Apr 22 2024

The first steps of establishing your cloud security strategy

Category: Cloud computing,Cyber Strategydisc7 @ 7:53 am

In this article, we’ll identify some first steps you can take to establish your cloud security strategy. We’ll do so by discussing the cloud security impact of individual, concrete actions featured within the CIS Critical Security Controls (CIS Controls) and the CIS Benchmarks.

Data protection and application security: The foundation of a cloud security strategy

When you’re working with Controls v8 and the CIS Controls Cloud Companion Guide, you need to lay a foundation on which you can build your unique cloud security efforts. Toward that end, you can tailor the Controls in the context of a specific Information Technology/Operational Technology (IT/OT) map.

To help you make an impact at the beginning of your cloud security journey, we recommend you focus on two Controls in particular: CIS Control 3 – Data Protection and CIS Control 16 – Application Security.

Cloud Data Security with CIS Control 3

The purpose of CIS Control 3 is to help you create processes for protecting your data in the cloud. Consumers don’t always know that they’re responsible for cloud data security, which means they might not have adequate controls in place. For instance, without proper visibility, cloud consumers might be unaware that they’re leaking their data for weeks, months, or even years.

CIS Control 3 walks you through how to close this gap by identifying, classifying, securely handling, retaining, and disposing of your cloud-based data, as shown in the screenshot below.

CIS cloud security strategy
A screenshot of CIS Control 3: Data Protection
Cloud Application Security with CIS Control 16

In addition to protecting your cloud-based data, you need to manage your cloud application security in accordance with CIS Control 16. Your responsibility in this area applies to applications developed by your in-house teams and acquired from external product vendors.

To prevent, detect, and remediate vulnerabilities in your cloud-based applications, you need a comprehensive program that brings together people, processes, and technology. Continuous Vulnerability Management, as discussed in CIS Control 7, sits at the heart of this program. You can then expand your security efforts by using supply chain risk management for externally acquired software and a secure software development life cycle (SDLC) for applications produced in house.

Want to learn more about the CIS Benchmarks? Check out our video below.

Using the CIS Amazon Web Services Foundations Benchmark v3.0.0 as an example, here are two recommendations you can implement to protect your data in the cloud.

Hardening your cloud-based assets with MFA, lack of public access

With CIS Controls 3 and 16 as your foundation, you can build upon your progress by hardening your accounts and workloads in the cloud with the security recommendations of the CIS Benchmarks, which map back to the Controls.

Set up MFA for the ‘root’ user account

The ‘root’ user account is the most privileged user in your AWS account. In the event of a compromise, a cyber threat actor (CTA) could use your ‘root’ user account to access sensitive data stored in your AWS environment.

To address this threat, you need to safeguard your ‘root’ user account. You can do so by implementing Recommendation 1.5, which advises you to set up multi-factor authentication (MFA) using a dedicated device that’s managed by your company. Do not use a personal device to protect your ‘root’ user account with MFA, as this could increase the risk of account lockout if the device owner leaves the company, changes their number, or loses their device.

Block public access on your S3 buckets

Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) enables you to store objects in your AWS environment using a web interface. The issue is that not everyone configures their S3 buckets securely. By default, S3 buckets don’t allow public access upon their creation. However, an Identity and Access Management (IAM) principal with sufficient permissions could enable public access to your S3 buckets. In doing so, they could inadvertently expose your buckets and their respective objects.

You can mitigate this risk by implementing Recommendation 2.1.4. This guideline consists of ensuring that you’ve configured S3 buckets to “Block public access” in both your individual bucket settings and in your AWS account settings. That way, you’ll block the public from accessing any of your S3 buckets and its contained objects connected to your AWS account.

Streamlining your use of cloud security best practices

The Controls and Benchmarks recommendations discussed above will help you take the first steps in implementing your cloud security strategy. From here, you can save time securely configuring your technologies using the CIS Hardened Images, virtual machine images (VMIs) that are pre-hardened to the security recommendations of the Benchmarks.

Securing Cloud Services: A pragmatic approach

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Apr 16 2024

Zero Trust Architecture

Category: Cloud computing,Zero trustdisc7 @ 8:19 am

Zero Trust Architecture

Cloud computing and the use of mobile devices challenged the concept of a perimeter-based security model. The change in thinking started with the Jericho Forum in 2007 releasing the Jericho Forum Commandments for a de-perimiterised world where it’s assumed a network perimeter doesn’t exist.

John Kindervag, from Forrester Research, then came up with the term “zero trust” in 2010 and developed the phrase “never trust, always verify” . He identified zero trust as a model that removes implicit trust within a system boundary and continuously evaluates the risks by applying mitigations to business transactions and data flows at every step of their journey. The phrase “assume breach” is also often associated with zero trust and comes from the phrase “assume compromise” used by the US Department of Defense in the 1990’s.

The approach requires a combination of technologies, processes, practices, and cultural changes to be successfully implemented. It involves a fundamental shift in the way organizations approach cybersecurity. Traditional “castle and moat” security models assumed, after data passed through the perimeter, that everything inside a system could be implicitly trusted.

Zero trust basics

The zero-trust model assumes that all business transactions and data flows, whether originating from inside or outside the network, are potentially malicious. Every interaction in a business transaction or data flow must be continuously validated to ensure that only authorized users and devices can access sensitive business data. In effect, it moves the perimeter from the system boundary to the point at which identification, authentication, and authorization take place, resulting in identity becoming the new perimeter. The whole concept often gets simplified down to the “never trust, always verify” principle, but it’s more than that.

Zero-trust architecture requires a cultural shift that emphasizes the importance of security rather than just compliance throughout an organization. This means that implementing a zero-trust architecture involves not only the deployment of specific technologies but also the development of processes and practices that promote a data security first mindset across the organization, building on the data centric security approach we discussed earlier.

When architecting and developing security for a system, an architect should follow a set of principles, tenets, or simply a way of thinking to apply zero trust. Zero trust isn’t an end-to-end method, and a comprehensive approach requires integration with other architectural thinking techniques.

Zero trust principles

Organizations offer guidance in publications including the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) SP 800-207 Zero Trust Architecture document that has a set of zero trust architecture tenets and the UK National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) Zero trust architecture design principles

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Tags: Hybrid cloud, Zero Trust Architecture

Apr 08 2024

Implement Network Segmentation and Encryption in Cloud Environments

Explore Cloud Security

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Tags: cloud security, encryption, Network segmentation

Apr 02 2024

Cloud Active Defense: Open-source cloud protection

Category: Cloud computing,Open Networkdisc7 @ 9:39 am

Cloud Active Defense is an open-source solution that integrates decoys into cloud infrastructure. It creates a dilemma for attackers: risk attacking and being detected immediately, or avoid the traps and reduce their effectiveness. Anyone, including small companies, can use it at no cost and start receiving high-signal alerts.

Where honeypots are good at detecting lateral movement once the initial application has been compromised, Cloud Active Defense brings the deception directly into that initial application.

“We do this by injecting decoys into HTTP responses. These decoys are invisible to regular users and very tempting to attackers. This creates a situation where attackers must constantly guess: is that a trap or an exploitation path? This guessing slows down the attack operation and can lead attackers to ignore valid attack vectors as they suspect them to be traps. Furthermore, since the application’s replies cannot be 100% trusted anymore, find-tuning your exploit payload becomes painful,” Cédric Hébert, CISO – Innovation at SAP and developer of Cloud Active Defense, told Help Net Security.

Future plans and download

“In the short term, we plan to make it easy to ingest the generated alerts to a SIEM system for faster response. We also plan to release code to make it simple to deploy on a Kubernetes cluster, where each application can be configured independently. In the mid-term, we want to work on proposing response strategies: surely, banning the IP address can be an option, but what we envision is, upon detection, to give the possibility to route the active session to a clone of the application where no more harm can be done,” Hebert concluded.

Cloud Active Defense is available for free on GitHub.

Must read:

Deep Dive: Exploring the Real-world Value of Open Source Intelligence

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Tags: Cloud Active Defense, Open source

Mar 29 2024

Compromised SaaS Supply Chain Apps: 97% Of Organizations At Risk Of Cyber Attacks

Category: Cloud computing,Cyber Attack,Information Securitydisc7 @ 7:55 am

Businesses increasingly rely on Software as a Service (SaaS) applications to drive efficiency, innovation, and growth.

However, this shift towards a more interconnected digital ecosystem has not come without its risks.

According to the “2024 State of SaaS Security Report” by Wing Security, a staggering 97% of organizations faced exposure to attacks through compromised SaaS supply chain applications in 2023, highlighting a critical vulnerability in the digital infrastructure of modern businesses.

The report, which analyzed data from 493 companies in the fourth quarter of 2023, illuminates the multifaceted nature of SaaS security threats.

From supply chain attacks taking center stage to the alarming trend of exploiting exposed credentials, the findings underscore the urgent need for robust security measures.

Supply Chain Attacks: A Domino Effect

Supply chain attacks have emerged as a significant threat, with 96.7% of organizations using at least one app that had a security incident in the past year.

The MOVEit breach, which directly and indirectly impacted over 2,500 organizations, and North Korean actors’ targeted attack on JumpCloud’s clients are stark reminders of the cascading effects a single vulnerability can have across the supply chain.

The simplicity of credential stuffing attacks and the widespread issue of unsecured credentials continue to pose a significant risk.

The report highlights several high-profile incidents, including breaches affecting Norton LifeLock and PayPal customers, where attackers exploited stolen credentials to gain unauthorized access to sensitive information.

