Cloud application security has been a big concern of lately due to several data breaches occurring in the cloud services such as the icloud hack, Target, Home Depot, United States internal Revenue system. Therefore the security of application poses a question as where does the responsibility of the application security lie?
Is it with the vendor or the company or person availing the services? The answer goes both sides, as the security aspect of the server side is only covered by the vendor of the cloud application services the client side still needs the security which is mostly overlooked by the people or the companies.
The client side application security is of utmost importance as only the server side security is not enough to protect the application from security breaches.
The different kind of security threats which pose a great danger to the cloud application security are as follows:
- Account Hijacking
- Compromised credentials
- Permanent Data loss
- Shared Technologies
- Cloud service abuse
- Hacked Interface and API
This is one of the biggest threat to the cloud services because of the vast amount of data stored on the cloud servers. The sensitivity of the data can be imagined easily, as the cloud is storing the financial details as well as personal details of millions of people. And if this vast amount of data is breached in any case it will cause a downfall of the company and also a threat to the lives of people who have been exposed due to the breach.
This attack has been there for a quite long time, it includes Fraud, Phishing, Software Exploits etc. Using these kind of attacks, the cloud services can be compromised and can lead to launching of other attacks, changing the settings of account, manipulate transactions, uploading malwares and illegal contents.
The credentials are compromised generally due to weak passwords, casual authentication, poor key or certificate management. Also the identity access management becomes a problem as the user access are sometimes not changed with the job role and responsibilities or when the user leaves the organization.
Embedding credentials and cryptographic keys in source code and leaving them in the online repositories such as GitHub also makes a big vulnerability which can be exploited easily. Aligning the identity with the cloud provider needs an understanding of the security measures taken in account.
Permanent Data Loss
Malicious hackers have gained access to the cloud services and deleted data permanently in the past affecting the business. Also the cloud data centers are vulnerable to natural disasters which can swipe away the data which has been stored on the cloud.
If the user encrypts the data before uploading to the cloud and loses the key then data is lost. Thus the client side protection of data should be managed and well kept. Permanent data loss can lead to financial crisis and disruption of the working system.
As the cloud service providers share infrastructure, platforms and applications from different sources therefore any reconfiguration or vulnerability in these layers affects the users and can also lead to compromise of the users system as well as the cloud depending upon the potential of the vulnerability.
Thus the security alone at the cloud server side is not only the real issue, Security has to be maintained at a vast level consisting of all the aspects of the cloud environment. The client side also needs to be secured as the attacks also possible from the client side due to low or no security measures.
Cloud Service Abuse
Cloud applications are breached to gain access to the commanding position in the cloud where the resources can be used for different malicious purposes such as launching a DDOS attacks or sending bulk spams and phishing emails, breaking an encryption key or hosting Malicious content.
This abuse may lead to unavailability of the services or can also lead to loss of data of the users stored on the cloud, therefore it is very much necessary to secure the applications from abuse.
Hacked Interface and API
To build an application now the developers are using ready to use interfaces and API to make their work simple, but these API’s and Interfaces tend to be the most exposed part of the system as they are available freely on the internet.
Almost every cloud service and application now offer API, IT reams are using these interfaces to interact with the cloud services such as management, provisioning, monitoring etc. Thus the level of threat to the cloud services increases manifold. This requires rigorous code reviews and penetrating testing to secure the application and services.
As we see that there are a lot of possibilities of breaching your data stored in the cloud due to the importance of data. Therefore your data cannot be secured alone just by the cloud service provider, there is a shear work required from the client side to protect the application and data from the outer security threats. Therefore security audits should be done in order to secure your precious data from threats.