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Darkside of the Cloud, be aware!

How hackers are penetrating public cloud

· Cybersecurity,Ransomware,Backup,Public Cloud,Disaster Recovery

My fellow engineers and tech enthusiasts! Are you aware of the dark side of the cloud? Yeah, you guessed it right, I'm talking about Ransomware attacks on cloud services. You see, as more and more companies are moving their data to the cloud, cybercriminals see it as a new playground for their ransomware schemes. But don't worry, I got your back. In this article, I'll be sharing some insights on why cloud services are a target for ransomware attacks and how you can protect yourself from these cybercriminals.

First things first, let's define what ransomware is for those who might be new to the game. Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts your files and makes them inaccessible until you pay the ransom to the attacker. It's like the old school kidnappers but with a digital twist. And while ransomware attacks used to target individuals and small businesses, now it's becoming a big concern for companies that store their data on the cloud.

So, why are cloud services a target for ransomware attacks? Well, for starters, cloud services provide a centralized location for all the data, making it an easy target for cybercriminals. Additionally, companies that store their data on the cloud, tend to have less control over their network security, making it easier for the attackers to penetrate.

Hackers are penetrating public cloud services in several ways:

  1. Phishing and social engineering: Hackers use phishing emails and social engineering tactics to trick employees into giving away login credentials or downloading malware. Once they have access to an employee's account, they can move laterally within the cloud environment and potentially access sensitive data.
  2. Exploiting vulnerabilities: Hackers can exploit vulnerabilities in software or misconfigurations in the cloud environment to gain unauthorized access. This can include exploiting vulnerabilities in the underlying infrastructure, such as virtual machines, or in the software and applications running on the cloud.
  3. Malicious insiders: Malicious insiders, such as former employees or contractors, can use their access to the cloud environment to steal or destroy data.
  4. Unsecured API's: Public cloud services rely heavily on API's (Application Programming Interfaces) to provide access to their services. If these API's are not properly secured, hackers can exploit them to gain unauthorized access to the cloud environment.
  5. Misconfigured access controls: Hackers can exploit misconfigured access controls to access sensitive data in the cloud environment. This can include using weak passwords, using the same password for multiple accounts, or not properly securing access to data storage and backup.
  6. Advanced persistent threats: Some attackers use sophisticated techniques such as Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) which are long-term targeted attacks on an organization, to gain access to cloud environments.

But don't worry, all is not lost. There are several steps organizations can take to protect themselves from ransomware attacks on the cloud.

  1. Keep your software and operating system up to date: Just like your mom told you to update your vaccines, it's important to update your software and operating system to protect yourself from known vulnerabilities.
  2. Use antivirus software: Antivirus software is like your best friend, it will always have your back and protect you from known malware, including ransomware.
  3. Be cautious when clicking on links or opening attachments from unknown sources: Just like your mom told you not to talk to strangers, it's important not to open links or attachments from unknown sources. Ransomware is often distributed through phishing emails or infected websites.
  4. Regularly back up your important files: Just like your dad told you to save your game before shutting down the console, it's important to regularly back up your files, so you can restore them in case of a ransomware attack.
  5. Use a firewall: A firewall is like a bouncer at a club, it will only let the good stuff in and block the bad stuff.
  6. Use network segmentation: Segmenting your network is like having a VIP area in a club, it will make sure that if an attacker gains access to one part of your network, they are unable to spread malware to other parts of the network.
  7. Employee awareness and education: Just like your teacher told you to pay attention in class, it's important to remind employees to be vigilant and cautious of suspicious email and links, to not open attachments from unknown sources, etc.
  8. Keep software and OS updated, use the latest version of software and OS, and disable unneeded features and protocols.
  9. Use endpoint detection and response (EDR) software: EDR software is like a spy, it will detect ransomware and stop it before it encrypts your data.
  10. Have an incident response plan in place: Just like a fire drill, it's important to have a plan in place, so you know what to do if you do get hit with ransomware.

MOST Importantly!

Don't forget to regularly backup the cloud footprint. Having a backup on the cloud can save you from paying the ransom and losing your data permanently. Make sure to also use a multi-cloud strategy, that way if one cloud service provider goes down, you still have access to your data on another cloud service provider. And always keep in mind that you should backup your data with different frequency and different methods such as incremental, differential and full backup and also you can encrypt your backup files for extra security and use different cloud providers for keeping your backups.

So, there you have it, folks. The cloud may seem like a playground for cybercriminals, but with the right steps, you can keep your data safe and secure. As always, stay vigilant, and stay one step ahead of the bad guys!