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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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

YOUR GOOGLE CLOUD SECURITY MIGHT BE AT RISK. HACKING GCP VIA GOOGLE WORKSPACE FLAW

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.

DISCOVERY OF ADVANCED ATTACK TECHNIQUES

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.

THE DUAL ROLE OF GOOGLE CREDENTIAL PROVIDER FOR WINDOWS (GCPW)

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.

THE OPERATIONAL MECHANISM OF GCPW

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.

UNCOVERED ATTACK METHODS

GOLDEN IMAGE LATERAL MOVEMENT:

  • 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.

UNAUTHORIZED ACCESS TOKEN REQUEST:

  • 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.

PASSWORD RECOVERY THREAT:

  • 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 STANCE AND SECURITY IMPLICATIONS

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.

Official Google Cloud Certified Professional Cloud Security Engineer Exam Guide: Become an expert and get Google Cloud certified with this practitioner’s guide

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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:

Note:

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

https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/collection/cloud

Practical Cloud Security: A Guide for Secure Design and Deployment 

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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.

CISSP training course

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Jul 22 2023

TOP 5 FREE CLOUD SECURITY TOOLS, THAT CAN PROTECT YOUR AWS & AZURE CLOUD DATA FROM HACKERS

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.

THE CYBERSECURITY EVALUATION TOOL, ALSO KNOWN AS THE CSET.


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).

M365 SECURE CONFIGURATION BASELINE ASSESSMENT TOOL, SCUBAGEAR


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.

UNTITLED GOOSE TOOL


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.

DECIDER TOOL

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.

MEMORY FORENSIC ON CLOUD (JPCERT/CC)


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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Tags: Free CLOUD SECURITY TOOLS, Practical Cloud Security


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.

identity

Securing Cloud Services: A pragmatic approach

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Tags: cloud security risk, Securing Cloud Services


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

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

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.

GMiners

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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Tags: Cloud Mining, cloud security, cryptocurrency mining


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.

Summary

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

AWS Security Cookbook: Practical solutions for managing security policies, monitoring, auditing, and compliance with AWS

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Tags: cloud security, Data Security With Cloud


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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Tags: cloud security


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.

Conclusion

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.

Cloud Access Security Brokers CASBs

AWS: Getting started with cloud security (Free Course)

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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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Tags: cloud backup, cloud security, Decryption Key


Jan 13 2023

Popular JWT cloud security library patches “remote” code execution hole

Category: API security,Cloud computing,Remote codeDISC @ 11:36 am

by Paul Ducklin

JWT is short for JSON Web Token, where JSON itself is short for JavaScript Object Notation.

JSON is a modernish way of representing structured data; its format is a bit like XML, and can often be used instead, but without all the opening-and-closing angle brackets to get in the way of legibility.

For example, data that might be recorded like this in XML…

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<data>
   <name>Duck</name>
   <job>
      <employer>Sophos</employer>
      <role>NakSec</role>
   </job>
</data>

…might come out like this in JSON:

{"name":"Duck","job":{"employer":"Sophos","role":"NakSec"}}

Whether the JSON really is easier to read than the XML is an open question, but the big idea of JSON is that because the data is encoded as legal JavaScript source, albeit without any directly or indirectly executable code in it, you can parse and process it using your existing JavaScript engine, like this:

The output string undefined above merely reflects the fact that console.log() is a procedure – a function that does some work but doesn’t return a value. The word Sophos is printed out as a side-effect of calling the function, while undefined denotes what the function calculated and sent back: nothing.

The popularity of JavaScript for both in-browser and server-side programming, plus the visual familiarity of JSON to JavaScript coders, means that JSON is widely used these days, especially when exchanging structured data between web clients and servers.

And one popular use of JSON is the JWT system, which isn’t (officially, at any rate) read aloud as juh-witt, as it is written, but peculiarly pronounced jot, an English word that is sometimes used to refer the little dot we write above above an i or j, and that refers to a tiny but potentially important detail.

Authenticate strongly, then get a temporary token

Loosely speaking, a JWT is a blob of encoded data that is used by many cloud servers as a service access token.

The idea is that you start by proving your identity to the service, for example by providing a username, password and 2FA code, and you get back a JWT.

The JWT sent back to you is a blob of base64-encoded (actually, URL64-encoded) data that includes three fields:

  • Which crytographic algorithm was used in constructing the JWT.
  • What sort of access the JWT grants, and for how long.
  • A keyed cryptographic hash of the first two fields, using a secret key known only to your service provider.

Once you’ve authenticated up front, you can make subsequent requests to the online service, for example to check a product price or to look up an email address in a database, simply by including the JWT in each request, using it as a sort-of temporary access card.

Clearly, if someone steals your JWT after it’s been issued, they can play it back to the relevant server, which will typically give them access instead of you…

…but JWTs don’t need to be saved to disk, usually have a limited lifetime, and are sent and received over HTTPS connections, so that they can’t (in theory at least) easily be sniffed out or stolen.

When JWTs expire, or if they are cancelled for security reasons by the server, you need to go through the full-blown authentication process again in order to re-establish your right to access the service.

But for as long they’re valid, JWTs improve performance because they avoid the need to reauthenticate fully for every online request you want to make – rather like session cookies that are set in your browser while you’re logged into a social network or a news site.

Security validation as infiltration

Well, cybersecurity news today is full of a revelation by researchers at Palo Alto that we’ve variously seen described as a “high-severity flaw” or a “critical security flaw” in a popular JWT implementation.

In theory, at least, this bug could be exploited by cybercriminals for attacks ranging from implanting unauthorised files onto a JWT server, thus maliciously modifying its configuration or modifying the code it might later use, to direct and immediate code execution inside a victim’s network.

Simply put, the act of presenting a JWT to a back-end server for validation – something that typically happens at every API call (jargon for making a service request) – could lead malware being implanted.

But here’s the good news:

  • The flaw isn’t intrinsic to the JWT protocol. It applies to a specific implementation of JWT called jsonwebtoken from a group called Auth0.
  • The bug was patched three weeks ago. If you’ve updated your version of jsonwebtoken from 8.5.1 or earlier to version 9.0.0, which came out on 2022-12-21, you’re now protected from this particular vulnerability.
  • Cybercriminals can’t directly exploit the bug simply by logging in and making API calls. As far as we can see, although an attacker could subsequently trigger the vulnerability by making remote API requests, the bug needs to be “primed” first by deliberately writing a booby-trapped secret key into your authentication server’s key-store.

According to the researchers, the bug existed in the part of Auth0’s code that validated incoming JWTs against the secret key stored centrally for that user.

As mentioned above, the JWT itself consists of two fields of data denoting your access privileges, and a third field consisting of the first two fields hashed using a secret key known only to the service you’re calling.

To validate the token, the server needs to recalculate the keyed hash of those first two JWT fields, and to confirm the hash that you presented matches the hash it just calculated.

Given that you don’t know the secret key, but you can present a hash that was computed recently using that key…

…the server can infer that you must have acquired the hash from the authentication server in the first place, by proving your identity up front in some suitable way.

Data type confusion

It turns out that the hash validation code in jsonwebtoken assumes (or, until recently, assumed) that the secret key for your account in the server’s own authentication key-store really was a cryptographic secret key, encoded in a standard text-based format such as PEM (short for privacy enhanced mail, but mainly used for non-email purposes these days).

If you could somehow corrupt a user’s secret key by replacing it with data that wasn’t in PEM format, but that was, in fact, some other more complex sort of JavaScript data object…

…then you could booby-trap the secret-key-based hash validation calculation by tricking the authentication server into running some JavaScript code of your choice from that infiltrated “fake key”.

Simply put, the server would try to decode a secret key that it assumed was in a format it could handle safely, even if the key wasn’t in a safe format and the server couldn’t deal with it securely.

Note, however, that you’d pretty much need to hack into the secret key-store database first, before any sort of truly remote code execution trigger would be possible.

And if attackers are already able to wander around your network to the point that they can not only poke their noses into but also modify your JWT secret-key database, you’ve probably got bigger problems than CVE-2022-23539, as this bug has been designated.

What to do?

If you’re using an affected version of jsonwebtokenupdate to version 9.0.0 to leave this bug behind.

However, if you’ve now patched but you think crooks might realistically have been able to pull off this sort of JWT attack on your network, patching alone isn’t enough.

In other words, if you think you might have been at risk here, don’t just patch and move on.

Use threat detection and response techniques to look for holes by which cybercriminals could get far enough to attack your network more generally…

…and make sure you don’t have crooks in your network anyway, even after applying the patch.

Breaking down JSON Web Tokens: From pros and cons to building and revoking

Contact DISC InfoSec if you need guidance on RESTful API security specs

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Tags: JWT cloud security library


Dec 23 2022

Cloud Security Best Practices

Category: Cloud computingDISC @ 11:10 am
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Tags: cloud security


Nov 07 2022

Does your company need secure enclaves? Five questions to ask your CISO

Category: Cloud computingDISC @ 2:26 pm

Some of the biggest barriers to cloud adoption are security concerns: data loss or leakage, and the associated legal and regulatory concerns with storing and processing data off-premises.

In the last 18 months, 79% of companies have experienced at least one cloud data breach; even more alarmingly, 43% have reported 10 or more breaches in that time. Despite the clear advantages of cloud infrastructure, one of the main challenges that often gets overlooked is the need to: (1) trust that the infrastructure will be secure enough against threats and (2) that the chosen cloud provider won’t purposefully or inadvertently access the data processing on their infrastructure. When dealing with highly sensitive/confidential data (such as banking information or healthcare patient data), this becomes a major concern and a barrier to further cloud adoption.

Traditional approaches for protecting data have relied upon implementing access controls and policies and encrypting data at rest and in transit, but none are able to prevent the threat in its entirety because a fundamental challenge remains: keeping data encrypted when in use, while it is being processed. Confidential computing – projected to be a $54B market by 2026 – is emerging as a way to remove the need for trusting infrastructure and service providers by keeping data protected/encrypted even when in use.

Confidential computing technology uses hardware-based techniques to create isolated environments called enclaves (also known as Trusted Execution Environments or TEEs).

Code and data within enclaves are inaccessible by other applications, users, or processes colocated on the system. The enclave keeps the data encrypted even when in use – while in memory and during computation. With a secure enclave environment, multiple parties can collaborate on analytics and AI use cases without compromising the confidentiality of their individual data and exposing it to other parties.

According to a recent survey, using secure enclaves in the enterprise setting is attractive for implementing safeguards for the following scenarios:

  • Protect against insider threats. Data in the cloud is accessible to the database administrators of the cloud applications or infrastructure via direct access to the database, application logs, and device memory
  • Prevent platform software (i.e., a platform hypervisor) from accessing data
  • Protect data from adjacent workloads in a multitenant/user environment
  • Protect the integrity of crowdsourced ML models
  • Confidential data sharing and multi-party collaboration

If these scenarios apply to you and your business, but you’re unsure what you’ll need to know to get started, here are five questions to ask your CISO:

1. Will I need to deploy specialized hardware to keep our data protected?

Confidential computing technology is now available on all major cloud providers. This obviates the need to procure and maintain specialized hardware yourselves. Even though confidential computing and secure enclaves are still in the “emerging technology bucket,” organizations can easily adopt confidential computing through cloud vendors and ISVs. The cloud providers see the benefit of secure enclaves and their future potential as a transformative technology, and so have bought in.

2. Will we need to rewrite applications to use secure enclaves?

Some confidential computing technologies, such as Intel SGX, require application modifications before they can run within enclaves. Other technologies, such as Confidential VMs, provide more flexibility and can run unmodified applications.

But, from a security perspective, this has the downside of having to trust the entire software stack within the VM. So, depending on the use case and requirements, one technology may be preferable over the other. In addition, proper adoption of confidential computing requires orchestrating management of the other constituent technologies, such as remote attestation.

The enclave adoption process can be complex and engineering teams will have to take time to build these capabilities to get their applications up and running. While bandwidth may be tight at times, the ROI is worth it in the long run. A growing ISV ecosystem can also help in the seamless adoption of confidential computing for a rich variety of use cases.

3. Can I use secure enclaves to improve data collaboration with other teams?

Before data can be shared with other teams, organizations typically need to follow a cumbersome governance process to restrict access to sensitive data, eliminate data sets or mask specific data fields, and prevent any level of data sharing.

Integrating secure enclaves provides an opportunity for organizations to increase both productivity and security measures. Multiple data owners can individually encrypt their entire data (including PII), pool it together, and analyze the collective data set within enclaves. Done effectively, multi-party collaboration can drive faster business results by enabling new and higher-quality insights.

4. Will I need to add additional security expertise to the team?

Implementing confidential computing workflows can be difficult to do directly without using existing tools and software. One needs to make sure that confidential data is protected throughout its lifecycle. This can have a variety of moving parts – from integrating with existing key management systems to managing secure enclave infrastructure, rewriting applications, deploying code securely and verifiably to the enclaves, and keeping confidential data encrypted in storage and in transit in/out of the enclaves. However, there is a rich emerging ISV ecosystem of software that alleviates the complexities of confidential computing for a rich variety of use cases, making it easy to use and adopt by non-experts.

5. Will I need to lock myself into a single cloud?

The top CPU vendors all introduced secure enclave and confidential computing solutions in recent years. These were adopted by the leading cloud vendors, some of which now offer solutions based on the same underlying technology. Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform, for example, offer solutions based on AMD’s SEV technology. As software solutions running on top of these cloud platforms evolve, application vendors will introduce cross-platform solutions powered by the common hardware layers.

Conclusion

Businesses considering adopting cloud technology can better do so with secure enclaves. By asking your CISO these five questions, businesses can move into the future, understand what implementing secure enclaves will look like, better secure their data, and create a more efficient analytics process.

This ongoing shift to the cloud will increase efficiency for companies and reduce human error – especially knowing 57% of businesses will move their workloads to the cloud before the end of the year. When secure enclaves are implemented properly, the crucial component of ensuring security is not sacrificed. All businesses working with data should consider integrating confidential computing into their models to allow for analytics and AI on encrypted data.

shield

Secure Processors Part I: Background, Taxonomy for Secure Enclaves and Intel SGX Architecture

Tags: cloud adoption, data protection, secure enclaves


Aug 31 2022

The Inevitability of Cloud Breaches: Tales of Real-World Cloud Attacks

Category: Cloud computingDISC @ 9:43 am

While cloud breaches are going to happen, that doesn’t mean we can’t do anything about them. By better understanding cloud attacks, organizations can better prepare for them.

Cloud computing
Source: Wavebreakmedia Ltd IW-210409 via Alamy Stock Photo

Cloud breaches are inevitable.

It’s the reality we live in. The last few years have demonstrated that breaches occur, no matter how much security organizations put in place. The increased complexity of organizations — where a single mistake or vulnerability can lead to a compromise — coupled with the increased motivation, sophistication, and dedication of attackers, means breaches are here to stay. At the same time, organizations are transitioning to the cloud, making attackers shift focus to rapidly increase their attacks on cloud environments.

While this means that cloud breaches are inevitable, that doesn’t mean we can’t do anything about them. By better understanding cloud attacks, organizations can better prepare for them. Then, hopefully, they can contain and respond to attacks faster, reducing their impact and averting a crisis.

This two-part series will explore real-world attacks that unravel, investigate, and share insights on practical ways organizations can respond to cloud attacks in today’s threat landscape.

SaaS Marketplace Hack Leads to Major Breach

In the last few years, software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms have been replacing traditional enterprise applications, making it easier for organizations to adopt and manage them. Part of the value such platforms provide is the ability to integrate and expand rapidly, supporting the ever-growing demands of users for more functionality. Further enhancing their platforms, SaaS vendors are creating a marketplace to allow third-party providers to add functionality and integration for its users. These marketplaces, however, can introduce substantial third-party risk, as can be seen in the following scenario.

After a company was notified by GitHub of a potential risk, GitHub didn’t provide any specific indicators of unauthorized access. Instead, GitHub provided only a generic notice that DeepSource, one of the apps the company had previously been using on the marketplace, was breached, making it hard to understand whether the organization was affected or not. An initial review done by the company of its GitHub logs did not help, as it could not see any access to its code by DeepSource.

The reason for this was rather simple — and it is at the heart of how many SaaS marketplaces operate. A few months before the breach, one of the company’s developers tried out the DeepSource app, wherein the developer granted DeepSource access to the code under his username. When the attackers used DeepSource’s access to download the entire code repository, what appeared in the logs was a pull request under the name of a legitimate user. The only indicator that it was malicious was the identification of an irregular IP address, which eventually was tied to other known attacks.

At this point, it became clear that the entire code repository had been stolen, and a full-blown response was needed to contain and recover from the breach. As with most code leakage cases, the immediate concern was access to secrets (passwords/keys) in the code. While it is generally bad practice to have hardcoded secrets in code, it is still a common practice by many — and this case was no different. By identifying the relevant secrets in the code, the next steps of the attackers — which, as expected, started accessing some of the Amazon Web Services (AWS) infrastructure — was predicted. By quickly identifying them, the company was able to block access to all relevant resources, contain the breach, and recover before more damage could be done.

Cryptominer Injected into a Virtual Machine Template

What if one could mine cryptocurrency at somebody else’s expense? This idea is at the heart of many cryptomining attacks we see today, where attackers take over cloud resources, then run cryptominers on them collecting cryptocurrency while the hacked organization pays the cloud compute bills for it.

In a recent incident, a company had identified unknown files on 18 AWS EC2 machines they were running in the cloud. