Vulnerabilities in these technologies might come to haunt the cloud services as well.
  4. Weak Cryptography: The cryptography algorithm is used to protect the resources stored in the cloud. Weak encryption will expose your resources to attackers.
  5. Data Threats: Data is the most valuable commodity for every organization these days. Most of them use cloud storage to put their critical data. However, you can’t consider your data to be 100% secure on the cloud. Every now and then, there is a risk of breaches and attacks.

How Cloud Pen Testing is Different?

Cloud penetration testing is a bit different from traditional pen testing methodologies. It requires unique techniques and expertise to scan the specific vulnerabilities that are cloud-native. For instance, the traditional penetration testing targets network, IT systems, DNS, and other basic aspects of cyberinfrastructure for testing. On the other hand, cloud pen testing examines cloud system passwords, cloud-specific configurations, cloud applications and encryption, and APIs, databases, and storage access. Furthermore, it follows a shared responsibility model.

Before You Go!

  • Cloud pen testing is a service that can fortify your cloud’s security. All you need to do is get it done neatly.
  • To carry out such as service you must always choose an expert. RSK Cyber Security can get you started with it and help you with your cloud security.

Tags

  • cloud pen testing
  • Cloud Penetration Testing
  • Cloud Security
  • Penetration Testing

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