New Threats to Cloud Security in 2023: How to Stay Protected

Sindhu P   

Cloud computing has become widespread among all sizes of companies. Its adoption has resulted in significant improvements in productivity and efficiency across organizations of varying sizes. However, with this shift to the cloud presents several security vulnerabilities that require careful consideration and mitigation.

As reported by Statista, the global cloud security software market is expected to reach a valuation of $37 billion by 2026.

Cloud Security Software Market

In this blog, we will explain the new cloud security threats that are expected to emerge in 2023 and solutions for organizations to stay protected.

Top Cloud Security Threats in 2023

When it comes to cloud security risks there are many, here we will discuss the biggest threats you need to be aware of in 2023

Cloud Security Threat Types

•  Data Breaches

When your organization’s confidential data is accessed and used without your knowledge or consent, we call it a data breach. It can have a severe effect on the victim organization like loss of customer trust, a negative impact on the company's reputation, and a decline in revenue that may last for a significant period of time.

Mostly, data breaches are caused by human error, inadequate security measures, phishing scams, or malware infections.

•  Cloud Misconfiguration

The complexity of cloud infrastructures can make them prone to misconfigurations during the deployment phase. Inattention to essential updates, overlooking critical components, or failing to address existing infrastructure shortcomings can lead to vulnerabilities in cloud assets.

Misconfigurations in cloud security components such as access management systems and encryption can leave sensitive data exposed and cloud environments vulnerable to cyberattacks. It results in data breaches and reputational damage to businesses. And, the risk of cloud misconfigurations is expected to persist in 2023 as cloud adoption increases.

•  Malware & Ransomware

Ransomware is a significant threat to the enterprise, and cybercriminals are now developing this type of malware to specifically target cloud services.

There are three common types of ransomware tactics that attackers use to target cloud deployments.

  • It involves targeting file-sharing services that are synced to a cloud platform.
  • Next is ransom cloud attacks, which use phishing to target cloud email services for account takeover and to propagate even more ransomware.
  • Lastly, attackers target large cloud-hosting providers such as Google and Amazon Web Services to ensure themselves bigger and more predictable pay-outs by threatening to encrypt data across their entire cloud infrastructure.

These attacks can have devastating consequences, as victims can lose access to critical data and have to pay significant ransoms to regain access.

Benjamin says - "Each year, ransomware attacks increase in number and the value of ransoms increase. Don't expect 2023 to be different."

•  Multicloud Sprawl

Multicloud sprawl is a growing concern for organizations using multiple cloud services. With the increasing popularity of multicloud adoption, it can result in the spread of data and services across different cloud platforms, creating a complex and difficult-to-manage environment.

This can lead to a lack of visibility and control over sensitive data, increasing the risk of data breaches, unauthorized access, and compliance violations. It can also make it challenging to identify and mitigate security threats, as security teams must monitor and secure multiple environments and disparate tools.

•  Shadow Data

Transitioning from a traditional on-premises software model to a cloud-based one, it's common that some of the data will get lost. It is called as shadow data, also known as dark data or ghost data. It refer to business data that's copied, backed up, or housed in an ungoverned store, or one that hasn't been properly maintained or updated by security or IT teams.

The risks enterprises face from the presence of shadow data include lapses not only in data security but also compliance, which could result in fines and reputational damage.

•  Insecure APIs

APIs are critical components of cloud infrastructure that facilitate communication and data exchange between different systems and applications. However, these APIs can also become an entry point for attackers looking to gain unauthorized access to cloud systems and sensitive data.

Insecure APIs can occur due to improper implementation, lack of proper authentication and authorization mechanisms, and poor design. Attackers can exploit these vulnerabilities to steal sensitive data or execute unauthorized actions, such as modifying or deleting data.

•  Account hijacking by phishing

As businesses rely more on cloud-based infrastructure and apps, account hijacking has become a major threat to cloud security. Cybercriminals can send employees phishing emails or text messages and steal their login credentials. From there they can gain access to cloud-hosted data and perform malicious tasks and steal confidential data.

•  Data Loss

Losing data is the biggest risk, which is, at most times, irreversible. The data can be lost due to various reasons - in network extortion or ransomware incidents, during system migration, a firm might make a costly error when moving to a new environment or backing up its current one.

Sharing information within organizations poses a significant risk of data loss or compromise. With cloud solutions providing easy ways to share files and applications with external parties, a single mistake by a negligent or malicious user can result in sensitive data being accessed by unauthorized individuals.

•  Insider Threats

It refers to individuals within the organization who intentionally or unintentionally compromise security by sharing sensitive information, misusing access privileges, or introducing malware into the system.

These threats can be challenging to detect as insiders often have authorized access to sensitive data and systems. Malicious insiders may have specific knowledge of the organization's security protocols, making it easier for them to bypass security controls and cause significant damage.

•  Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks

DDoS attacks involve overwhelming a network or system with a flood of traffic from multiple sources, rendering it inaccessible to users.

In recent years, attackers have increasingly used DDoS attacks to target cloud-based systems, aiming to disrupt business operations, extort ransom payments, or even steal sensitive data. DDoS attacks can be difficult to detect and mitigate, particularly when attackers leverage botnets or other sophisticated methods to launch attacks.

•  Compliance Violation

Failing to comply with regulations like HIPAA, PCI DSS, or GDPR can lead to serious consequences such as fines, legal actions, and loss of reputation. As more sensitive data is stored in the cloud, it becomes more important than ever to ensure that the cloud environment is fully compliant.

Cloud service providers are typically responsible for ensuring their infrastructure complies with the relevant regulations. However, it's up to the customers to ensure that their use of the cloud is also compliant. Failure to properly configure security settings, encrypt data, or control access can lead to compliance violations.

•  Limited Visibility of Cloud Usage

Ensuring the security of data stored in the cloud is a critical concern for organizations. It is essential to have complete visibility into data usage to understand who has access, how they are using the data, and where it is being stored. Failure to maintain such visibility can leave organizations vulnerable to attacks and unexpected data loss.

Malicious actors can exploit gaps in security protocols and infiltrate the system, leading to potential breaches of sensitive information.

Therefore, it is imperative for companies to prioritize maintaining comprehensive visibility of their cloud infrastructure to ensure maximum security and prevent any potential threats.

How to Protect Your Cloud Resources?

To cope with cloud security threats, companies can follow the strategies that are explained below.

•  Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Implementing multi-factor authentication (MFA) tools for accessing cloud assets can provide additional security to the access process and secure identities.

With MFA, cyber criminals would need to bypass authentication factors like biometrics, security tokens, keys, making it almost impossible for them to use hijacked accounts to access cloud-hosted data. This enhances the overall security posture of the organization, making it less susceptible to cyber-attacks.

•  Adopting A Zero-Trust Security Model

Zero Trust is a savior for cloud security. This framework is specifically designed to mitigate risks associated with parameterless networks, frequent remote access, and cloud-based infrastructures.

It is a security model that assumes no user or device can be trusted by default. Its access to resources is strictly controlled and monitored, and access is only granted on a need-to-know basis. This approach involves verifying every user and device that requests access to a resource, regardless of whether they are inside or outside the network perimeter.

•  Implement Security Monitoring And Alerting

It can assist organizations in quickly detecting and addressing security issues. By utilizing a range of tools and technologies, organizations can constantly monitor their security posture and receive timely alerts to potential threats, allowing them to respond in a timely and effective manner. The tools include:

  • Security information and event management (SIEM) systems
  • Intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDPS)
  • Endpoint detection and response (EDR) systems

•  Implement Identity Access Management (IAM) Solution

In order to minimize the risk of unauthorized access and insider threats, it is recommended to implement the principle of least privilege. This approach ensures that users are granted access only to the resources and data necessary for their job functions.

•  Implement Encryption

It is a critical aspect of cloud security, as it helps to protect data both when it is in transit and when it is at rest.

•  Regularly Test For Vulnerabilities

Organizations should regularly test cloud resources for vulnerabilities to prevent cyberattacks.

•  Regularly Back Up Data

Having a disaster recovery plan that includes routine data backups can aid in data retrieval in the event of a data breach. Organizations should prioritize regular backups to ensure that critical data is safeguarded and can be promptly recovered.

Secure Your Cloud with Cymune’s Cloud Security Services

Maintaining cloud security is an ongoing process that requires organizations to constantly evaluate and update their security strategies to stay ahead of emerging threats.

However, with Cymune’s cloud security services, you don't have to worry about the complexities of cloud security. We provide 24/7 monitoring to keep your cloud infrastructure secure and up to date.