MFA Bypassing And Token Theft

Despite adopting Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) as a security measure, attackers have found ways to bypass these defenses, targeting high-ranking executives in sophisticated phishing campaigns.

Additionally, the report points to a concerning trend of token theft, with many unused tokens creating unnecessary risk exposure for many organizations.

Looking Ahead: SaaS Threat Forecast For 2024

As we move into 2024, the SaaS threat landscape is expected to evolve, with AI posing a new threat.

The report identifies two primary risks associated with AI in the SaaS domain: the vast volume of AI models in SaaS applications and the potential for data mismanagement.

Furthermore, the persistence of credential-based attacks and the rise of interconnected threats across different domains underscore the need for a holistic cybersecurity approach.

Practical Tips For Enhancing SaaS Security

The report offers eight practical tips for organizations to combat these growing threats, including discovering and managing the risk of third-party applications, leveraging threat intelligence, and enforcing MFA.

Additionally, regaining control of the AI-SaaS landscape and establishing an effective offboarding procedure are crucial steps in bolstering an organization’s SaaS security.

The “2024 State of SaaS Security Report” by Wing Security serves as a wake-up call for businesses to reassess their SaaS security strategies.

With 97% of organizations exposed to attacks via compromised SaaS supply chain apps, the need for vigilance and proactive security measures has never been more critical.

As the digital landscape continues to evolve, so must our approaches to protect it.

Mitigating Supply Chain Attacks in the Digital Age

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Tags: supply chain attacks

Mar 21 2024


Continuous Threat Exposure Management (CTEM) is an evolving cybersecurity practice focused on identifying, assessing, prioritizing, and addressing security weaknesses and vulnerabilities in an organization’s digital assets and networks continuously. Unlike traditional approaches that might assess threats periodically, CTEM emphasizes a proactive, ongoing process of evaluation and mitigation to adapt to the rapidly changing threat landscape. Here’s a closer look at its key components:

  1. Identification: CTEM starts with the continuous identification of all digital assets within an organization’s environment, including on-premises systems, cloud services, and remote endpoints. It involves understanding what assets exist, where they are located, and their importance to the organization.
  2. Assessment: Regular and ongoing assessments of these assets are conducted to identify vulnerabilities, misconfigurations, and other security weaknesses. This process often utilizes automated scanning tools and threat intelligence to detect issues that could be exploited by attackers.
  3. Prioritization: Not all vulnerabilities pose the same level of risk. CTEM involves prioritizing these weaknesses based on their severity, the value of the affected assets, and the potential impact of an exploit. This helps organizations focus their efforts on the most critical issues first.
  4. Mitigation and Remediation: Once vulnerabilities are identified and prioritized, CTEM focuses on mitigating or remedying these issues. This can involve applying patches, changing configurations, or implementing other security measures to reduce the risk of exploitation.
  5. Continuous Improvement: CTEM is a cyclical process that feeds back into itself. The effectiveness of mitigation efforts is assessed, and the approach is refined over time to improve security posture continuously.

The goal of CTEM is to reduce the “attack surface” of an organization—minimizing the number of vulnerabilities that could be exploited by attackers and thereby reducing the organization’s overall risk. By continuously managing and reducing exposure to threats, organizations can better protect against breaches and cyber attacks.


Continuous Threat Exposure Management (CTEM) represents a proactive and ongoing approach to managing cybersecurity risks, distinguishing itself from traditional, more reactive security practices. Understanding the differences between CTEM and alternative approaches can help organizations choose the best strategy for their specific needs and threat landscapes. Let’s compare CTEM with some of these alternative approaches:


  • Periodic Security Assessments typically involve scheduled audits or evaluations of an organization’s security posture at fixed intervals (e.g., quarterly or annually). This approach may fail to catch new vulnerabilities or threats that emerge between assessments, leaving organizations exposed for potentially long periods.
  • CTEM, on the other hand, emphasizes continuous monitoring and assessment of threats and vulnerabilities. It ensures that emerging threats can be identified and addressed in near real-time, greatly reducing the window of exposure.


  • Penetration Testing is a targeted approach where security professionals simulate cyber-attacks on a system to identify vulnerabilities. While valuable, penetration tests are typically conducted annually or semi-annually and might not uncover vulnerabilities introduced between tests.
  • CTEM complements penetration testing by continuously scanning for and identifying vulnerabilities, ensuring that new threats are addressed promptly and not just during the next scheduled test.


  • Incident Response Planning focuses on preparing for, detecting, responding to, and recovering from cybersecurity incidents. It’s reactive by nature, kicking into gear after an incident has occurred.
  • CTEM works upstream of incident response by aiming to prevent incidents before they happen through continuous threat and vulnerability management. While incident response is a critical component of a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy, CTEM can reduce the likelihood and impact of incidents occurring in the first place.


  • Traditional Vulnerability Management involves identifying, classifying, remediating, and mitigating vulnerabilities within software and hardware. While it can be an ongoing process, it often lacks the continuous, real-time monitoring and prioritization framework of CTEM.
  • CTEM enhances traditional vulnerability management by integrating it into a continuous cycle that includes real-time detection, prioritization based on current threat intelligence, and immediate action to mitigate risks.


  • Real-Time Threat Intelligence: CTEM integrates the latest threat intelligence to ensure that the organization’s security measures are always ahead of potential threats.
  • Automation and Integration: By leveraging automation and integrating various security tools, CTEM can streamline the process of threat and vulnerability management, reducing the time from detection to remediation.
  • Risk-Based Prioritization: CTEM prioritizes vulnerabilities based on their potential impact on the organization, ensuring that resources are allocated effectively to address the most critical issues first.

CTEM offers a comprehensive and continuous approach to cybersecurity, focusing on reducing exposure to threats in a dynamic and ever-evolving threat landscape. While alternative approaches each have their place within an organization’s overall security strategy, integrating them with CTEM principles can provide a more resilient and responsive defense mechanism against cyber threats.


Implementing Continuous Threat Exposure Management (CTEM) within an AWS Cloud environment involves leveraging AWS services and tools, alongside third-party solutions and best practices, to continuously identify, assess, prioritize, and remediate vulnerabilities and threats. Here’s a detailed example of how CTEM can be applied in AWS:


  • AWS Config: Use AWS Config to continuously monitor and record AWS resource configurations and changes, helping to identify which assets exist in your environment, their configurations, and their interdependencies.
  • AWS Resource Groups: Organize resources by applications, projects, or environments to simplify management and monitoring.


  • Amazon Inspector: Automatically assess applications for vulnerabilities or deviations from best practices, especially important for EC2 instances and container-based applications.
  • AWS Security Hub: Aggregates security alerts and findings from various AWS services (like Amazon Inspector, Amazon GuardDuty, and IAM Access Analyzer) and supported third-party solutions to give a comprehensive view of your security and compliance status.


  • AWS Security Hub: Provides a consolidated view of security alerts and findings rated by severity, allowing you to prioritize issues based on their potential impact on your AWS environment.
  • Custom Lambda Functions: Create AWS Lambda functions to automate the analysis and prioritization process, using criteria specific to your organization’s risk tolerance and security posture.


  • AWS Systems Manager Patch Manager: Automate the process of patching managed instances with both security and non-security related updates.
  • CloudFormation Templates: Use AWS CloudFormation to enforce infrastructure configurations that meet your security standards. Quickly redeploy configurations if deviations are detected.
  • Amazon EventBridge and AWS Lambda: Automate responses to security findings. For example, if Security Hub detects a critical vulnerability, EventBridge can trigger a Lambda function to isolate affected instances or apply necessary patches.


  • AWS Well-Architected Tool: Regularly review your workloads against AWS best practices to identify areas for improvement.
  • Feedback Loop: Implement a feedback loop using AWS CloudWatch Logs and Amazon Elasticsearch Service to analyze logs and metrics for security insights, which can inform the continuous improvement of your CTEM processes.


Imagine you’re managing a web application hosted on AWS. Here’s how CTEM comes to life:

  • Identification: Use AWS Config and Resource Groups to maintain an updated inventory of your EC2 instances, RDS databases, and S3 buckets critical to your application.
  • Assessment: Employ Amazon Inspector to regularly scan your EC2 instances for vulnerabilities and AWS Security Hub to assess your overall security posture across services.
  • Prioritization: Security Hub alerts you to a critical vulnerability in an EC2 instance running your application backend. It’s flagged as high priority due to its access to sensitive data.
  • Mitigation and Remediation: You automatically trigger a Lambda function through EventBridge based on the Security Hub finding, which isolates the affected EC2 instance and initiates a patching process via Systems Manager Patch Manager.
  • Continuous Improvement: Post-incident, you use the AWS Well-Architected Tool to evaluate your architecture. Insights gained lead to the implementation of stricter IAM policies and enhanced monitoring with CloudWatch and Elasticsearch for anomaly detection.

This cycle of identifying, assessing, prioritizing, mitigating, and continuously improving forms the core of CTEM in AWS, helping to ensure that your cloud environment remains secure against evolving threats.


Implementing Continuous Threat Exposure Management (CTEM) in Azure involves utilizing a range of Azure services and features designed to continuously identify, assess, prioritize, and mitigate security risks. Below is a step-by-step example illustrating how an organization can apply CTEM principles within the Azure cloud environment:


  • Azure Resource Graph: Use Azure Resource Graph to query and visualize all resources across your Azure environment. This is crucial for understanding what assets you have, their configurations, and their interrelationships.
  • Azure Tags: Implement tagging strategies to categorize resources based on sensitivity, department, or environment. This aids in the prioritization process later on.


  • Azure Security Center: Enable Azure Security Center (ASC) at the Standard tier to conduct continuous security assessments across your Azure resources. ASC provides security recommendations and assesses your resources for vulnerabilities and misconfigurations.
  • Azure Defender: Integrated into Azure Security Center, Azure Defender provides advanced threat protection for workloads running in Azure, including virtual machines, databases, and containers.


  • ASC Secure Score: Use the Secure Score in Azure Security Center as a metric to prioritize security recommendations based on their potential impact on your environment’s security posture.
  • Custom Logic with Azure Logic Apps: Develop custom workflows using Azure Logic Apps to prioritize alerts based on your organization’s specific criteria, such as asset sensitivity or compliance requirements.


  • Azure Automation: Employ Azure Automation to run remediation scripts or configurations management across your Azure VMs and services. This can be used to automatically apply patches, update configurations, or manage access controls in response to identified vulnerabilities.
  • Azure Logic Apps: Trigger automated workflows in response to security alerts. For example, if Azure Security Center identifies an unprotected data storage, an Azure Logic App can automatically initiate a workflow to apply the necessary encryption settings.


  • Azure Monitor: Utilize Azure Monitor to collect, analyze, and act on telemetry data from your Azure resources. This includes logs, metrics, and alerts that can help you detect and respond to threats in real-time.
  • Azure Sentinel: Deploy Azure Sentinel, a cloud-native SIEM service, for a more comprehensive security information and event management solution. Sentinel can collect data across all users, devices, applications, and infrastructure, both on-premises and in multiple clouds.


  • Azure Policy: Implement Azure Policy to enforce organizational standards and to assess compliance at scale. Continuous evaluation of your configurations against these policies ensures compliance and guides ongoing improvement.
  • Feedback Loops: Establish feedback loops using the insights gained from Azure Monitor, Azure Security Center, and Azure Sentinel to refine and improve your security posture continuously.


Let’s say you’re managing a web application hosted in Azure, utilizing Azure App Service for the web front end, Azure SQL Database for data storage, and Azure Blob Storage for unstructured data.

  • Identification: You catalog all resources related to the web application using Azure Resource Graph and apply tags based on sensitivity and function.
  • Assessment: Azure Security Center continuously assesses these resources for vulnerabilities, such as misconfigurations or outdated software.
  • Prioritization: Based on the Secure Score and custom logic in Azure Logic Apps, you prioritize a detected SQL injection vulnerability in Azure SQL Database as critical.
  • Mitigation: Azure Automation is triggered to isolate the affected database and apply a patch. Concurrently, Azure Logic Apps notifies the security team and logs the incident for review.
  • Monitoring: Azure Monitor and Azure Sentinel provide ongoing surveillance, detecting any unusual access patterns or potential breaches.
  • Improvement: Insights from the incident lead to a review and enhancement of the application’s code and a reinforcement of security policies through Azure Policy to prevent similar vulnerabilities in the future.

By following these steps and utilizing Azure’s comprehensive suite of security tools, organizations can implement an effective CTEM strategy that continuously protects against evolving cyber threats.


Implementing Continuous Threat Exposure Management (CTEM) in cloud environments like AWS and Azure involves a series of strategic steps, leveraging each platform’s unique tools and services. The approach combines best practices for security and compliance management, automation, and continuous monitoring. Here’s a guide to get started with CTEM in both AWS and Azure:


  1. Understand Your Environment
    • Catalogue your cloud resources and services.
    • Understand the data flow and dependencies between your cloud assets.
  2. Define Your Security Policies and Objectives
    • Establish what your security baseline looks like.
    • Define key compliance requirements and security objectives.
  3. Integrate Continuous Monitoring Tools
    • Leverage cloud-native tools for threat detection, vulnerability assessment, and compliance monitoring.
    • Integrate third-party security tools if necessary for enhanced capabilities.
  4. Automate Security Responses
    • Implement automated responses to common threats and vulnerabilities.
    • Use cloud services to automate patch management and configuration adjustments.
  5. Continuously Assess and Refine
    • Regularly review security policies and controls.
    • Adjust based on new threats, technological advancements, and changes in the business environment.


  1. Enable AWS Security Services
    • Utilize AWS Security Hub for a comprehensive view of your security state and to centralize and prioritize security alerts.
    • Use Amazon Inspector for automated security assessments to help find vulnerabilities or deviations from best practices.
    • Implement AWS Config to continuously monitor and record AWS resource configurations.
  2. Automate Response with AWS Lambda
    • Use AWS Lambda to automate responses to security findings, such as isolating compromised instances or automatically patching vulnerabilities.
  3. Leverage Amazon CloudWatch
    • Employ CloudWatch for monitoring and alerting based on specific metrics or logs that indicate potential security threats.


  1. Utilize Azure Security Tools
    • Activate Azure Security Center for continuous assessment and security recommendations. Use its advanced threat protection features to detect and mitigate threats.
    • Implement Azure Sentinel for SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) capabilities, integrating it with other Azure services for a comprehensive security analysis and threat detection.
  2. Automate with Azure Logic Apps
    • Use Azure Logic Apps to automate responses to security alerts, such as sending notifications or triggering remediation processes.
  3. Monitor with Azure Monitor
    • Leverage Azure Monitor to collect, analyze, and act on telemetry data from your Azure and on-premises environments, helping you detect and respond to threats in real-time.


  • Continuous Compliance: Use policy-as-code to enforce and automate compliance standards across your cloud environments.
  • Identity and Access Management (IAM): Implement strict IAM policies to ensure least privilege access and utilize multi-factor authentication (MFA) for enhanced security.
  • Encrypt Data: Ensure data at rest and in transit is encrypted using the cloud providers’ encryption capabilities.
  • Educate Your Team: Regularly train your team on the latest cloud security best practices and the specific tools and services you are using.

Implementing CTEM in AWS and Azure requires a deep understanding of each cloud environment’s unique features and capabilities. By leveraging the right mix of tools and services, organizations can create a robust security posture that continuously identifies, assesses, and mitigates threats.

AWS Security

Azure Security

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Tags: AWS, AWS security, Azure, Azure Security, cloud security

Dec 26 2023

Tackling cloud security challenges head-on

Category: Cloud computingdisc7 @ 8:22 am

Cloud security is a critical aspect of modern computing, as businesses and individuals increasingly rely on cloud services to store, process, and manage data. Cloud computing offers numerous benefits, including scalability, flexibility, and cost efficiency, but it also introduces unique security challenges that need to be addressed to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of sensitive information.

In this Help Net Security round-up, we present segments from previously recorded videos in which security experts share their insights and experiences, shedding light on critical aspects of cloud security.

Complete videos

  • Paul Calatayud, CISO at Aqua Security, talks about cloud native security and the problem with the lack of understanding of risks to this environment.
  • Jane Wong, VP of Security Products at Splunk, talks about challenges organizations are facing to secure their multicloud environments.
  • Keith Nakasone, Federal Strategist at VMware, discusses how government agencies can scale the use of multicloud environments for mission success.
  • Dimitri Sirota, CEO at BigID, discusses how companies are unprepared to deal with the unique challenges of securing data in the cloud.
  • Andrew Slater, Practice Director – Cloud at Node4, talks about how organizations have encountered challenges in getting the final 20-30% of their production workloads into public cloud environments and addresses the cybersecurity implications.

Cloud Security Career Handbook: A beginner’s guide to starting and succeeding in Cloud Security

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Tags: cloud security, Cloud Security Career

Dec 01 2023

Bridging the gap between cloud vs on-premise security

Category: Cloud computingdisc7 @ 9:56 am

The widespread adoption of SaaS applications, remote work, and shadow IT compels organizations to adopt cloud-based cybersecurity. This is essential as corporate resources, traffic, and threats are no longer restricted to the office premises.

Cloud-based security initiatives, such as Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) and Security Service Edge (SSE), comprising Secure Web Gateway (SWG), Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASB), Data Loss Prevention (DLP), and Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA), effectively push security to wherever the corporate users, devices, and resources are – all via the cloud. With all security functions now delivered over the cloud and managed through a single pane of glass, the incoming and outgoing traffic (aka, the north-south traffic) is all but secure.

However, the east-west traffic — i.e., traffic that traverses the internal network and data centers and does not cross the network perimeter — is never exposed to these cloud-based security checks.

One way around it is to maintain a legacy data center firewall that monitors and controls the east-west traffic specifically. For starters, this hybrid security architecture adds up the cost and complexity of managing disparate security solutions, something organizations desperately attempt to overcome with cloud-based converged security stacks.

Secondly, the absence of unified visibility across cloud and on-premise security components can result in a loss of shared context, which renders security loopholes inevitable. Even Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) or Extended Detection and Response (XDR) solutions can’t address the complexity and operational overhead of maintaining a hybrid security stack for different kinds of traffic. As such, organizations still need that single, integrated security stack that offers ubiquitous protection for incoming, outgoing, and internal traffic, managed via a unified dashboard.

Extending cloud-native security to east-west traffic

Organizations need a security solution that offers both north-south and east-west protection, but it must all be orchestrated from a unified, cloud-based console. There are two ways to achieve this:

1. Via WAN firewall policy

Cloud-native security architectures like SASE and SSE can offer the east-west protection typically delivered by a data center firewall by rerouting all internal traffic through the closest point of presence (PoP). Unlike a local firewall that comes with its own configuration and management constraints, firewall policies configured in the SSE PoP can be managed via the platform’s centralized management console. Within the unified console, admins can create access policies based on ZTNA principles. For instance, they can allow only authorized users connected to the corporate VLAN and running an authorized, Active Directory-registered device to access sensitive resources hosted within the on-premise data center.

In some cases, however, organizations may need to implement east-west traffic protection locally without redirecting the traffic to the PoP.

2. Via LAN firewall policy

Consider a situation where a CCTV camera connected to an IoT VLAN needs to access an internal CCTV server.

Given the susceptibility of the IoT camera to be compromised by a malicious threat actor and controlled over the internet via a remote C2 server, the camera’s internet or WAN access should be disabled by default. If the data center firewall policy is implemented in the PoP, the traffic from internet-disabled IoT devices will naturally be exempt from such policies. To bridge this gap, SASE and SSE platforms can allow admins to configure firewall policies at the local SD-WAN device.

Typically, organizations connect to the SASE or SSE PoPs through an SD-WAN device, also known as a socket, installed at the site. The centralized dashboard can allow admins to configure rules for allowing or blocking internal or LAN traffic directly at the SD-WAN device, without ever sending it to the PoP over WAN.

In this scenario, if the traffic matches the pre-configured LAN firewall policies, the rules can be enforced locally. For instance, admins can allow corporate VLAN users to access printers connected to the printer VLAN while denying such access to guest Wi-Fi users. If the traffic does not match pre-defined policies, the traffic can be forwarded to the PoP for further classification.

Cloud-based east-west protection is the way to go

As security functions move increasingly to the cloud, it’s crucial not to lose sight of the controls and security measures needed on-site.

Cloud-native protections aim to increase coverage while reducing complexities and boosting convergence. As critical as it is to enable east-west traffic protection within SASE and SSE architectures, it’s equally important to maintain the unified visibility, control, and management offered by such platforms. To achieve this, organizations must avoid getting carried away by emerging threats and adding back disparate security solutions.

As such, any on-premise security measures added within cloud-based security paradigms should maintain a unified dashboard for granular policy configuration and end-to-end visibility across LAN and WAN traffic. This is the only way organizations can reliably bridge the gap between cloud and on-premise security and enable a sustainable, adaptable, and future-proof security stack.

The Azure Cloud Native Architecture Mapbook: Explore Microsoft Cloud’s infrastructure, application, data, and security architecture

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Tags: cloud security, The Azure Cloud Native Architecture

Nov 16 2023


Category: Cloud computingdisc7 @ 10:12 am

In a startling revelation, Bitdefender, a leading cybersecurity firm, has disclosed a series of sophisticated attack methods that could significantly impact users of Google Workspace and Google Credential Provider for Windows (GCPW). This discovery highlights potential weaknesses in widely used cloud and authentication services, prompting a reevaluation of current security measures.


Bitdefender’s research team, working in conjunction with their in-house research institute Bitdefender Labs, has identified previously unknown methods that cybercriminals could use to escalate a breach from a single endpoint to a network-wide level. These techniques, if exploited, could lead to severe consequences such as ransomware attacks or massive data exfiltration.

The attack progression involves several key stages, starting from a single compromised machine. Once inside the system, attackers could potentially:

  • Move across cloned machines within the network, especially if they are equipped with GCPW.
  • Gain unauthorized access to the Google Cloud Platform through custom permissions.
  • Decrypt locally stored passwords, extending their reach beyond the initially compromised machine.

These findings were responsibly disclosed to Google. However, Google has stated that these issues will not be addressed directly, as they fall outside their designated threat model. This decision reflects Google’s risk assessment and security priorities.


At the heart of these vulnerabilities is the Google Credential Provider for Windows (GCPW), a tool designed to streamline access and management within Google’s ecosystem. GCPW serves two primary functions:

  1. Remote Device Management: Similar to Mobile Device Management (MDM) systems like Microsoft Intune, GCPW allows administrators to remotely manage and control Windows devices connected to Google Workspace. This includes enforcing security policies, deploying software updates, and managing device settings without needing a VPN connection or domain registration.
  2. Single-Sign On (SSO) Authentication: GCPW facilitates SSO for Windows devices using Google Workspace credentials. This integration provides a seamless login experience, enabling users to access their devices with the same credentials used for Google services like Gmail, Google Drive, and Google Calendar.


Understanding GCPW’s functioning is crucial in comprehending the vulnerabilities. Here’s a breakdown of its operational process:

  • Local Service Account Creation: Upon installing GCPW, a new user account named ‘gaia’ is created. This account, not intended for regular user interactions, serves as a service account with elevated privileges.
  • Credential Provider Integration: GCPW integrates a new Credential Provider into the Windows Local Security Authority Subsystem Service (lsass), a critical component responsible for handling security operations and user authentication in Windows.
  • Local User Account Creation: GCPW facilitates the creation of new local user accounts linked to Google Workspace accounts whenever a new user authenticates with the system.
  • Logon Procedure: These Google Workspace users are logged in using their newly created local profiles, where a refresh token is stored to ensure continuous access without repeated authentication prompts.



  • Virtualized Environment Challenge: In environments that use cloned virtual machines (VMs), such as Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) or Desktop as a Service (DaaS) solutions, the installation of GCPW on a base machine means that the ‘gaia’ account and its password are cloned across all VMs.
  • Attack Implication: If an attacker discovers the password of one ‘gaia’ account, they can potentially access all machines that have been cloned from the same base image.
  • Scenario: Imagine a company, “Acme Corp,” uses a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) where multiple virtual machines (VMs) are cloned from a single ‘golden image’ for efficiency. This image has Google Credential Provider for Windows (GCPW) pre-installed for ease of access.
    • Attack Example:
  • An attacker, Alice, manages to compromise one of Acme Corp’s VMs. During her exploration, she discovers that the VM has GCPW installed.
  • She learns that the ‘gaia’ account password created during the GCPW setup is identical across all cloned VMs because they were derived from the same golden image.
  • By extracting the ‘gaia’ account password from the compromised VM, Alice can now access all other VMs cloned from the same image. This allows her to move laterally across the network, potentially accessing sensitive information or deploying malware.


  • Exploitation of OAuth Tokens: GCPW stores an OAuth 2.0 refresh token within the user’s session, maintaining access to the broader Google ecosystem. Attackers gaining access to this token can request new Access Tokens with varied permissions.
  • Scope of Abuse: The permissions granted by these tokens can enable attackers to access or manipulate a wide range of user data and Google services, effectively bypassing multi-factor authentication (MFA) processes.
  • Scenario: At a different company, “Beta Ltd.,” employees use their Google Workspace credentials to log into their Windows machines, facilitated by GCPW.

Attack Example:

  • Bob, a cybercriminal, gains initial access to a Beta Ltd. employee’s computer through a phishing attack.
  • Once inside the system, Bob finds the OAuth 2.0 refresh token stored by GCPW. This token is meant to maintain seamless access to Google services without repeated logins.
  • With this token, Bob crafts a request to Google’s authentication servers pretending to be the legitimate user. He requests new Access Tokens with broad permissions, like access to emails or cloud storage.
  • Using these tokens, Bob can now access sensitive data in the employee’s Google Workspace environment, like emails or documents, bypassing any multi-factor authentication set up by the company.


  • Plaintext Credential Risk: GCPW’s mechanism of saving user passwords as encrypted LSA secrets, intended for password resetting, presents a vulnerability. Skilled attackers could decrypt these credentials, allowing them to impersonate users and gain unrestricted account access.

Scenario: A small business, “Gamma Inc.,” uses GCPW for managing their Windows devices and Google Workspace accounts.

Attack Example:

  • Carla, an experienced hacker, targets Gamma Inc. She successfully breaches one of the employee’s systems through a malware-laden email attachment.
  • After gaining access, Carla locates the encrypted LSA secret stored by GCPW, which contains the user’s Google Workspace password.
  • Using advanced decryption techniques, she decrypts this password. Now, Carla has the same access privileges as the employee, not just on the local machine but across all Google services where the employee’s account is used.
  • This enables Carla to impersonate the employee, access company emails, manipulate documents, or even transfer funds if the employee has financial privileges.


Google’s decision not to address these findings, citing their exclusion from the company’s specific threat model, has stirred a debate in the cybersecurity community. While Google’s risk.

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Nov 06 2023

Cloud security guidance

Category: Cloud computingdisc7 @ 9:52 am

How to choose, configure and use cloud services securely.

If you want to store and process data in the cloud, or use cloud platforms to build and host your own services, this guidance will help you do so securely.

Cloud usage continues to grow steadily, both in volume and the type of services being built and hosted in it. In fact, cloud is usually the preferred option when organisations procure new IT services, as reflected in the UK government’s Cloud First Policy.

Against this background, it’s essential that new services are chosen and built in a way which reflects their security needs.

Who is this guidance for?

All organisations can use this guidance to navigate the sometimes confusing array of technologies which make up ‘the cloud’, and the management models which underpin their use.

More particularly:


Individuals looking for advice about how to use online services securely should refer to our Cyber Aware advice on staying secure online.

This collection contains

Introduction to cloud security

Defining some common terms, and providing background on the various sections of this guide.

Understanding cloud services

Cloud services can be seen from a number of perspectives. This section considers:

  • service models and deployment models
  • the ‘shared responsibility model’ used by many cloud providers to handle day-to-day management of security
  • two specific security techniques; separation and cryptography

Choosing a cloud provider

The cloud security principles and how to use them, along with our lightweight security framework and some vendor responses to the principles.

Using cloud services securely

Some actions that customers of cloud services will need to take. This includes advice for cloud platforms and software as a service (SaaS), and those looking to lift and shift into the cloud.

Next page

Introduction to cloud security


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Sep 12 2023

Top 10 SaaS Security Checklist in 2023

Category: Cloud computingdisc7 @ 10:21 am

Software as a Service (SaaS) security refers to the measures and practices employed to protect SaaS solutions’ data, applications, and infrastructure.

SaaS is a cloud computing model where software applications are hosted and delivered over the internet, rather than installed and run on individual devices or servers.

While SaaS offers numerous benefits, such as scalability and accessibility, it also introduces security challenges that organizations must address to safeguard their data and maintain compliance with regulatory requirements.

The software under this architecture is hosted centrally, with the service provider responsible for everything from database management to network administration to availability checks and infrastructure maintenance.

Data is often kept on centralized servers spread across numerous data centers and accessed by users via a web interface.

SaaS typically employs multi-tenancy, a deployment model in which a single software instance serves numerous customers whose data and settings are isolated.

Virtualization, load balancing, and backup storage are all part of this architecture’s strategy for delivering scalable, dependable, and readily available software solutions on demand.

Following the SaaS security checklist helps you understand the blind spots and focus on securing your SaaS apps and data.

Why is SaaS Security important?

Software as a service (SaaS) applications frequently deal with sensitive data, ranging from personal information to confidential corporate details, making SaaS security essential. 

Due to their internet-based nature, these apps are vulnerable to data theft and denial-of-service attacks.

 Data loss, financial consequences, legal issues, and reputational harm are all possible outcomes of a hacked SaaS service. 

In addition, due to the shared nature of SaaS’s basic infrastructure, a single vulnerability might affect several users. 

Moreover, while convenient, attackers may easily exploit SaaS due to its reliance on centralized data storage. Robust security for SaaS protects users and inspires confidence in the digital economy overall.

 It’s also a legal need for many businesses. Therefore, SaaS providers must place a premium on security to preserve credibility, safeguard customers, and guarantee the smooth running of operations.

To Protect Your SaaS Apps and data, Download the free Enterprise SaaS Security Technical Guide here.

Challenges and Risks for Security in SaaS

SaaS’s cloud-based, sharing nature (Software as a Service) raises security concerns and hazards. 
SaaS security checklist – Challenges and Risks
Data breach risk is significant since SaaS services are easily breached due to centralized storage. 
The multi-tenancy framework might cause data leakage if clients are not adequately segregated.
Data breaches might occur due to insufficient access restrictions, and when using third-party infrastructure, you have to put your faith in their safety precautions. 
SaaS Insecure Application Programming Interfaces APIs, which might open them to cyberattacks if they are not properly secured. 
Due to an increasing number of off-site data storage, often in separate countries, ensuring continued regulatory compliance is a challenging task.

Top SaaS Security Checklist 2023

  • Deploy a trusted SaaS Security Vendor
  • Data Encryption
  • Regular Security Audits
  • Multi-factor Authentication (MFA)
  • Set Identity and Access Management Rules
  • Data Backups and Disaster Recovery
  • Secure Application Development
  • Endpoint Security
  • Training and Awareness
  • Monitor and Alert

To Checkout the details: Top SaaS Security Checklist 2023

SaaS Security A Complete Guide

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Jul 31 2023

Tools for cloud transition and securing cloud environments?

Category: Cloud computing,Security Toolsdisc7 @ 10:06 am

CISA released a fact-sheet, listing some of the great tools that CISA offers for orgs to transition and secure their cloud environments?

Five tools are described in the fact-sheet, along with other guidance to “…provide network defenders and incident response/analysts open-source tools, methods, and guidance for identifying, detecting, and mitigating cyber threats, known vulnerabilities, and anomalies while operating a cloud or hybrid environment.”

1- The Cyber Security Evaluation Tool – CISA developed the Cyber Security Evaluation Tool (CSET) using industry-recognized standards, frameworks, and recommendations to assist organizations in evaluating their enterprise and asset cybersecurity posture.

2- Secure Cloud Business Applications (SCuBA) project – which provides guidance for FCEB agencies securing their cloud business application environments and protecting federal information created, accessed, shared, and stored in those environments.

3- Untitled Goose Tool – CISA, together with Sandia National Laboratories, developed the Untitled Goose Tool to assist network defenders with hunt and incident response activities in Microsoft Azure, AAD, and M365 environments.

4- Decider – assists incident responders and analysts in mapping observed activity to the MITRE ATT&CK framework.

5- Memory Forensic on Cloud – Memory Forensic on Cloud, developed by JPCERT/CC, is a tool for building a memory forensic environment on Amazon Web Services.

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Jul 22 2023


Category: Cloud computing,Security Toolsdisc7 @ 1:14 pm

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has come up with a list of free tools that businesses may use to protect themselves in cloud-based settings. According to the article published by CISA, these tools will assist incident response analysts and network defenders in mitigating, identifying, and detecting threats, known vulnerabilities, and abnormalities that occur in settings that are cloud-based or hybrid.During an attack, threat actors have generally focused their attention on servers located on the premises. However, several threat actors have been drawn in by the fast expansion of cloud migration in order to target cloud systems due to the vast number of attack vectors that are available when it comes to the cloud.

Organizations who do not have the essential capabilities to protect themselves against cloud-based attacks may benefit from the tools that are supplied by CISA. These technologies may assist users in securing their cloud resources from data theft, information exposure, and information theft respectively.
The Cloud Industry Security Alliance (CISA) stated that companies should use the security features supplied by Cloud Service Providers and combine them with the free tools that were recommended by the CISA in order to defend themselves from these attacks. The following is a list of the tools that the CISA provides:

  1. Cybersecurity Evaluation Tool (CSET).
  2. The SCuBAGear tool.
  3. The Untitled Goose Tool
  4. Decider Tool
  5. Memory Forensic on Cloud (JPCERT/CC) is an offering of Japan CERT.


For the purpose of assisting enterprises in the assessment of their cybersecurity posture, the CISA created this tool, which makes use of standards, guidelines, and recommendations that are widely accepted in the industry. Multiple questions about operational rules and procedures, as well as queries on the design of the system, are asked by the tool.This information is then utilized to develop a report that gives a comprehensive insight into the strengths and shortcomings of the businesses, along with suggestions to remedy them. The Cross-Sector Cyber Performance Goals (CPG) are included in the CSET version 11.5. These goals were established by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in collaboration with the Computer Security Industry Association (CISA).


SCuBAGear is a tool that was developed as a part of the SCuBA (Secure Cloud Business Applications) project. This project was started as a direct reaction to the Supply Chain hack that occurred with SolarWinds Orion Software. SCuBA is a piece of automated software that does comparisons between the Federal Civilian Executive Branch (FECB) and the M365 Secure configurations of the CISA. CISA, in conjunction with SCuBAGear, has produced a number of materials that may serve as a guide for cloud security and are of use to all types of enterprises. This tool resulted in the creation of three different documents:

SCuBA Technical Reference Architecture (TRA) — Offers fundamental building blocks for bolstering the safety of cloud storage environments. Cloud-based business apps (for SaaS models) and the security services that are used to safeguard and monitor them are both included in the purview of TRA.
The Hybrid Identity Solutions Architecture provides the best possible methods for tackling identity management in an environment that is hosted on the cloud.
M365 security configuration baseline (SCB) — offers fundamental security settings for Microsoft Defender 365, OneDrive, Azure Active Directory, Exchange Online, and other services.This application generates an HTML report that details policy deviations outlined in the M365 SCB guidelines and presents them.


The tool, which was created in collaboration with Sandia National Laboratories, is designed to assist network defenders in locating harmful behaviors in Microsoft Azure, Active Directory, and Microsoft 365. Additionally, it enables the querying, exporting, and investigating of audit logs.Organizations who do not import these sorts of logs into their Security Incident and Event Management (SIEM) platform will find this application to be quite helpful. It was designed as an alternative to the PowerShell tools that were available at the time since those tools lacked the capability to gather data for Azure, AAD, and M365.

This is a tool that Network Defenders may use to,

Extraction of cloud artifacts from Active Directory, Microsoft Azure, and Microsoft 365
The Unified Audit Logs (UAL) should have time bounding performed on them.
Collect data making use of the time-bounding feature of the MDE (Microsoft Defender Endpoint) data Decider Tool.
Incident response analysts may find it useful to map malicious actions using this tool in conjunction with the MITRE ATT&CK methodology. In addition to this, it makes their methods more accessible and offers direction for laying out their actions in the appropriate manner.


This tool, much like the CSET, asks a number of questions in order to give relevant user inquiries for the purpose of selecting the most effective identification technique. Users now have the ability to, given all of this information:

Export heatmaps from the ATT&CK Navigator.
Publish reports on the threat intelligence you have collected.
Determine and put into effect the appropriate preventative measures.
Prevent Exploitation
In addition, the CISA has given a link that describes how to use the Decider tool.


It was built for constructing and analyzing the Windows Memory Image on AWS using Volatility 3, which was the reason why it was developed. In addition, Memory Forensics is necessary when it comes to the recently popular LOTL (Living-Off-the-Land) attacks, which are also known as fileless malware. 
Memory image analysis may be helpful during incident response engagements, which often call for the use of high-specification equipment, a significant amount of time, and other resources in order to adequately prepare the environment.

Practical Cloud Security: A Guide for Secure Design and Deployment

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May 01 2023

Using just-in-time access to reduce cloud security risk

Category: Cloud computingDISC @ 9:08 am

Cloud environments rely on identity as the security perimeter, and identities are mushrooming and making “identity sprawl” a serious challenge. Users often have multiple identities that span many resources and devices, while machine identities —used by apps, connected devices and other services—are growing at an accelerated pace.

This becomes a problem if an attacker manages to compromise an identity, allowing them to gain a foothold in the environment and exploit those privileges to move laterally throughout the cloud environment — or even escalate permissions to do even more damage across many other assets and resources.

One way to address the large attack surface and unnecessary risk in the cloud is to implement just-in-time (JIT) privileged access. This approach limits the amount of time an identity is granted privileged access before they are revoked. Even if an attacker compromises credentials, it may only have privileged access temporarily or not at all. This is a critical defense mechanism.

Simply put, JIT grants privileged access only temporarily and revokes it once the related task is completed. JIT builds on a least-privilege framework to include a time factor, so users only have access to those resources they need to carry out their functions, and only while they are performing those functions. That said, excessive privileges should, by default, be eliminated wherever possible.

“Right-sizing permissions” has become a buzzword for security professionals, but it’s a challenge. Enforcing the kind of granular permissions management necessary for good cloud security manually—going back and forth trying to determine which privileges are called for and what are the minimal escalations that can get the job done — can be time-consuming and frustrating for both users and security teams.

Organizations have reason to worry. As the annual Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report notes time and again: credentials can be the weak link in any network. The most recent report noted the use of stolen credentials has grown about 30% in the last five years. Since a large share of breaches can be traced back to credential theft and abuse, limiting the potential scope of account compromise will have an outsized effect on improving security.

How to implement JIT access

Deploying JIT access begins with gaining a clear view of who users are, what privileges they have and what privileges they need, including whether they are human and machine identities. Is the user an engineer or developer, an administrator or security staff?
Work can’t stop while a user waits to be validated. This is where automation can provide a workable system to provision temporary privileges and revoke them once they’re not necessary.

A few best practices can help security teams implement automated JIT:

  • A self-service portal: Security staff get a bad rap as creators of user friction, so any tool that can smooth out workflows is a good thing. A self-service portal can reduce friction by allowing users to request elevated privileges and tracking the approval process. This cuts back on delays and requests that fall through the cracks, while also enabling automated permissions management, which in turn reduces cloud attack surface and leads an audit trail for monitoring activity.
  • Automate policies for low-risk requests: Simple requests involving low-risk activity, such as work in non-production environments, can be automated with policies that approve requests for a limited time and without human intervention.
  • Define owners for each step of the process: Automation should not equal relinquishing control of business processes. It needs to be monitored to ensure unintended actions do not occur. Each step of the process —reviewing requests, monitoring implementation, and revoking privileges—must be assigned an owner and more complex and sensitive requests should be reviewed and approved by a human, when necessary.

By implementing JIT, security teams can move closer to achieving a least-privilege model and implementing zero trust security. Automation can make this possible by speeding up the process of granting and revoking permissions as necessary, without creating more work for security teams that are already stretched thin, or friction for users that impacts their agility and efficiency.


Securing Cloud Services: A pragmatic approach

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Apr 10 2023

What is Cloud Mining and How Does it Work?

Category: Cloud computingDISC @ 8:18 am

Cloud mining is a way for you to purchase mining power from a remote data centre. Cloud mining works in the same way as regular cryptocurrency mining, except that instead of purchasing expensive hardware and dealing with its maintenance yourself, you just need to buy some shares and let a service provider do all the work. 

This can be especially appealing if you haven’t got access to cheap electricity in your area (or any at all), or if you simply don’t want to deal with the hassle of setting up your rig.

What is Cloud Mining?

Cloud mining is a service that allows you to purchase mining power from data centres. The process of mining is done remotely, and the owner of the data centre pays for the hardware and electricity usage. You pay for the hash power that you rent from them.

It is a process of renting crypto mining capacity from a third-party provider and using it to mine cryptocurrencies yourself. Instead of having to buy an expensive mining hardware, pay for its electricity use, and maintain it yourself, cloud mining lets you buy into a mining pool without requiring any of the hassles involved in normal crypto mining.

How does cloud mining work?

Cloud mining is a way to earn cryptocurrencies without having to buy expensive hardware. You can buy hash power from a cloud mining company, which means you won’t have to set up your hardware or software.

You don’t need any special knowledge or skills to start earning money immediately with this method of cryptocurrency mining.

Bitcoin Cloud Mining is the process by which transactions are verified and added to the public ledger, known as the blockchain. The blockchain is what allows a user to send Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies between their accounts and to pay for goods or services from any merchant that accepts cryptocurrencies. 

The blockchain is distributed across thousands of computers around the world. One of those computers is owned by you! So when your computer works on creating a new transaction block, it adds some cryptographic hashing which validates and secures the block and all subsequent blocks.

The key part here is that if your computer is doing work on someone else’s transaction block, you’ll be rewarded with Bitcoins or other cryptocurrencies, which you can then spend however you’d like. With the Bitcoin price today of over $22,000, this is the currency that receives the most mining.

Advantages of Cloud Mining

  • No need for hardware: Cloud mining is completely virtual. You don’t need to buy any equipment, so you can start earning immediately without having to worry about maintenance or electricity costs.
  • No need for software: Unlike traditional mining where you have to install specific software on your computer, cloud mining requires no software installation at all. Once you purchase hash power from a provider and connect it with their platform (usually via API key), everything else works automatically in the background without any additional effort from your side.
  • No maintenance required: The majority of cloud mining providers offer contracts with monthly fees rather than daily fees like other companies do. This makes it much easier because there’s no need for regular checkups or maintenance work every month like some other platforms require. 

Disadvantages of Cloud Mining

  • High electricity costs: Mining cryptocurrency requires a lot of electricity. If you’re using cloud mining, this cost is passed on to you, the customer. This can be very expensive and make it hard for your ROI (return on investment) to pay off.
  • Maintenance costs: You’ll also need to consider maintenance costs for your hardware, as well as any downtime or downtime during which the machine may malfunction or be repaired by the company providing it. This could also affect your ROI negatively if they don’t have a good track record with repairs and replacements promptly.
  • Low returns on investment: Finally, there’s no guarantee that any particular cryptocurrency will increase in value over time; it may even decrease. If this happens while you’re paying high fees just so someone else can mine coins for themselves instead of doing it yourself directly through an ASIC miner or GPU rig at home then those losses will likely outweigh whatever gains might result from having used cloud mining services like Hashflare or Genesis Mining in order.

Types of Cloud Mining

Cloud mining is a way to mine cryptocurrencies without having to buy expensive equipment or even invest in it at all. Instead, you pay someone else to do it for you.

Host Mining

Host mining is a type of cloud mining where you buy a physical mining rig and pay for the electricity. The price of host mining can be very high, but it’s also the most profitable way to earn money. You need technical knowledge and experience to host mine successfully, so this isn’t recommended for beginners.

Hash Power Leasing 

Hash power leasing is a way to get hash power without buying the hardware. This can be done by signing up with a service provider and paying them for their services. The provider will then provide you with the necessary equipment, which you need to pay for separately.

The process works like this:

  • You sign up with a cloud mining company (like Hashflare or Genesis Mining)
  • They give you access to their mining farm’s equipment and software through an API key or web interface
  • You set up an account with them and deposit money into it (usually Bitcoin)

You are then able to use this money as if it were your own – but instead of buying physical hardware yourself, all of that work has already been done by someone else.

How to spot potential fraud in cloud mining

To avoid fraud, you should look for companies that are transparent about their ownership and location. Look at the company’s domain name and website for authenticity. Avoid any cloud mining company that does not provide a physical address or phone number on its website.

You should also check for reviews and complaints about the company in question by searching online or contacting local authorities (e.g., Better Business Bureau aka BBB).


BitDeer is a cloud mining platform that allows users to rent computing power to mine various cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and more. It was founded in 2018 and is headquartered in Singapore.

BitDeer partners with mining farms and data centres worldwide to provide cloud mining services. Users can rent mining machines or hash power from BitDeer’s partners, which are located in regions with favourable conditions for cryptocurrency mining, such as regions with low electricity costs and cool climates.


StormGain is a cryptocurrency trading and exchange platform that offers a range of services for cryptocurrency traders and investors. It was founded in 2019 and is headquartered in Seychelles.

StormGain aims to provide a user-friendly and accessible platform for trading and investing in cryptocurrencies, with a focus on leveraged trading and cryptocurrency mining. Some of the features and services offered by StormGain include Cryptocurrency Trading, Leverage Trading, Crypto Mining, Wallet Services and more.


GMiner is a cloud mining company based in Hong Kong. It’s a subsidiary of Genesis Mining, one of the largest Bitcoin mining companies in the world. GMiner offers a variety of different mining contracts for Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dash, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash.

Potential Risks

Please note that the cryptocurrency market is constantly evolving, and the performance and reputation of cloud mining companies may change over time. It’s essential to do thorough research, read reviews from multiple sources, and exercise caution when investing in cloud mining services or any other form of cryptocurrency investment. Always consider the risks and consult with experienced investors or seek professional advice before making any investment decisions.

Cryptocurrency Mining: A Complete Beginners Guide to Mining Cryptocurrencies, Including Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, Altcoin, Monero, and Others

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Mar 13 2023

Data Security With Cloud Compliance: Meeting Regulations & Standards

Category: Cloud computing,data securityDISC @ 10:21 am

Businesses from all industries are aware of the benefits of cloud computing. Some organizations are just getting started with migration as part of digital transformation initiatives, while others are implementing sophisticated multi-cloud, hybrid strategies. However, data security in cloud computing is one of the most challenging deployment concerns at any level due to the unique risks that come with the technology.

The cloud compromises the conventional network perimeter that guided cybersecurity efforts in the past. As a result, a distinct strategy is needed for data security in cloud computing, one that takes into account both the complexity of the data compliance,  governance, and security structures as well as the dangers.

The Shifting Business Environment and Its Effects on Cloud Security

The top investment businesses implementing digital transformation initiatives want to make over the next three years is bolstering cybersecurity defenses. A paradigm shift in cybersecurity is being brought about by the rising trend of remote and hybrid workplaces, which is altering investment priorities.

Cloud computing provides the underlying technology for this transition as organizations want to increase resilience, and people want the freedom to work from anywhere. Yet, the lack of built-in security safeguards in many cloud systems highlights the need for data security in cloud computing.

What Is Cloud Data Security?

Cloud data security involves adopting technological solutions, policies, and processes to safeguard cloud-based systems and apps and the data and user access that go with them. The fundamental tenets of information security and data governance apply to the cloud as well:

Confidentiality: Protecting the data from illegal access and disclosure is known as confidentiality.

Integrity: Preventing unauthorized changes to the data so that it may be trusted

Accessibility: Making sure the data is completely accessible and available when it’s needed.

Cloud data security must be taken into account at every stage of cloud computing and the data lifecycle, including during the development, deployment, and administration of the cloud environment.

Data Risks in Cloud

Cloud computing has revolutionized the way data is gathered, stored, and processed, but it has also introduced new risks to data security. As more organizations rely on the cloud, cyberattacks and data breaches have become the biggest threats to data protection. While cloud technology is subject to the same cybersecurity risks as on-premises solutions, it poses additional risks to data security.

Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) with Security Flaws

Security flaws in APIs used for authentication and access are a common risk associated with the cloud. These flaws can be exploited by hackers to gain unauthorized access to sensitive data. Common issues include insufficient or improper input validation and insufficient authentication mechanisms. APIs can also be vulnerable to denial-of-service attacks (DoS), causing service disruptions and data loss.

Account Takeover or Account Hijacking

Account takeover or hijacking is a common threat in cloud computing, where hackers gain unauthorized access to user accounts and can steal or manipulate sensitive data. Hackers can gain access to cloud accounts due to weak or stolen passwords used by users. This is because users often use simple, easy-to-guess passwords or reuse the same password across multiple accounts. Once a hacker gains access to one account, they can potentially access other accounts that use the same password.

Insider Risks

Insider threats are a significant concern in cloud computing due to the lack of visibility into the cloud ecosystem. Cloud providers typically have a vast and complex infrastructure, which can make it challenging to monitor user activity and detect insider threats. Insider threats can occur when insiders, such as employees, contractors, or partners, intentionally or unintentionally access or disclose sensitive data.

Security Measures Protecting Data in Cloud Computing

Identity governance is the first step in securing data in the cloud. Across all of your on-premises and cloud platforms, workloads, and data access, you need a thorough, unified perspective. Identity management gives you the following:

Install Encryption

Encryption is an essential security measure for protecting sensitive and important data, including Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and intellectual property, both in transit and at rest. 

Third-party encryption solutions can offer additional layers of security and flexibility beyond what is provided by CSPs. For example, some third-party encryption solutions may offer more robust encryption algorithms or the ability to encrypt data before it is uploaded to the cloud. They can also provide granular access controls, enabling organizations to determine who can access specific data and under what circumstances.

Archive the Data

Backing up cloud data is critical for data protection and business continuity. The 3-2-1 rule is a best practice, involving having at least three copies of the data, stored in two different types of media, with one backup copy stored offsite. Businesses should have a local backup in addition to the cloud provider’s backup, providing an extra layer of protection in case the cloud provider’s backup fails or is inaccessible.

Put Identity and Access Management (IAM) into Practice

IAM (Identity and Access Management) is essential for securing cloud resources and data. IAM components in a cloud environment include identity governance, privileged access control, and access management, such as SSO or MFA. To ensure effective IAM in a cloud environment, organizations must include cloud resources in their IAM framework, create appropriate policies and procedures, and regularly review and audit IAM policies and procedures.

Control Your Password Rules

Poor password hygiene is a common cause of security events. Password management software can help users create, store and manage strong, unique passwords for each account, making it easier to follow safe password procedures. This can encourage better password hygiene and reduce the risk of password-related security incidents.

Use Multi-factor Authentication (MFA)

MFA (Multi-factor authentication) is a security mechanism that adds an extra layer of security beyond traditional password-based authentication. It reduces the chance of credentials being stolen and makes it more challenging for threat actors to gain unauthorized access to cloud accounts. 

MFA is particularly valuable in cloud environments, where many employees and contractors may access cloud accounts from various locations and devices. However, it is important to ensure that it is implemented correctly, easy to use, and integrated with existing security infrastructure and policies.


Your environment will get more complicated as you continue to utilize the cloud, particularly if you begin to rely on the hybrid multi-cloud. Data security in cloud computing is essential for reducing the dangers to your business and safeguarding not just your data but also your brand’s reputation.

Consider deploying solutions for controlling cloud access and entitlements to protect yourself from the always-changing cloud risks. For a thorough approach to identity management, incorporate these solutions into your entire IAM strategy as well.

A complete, identity-centered solution ensures that you constantly implement access control and employ governance more wisely, regardless of whether your data is on-premises or in the cloud. You will also profit from automation and other factors that increase identity efficiency and save expenses.

Cloud Computing Security: Foundations and Challenges

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Feb 24 2023

Cloud Security Protecting Your Data in The Cloud

Category: Cloud computingDISC @ 10:34 am

Following these best practices, you can increase the cloud security and protection of your cloud-based data and applications.

As cloud computing has revolutionized how we store and process data, it has also introduced new security risks. Your data must be secure as more and more businesses turn to the cloud.

Here are some steps you can take to ensure that your cloud environment is secure:

It would help if you chose a reputable cloud provider: Not all cloud providers provide the same level of security. You should select a provider with a positive security track record that implements strict security controls.

Secure your data in transit and at rest: Ensure that your data is encrypted both in transit and at rest. Keeping your data secure and accessible only to authorized users can help protect against data breaches.
To prevent unauthorized access, implement strong access controls, including limiting access to cloud resources only to authorized users and implementing multi-factor authentication.

Monitoring your cloud environment regularly: Implement tools to monitor your cloud environment for unusual activity or signs of a breach. By doing so, you can identify potential security threats early on and mitigate their effect.

Plan for a disaster recovery scenario by implementing a disaster recovery plan. This backup will allow you to recover your data and applications in case of a security breach or other catastrophe.

You should educate your employees regarding the risks associated with cloud computing and provide them with training on protecting their data.

With these steps, you can protect your business from cyber threats and ensure the security of your cloud-based data. Take action today to protect your valuable assets by ensuring your business is secure.

What are the three categories of cloud security?

With the advancement of cloud computing, businesses can now store, process, and share massive amounts of data more easily and efficiently than ever before. Cloud computing, like any technology, carries inherent security risks.

Three categories of cloud security can assist in mitigating these risks: physical security, operational security, and data security.

Physical Security

Physical security refers to the measures the cloud service provider takes to protect its physical infrastructure. These actions include access controls, surveillance, and environmental controls, and those used in data centers play a crucial role in preventing unauthorized access.

Operational Security

A cloud service provider’s operational security refers to the processes and policies to manage their business operations. This process includes several measures, such as change management, incident response, and business continuity planning. Your cloud services must be protected against active cyber threats to ensure reliability and availability.

Data Security

Data Security refers A cloud security measure is a means of protecting your data. These include measures such as encryption, access controls, and data backups. To ensure the integrity and availability of your sensitive data, it is essential to implement effective data security measures.

In the cloud, each of these categories of security is essential for protecting your business from cyber threats and ensuring the safety and security of your data.

When you work with a reputable cloud service provider and implement best practices for physical, operational, and data security, you can minimize the risks of cloud computing and take advantage of the benefits of this revolutionary technology. Take advantage of the cloud with confidence and peace of mind by embracing security concerns.

Cybersecurity and the Cloud: What You Need to Know

Cloud computing has become increasingly important as more and more businesses move their data and applications to the cloud.

Cybersecurity and the cloud have some key considerations.

Understand your responsibilities:

When you use cloud services, you typically share security responsibility with the cloud provider. Ensure that you are aware of which security aspects are your responsibility and which are the service provider’s responsibility.

  • When it comes to security, not all cloud providers are equal. You should research the provider and choose one with a good security record.
  • Provide strong authentication to all cloud users, such as multi-factor authentication.Encrypt your data:
  • Your data must be encrypted in transit and at rest. It helps prevent data breaches and ensures only authorized persons can access your data.Monitor your data:
  • Use security tools to monitor your data for unusual activity or signs of a breach. By detecting potential security issues early, you can mitigate their impact.

Cloud Security: How to Protecting Your Data in The Cloud.

The increasing amount of data stored online in cloud-based systems has made cloud security a growing concern for businesses and individuals. You will learn cloud security basics, from recognizing potential cyber threats to protecting your data.

Cloud security risks.

Data breaches and denial of service (DOS) attacks are some risks associated with cloud security. Protecting yourself requires an understanding of common types of threats.

It is common for cloud security threats to include malicious outsiders such as hackers, insider threats from employees and contractors with access to your data, misconfigurations that leave your data vulnerable, and disasters that may cause data loss. When you understand the risks associated with storing your data in the cloud, you can develop effective strategies for mitigating them.

Set up Multi-Factor Authentication.

A multi-factor authentication (MFA) system is one of the best ways to protect your cloud environment. The authentication adds a layer of security by requiring users to use two or more credentials, such as a password and a one-time code sent by email or text message. It ensures that only authorized people can access your data and makes it much harder for attackers to compromise your system by guessing passwords or using stolen credentials.

Update security software and patches regularly.

Cyber Threat Intelligence programs should permanently be installed and maintained. It is also highly recommended that you patch your system regularly to ensure that there are no vulnerabilities attackers could exploit. If your systems do not receive regular updates, they may be vulnerable to attack. Additionally, other users on the system must keep up-to-date, so make sure everyone understands the importance of patching and security maintenance.

Create rules for permissions and user access.

Cloud services should be protected from unauthorized access. Establish specific user access and permission settings rules by creating or purchasing a policy. The policy should define what data users can access and edit and set boundaries for authorized users and applications. It would help if you also considered creating logins with distinct roles for each employee — this way, each user can only view information relevant to their job.

Prepare a Breach and Attack Recovery Plan.

Any business operating in the cloud needs a disaster recovery plan. Specifically, the goal should outline how the team should respond to a data breach or cyber attack, how to contact potential victims, how to recover files and systems, and how to mitigate risks.

Cloud Security

Cloud Security Protecting Your Data?

Cloud security is the practice of protecting your data and applications that are stored in the cloud. As more and more businesses move their data to the cloud, ensuring the security of that data has become increasingly important.

Here are some steps you can take to protect your data in the cloud:

  1. Use strong passwords and two-factor authentication: It’s important to use strong, unique passwords for all of your accounts and enable two-factor authentication wherever possible. This will help prevent unauthorized access to your accounts.
  2. Encrypt your data: Encryption is a process of converting your data into a secret code that can only be accessed with the right encryption key. This is an effective way to protect your data from unauthorized access.
  3. Choose a reputable cloud provider: When choosing a cloud provider, look for one that has a strong track record of security and compliance. Make sure they have proper encryption, backup and disaster recovery plans in place.
  4. Keep your software up to date: Make sure to keep all of your software, including your cloud applications, up to date with the latest security patches.
  5. Limit access to your data: Only give access to your cloud data to those who need it. You can use access controls to limit who can view, edit, or delete your data.
  6. Backup your data: Make sure to regularly back up your cloud data. This will ensure that you can still access your data even if there is a security breach or outage.

By taking these steps, you can help protect your data in the cloud and ensure that your business stays secure.

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Feb 08 2023

How to Use Cloud Access Security Brokers for Data Protection

Category: Cloud computingDISC @ 11:07 am

A cloud access security broker is a security policy enforcement point that can be located on-premises or in the cloud. Its purpose is to aggregate and implement an enterprise’s security policies whenever cloud-based resources are accessed.

How to Use Cloud Access Security Brokers for Data Protection

The cloud access security broker is analogous to a security guard in that it ensures compliance with the laws that were established by the administrators of the cloud service.

A cloud access security broker is a security solution that enables businesses to protect both their data and their users while they are working in the cloud. It functions as a middleman between an organization’s IT infrastructure and the company’s cloud services, monitoring and limiting access to ensure that security policies are adhered to.

Increasing companies’ utilization of cloud-based services is one of the primary factors contributing to the growing demand for cloud access security brokers. As more and more businesses move their data and applications to the cloud, which is very simple to use and manage, these businesses require a method to secure their assets and protect themselves against potential threats that may arise as a result of services being connected to one another without having a great deal of control over them. 

Cloud access security brokers offer a means to monitor and regulate access to cloud services, thereby guaranteeing that only authorized users can view sensitive data.

Cloud Access Security Broker for Data Protection: How It Can Be Achieved

Source: Managed Methods

Cloud access security brokers can also assist enterprises in complying with regulatory regulations and industry standards like HIPAA, PCI-DSS, and SOC 2, amongst others. Furthermore, as they carry out a substantial amount of detailed reporting for data breaches, they are able to undertake data encryption and can even manage access controls. As a result, the business is carrying out these procedures in an effective manner. So it can be used for cloud data security in a number of ways.

Using Cloud Access Security Brokers for Data Loss Prevention

After being implemented, cloud access security brokers are able to perform monitoring of the resources that have been created or deployed. They can also be used to enforce access restrictions on such resources, which effectively guarantees that only authorized people who have the authorization to access them can access that sensitive data. This not only protects against unauthorized access but also prevents sensitive data from being accidentally deleted.

Performing Data Encryption

Cloud access security broker protects data in a variety of ways, including through the implementation of appropriate access restrictions. Cloud access security brokers have the ability to encrypt sensitive data while it is both at rest and in motion.

If the data is encrypted, then even if someone gains unauthorized access to the data or if the data itself is stolen, it cannot be decoded without the appropriate decryption keys even if the data was encrypted. As a result, it renders it possible to gain access to the data even after having performed access that was not authorized.

Managing proper compliance 

Because cloud access security brokers are responsible for the enforcement of a wide variety of policies, they can be of assistance in achieving various kinds of compliance. Cloud access security brokers are able to assist firms in meeting regulatory requirements and industry standards, such as HIPAA, PCI-DSS, and SOC 2, which may be applicable. 

Cloud access security brokers are essentially reporting and alerting systems that give organizations information about potential security breaches. This enables organizations to take action to secure their data swiftly.

The Four Pillars of a Cloud Access Security Broker

Cloud access security brokers are built on four distinct pillars, each of which not only assists an organization in meeting appropriate data encryption standards but also provides a means by which the users of that organization can be protected. Cloud access security brokers offer visibility into the utilization of cloud services across an entire organization. This visibility includes information about which services are being utilized, who is using them, and the kind of data that is being saved or accessed. This offers an organization a sufficient level of visibility of its resources.

By providing extensive reporting and notifications on potential security breaches, cloud access security brokers are able to assist organizations in meeting regulatory obligations and industry standards.

The prevention of data loss, encryption, access restriction, and activity monitoring are only some of the security measures that can be enforced by cloud access security brokers in order to secure data and users in the cloud. In addition to this, they offer governance capabilities for their customers, such as policy management, incident response, and risk management, to assist businesses in managing and securing their cloud environments.


Cloud access security brokers safeguard cloud data. They monitor and control data and application access to secure cloud services. By monitoring and controlling cloud usage, they assist enterprises to meet regulatory and industry standards.

Cloud access security brokers can identify and mitigate threats to prevent data breaches and other security problems. They also offer encryption, data loss prevention, and threat detection. These solutions benefit all businesses, especially cloud-dependent ones. They should be utilized with firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and antivirus software as part of a holistic security plan.

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Tags: CASBI, CASBs, cloud security

Jan 26 2023

Cloud Pentesting Cheatsheet

Category: Cheat Sheet,Cloud computing,Pen TestDISC @ 12:09 pm

Cloud Pentesting for Noobs. An introduction to peneration testing… | by Jon  Helmus | Medium

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Jan 26 2023

GoTo admits: Customer cloud backups stolen together with decryption key

Category: Cloud computingDISC @ 12:11 am

GoTo is a well-known brand that owns a range of products, including technologies for teleconferencing and webinars, remote access, and password management.

If you’ve ever used GoTo Webinar (online meetings and seminars), GoToMyPC (connect and control someone else’s computer for management and support), or LastPass (a password manangement service), you’ve used a product from the GoTo stable.

You’ve probably not forgotten the big cybersecurity story over the 2022 Christmas holiday season, when LastPass admitted that it had suffered a breach that was much more serious than it had first thought.

The company first reported, back in August 2022, that crooks had stolen proprietary source code, following a break-in into the LastPass development network, but not customer data.

But the data grabbed in that source code robbery turned out to include enough information for attackers to follow up with a break-in at a LastPass cloud storage service, where customer data was indeed stolen, ironically including encrypted password vaults.

Now, unfortunately, it’s parent company GoTo’s turn to admit to a breach of its own – and this one also involves a development network break-in.

Security incident

On 2022-11-30, GoTo informed customers that it had suffered “a security incident”, summarising the situation as follows:

Based on the investigation to date, we have detected unusual activity within our development environment and third-party cloud storage service. The third-party cloud storage service is currently shared by both GoTo and its affiliate, LastPass.

This story, so briefly told at the time, sounds curiously similar to the one that unfolded from August 2022 to December 2022 at LastPass: development network breached; customer storage breached; investigation ongoing.

Nevertheless, we have to assume, given that the statement explicitly notes that the cloud service was shared between LastPass and GoTo, while implying that the development network mentioned here wasn’t, that this breach didn’t start months earlier in LastPass’s development system.

The suggestion seems to be that, in the GoTo breach, the development network and cloud service intrusions happened at the same time, as though this was a single break-in that yielded two targets right away, unlike the LastPass scenario, where the cloud breach was a later consequence of the first.

Incident update

Two months later, GoTo has come back with an update, and the news isn’t great:

[A] threat actor exfiltrated encrypted backups from a third-party cloud storage service related to the following products: Central, Pro, join.me, Hamachi, and RemotelyAnywhere. We also have evidence that a threat actor exfiltrated an encryption key for a portion of the encrypted backups. The affected information, which varies by product, may include account usernames, salted and hashed passwords, a portion of Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) settings, as well as some product settings and licensing information.

The company also noted that although MFA settings for some Rescue and GoToMyPC customers were stolen, their encrypted databases were not.

Two things are confusingly unclear here: firstly, why were MFA settings stored encrypted for one set of customers, but not for others; and secondly, what do the words “MFA settings” encompass anyway?

Several possible important “MFA settings” come to mind, including one or more of:

  • Phone numbers used for sending 2FA codes.
  • Starting seeds for app-based 2FA code sequences.
  • Stored recovery codes for use in emergencies.

SIM swaps and starting seeds

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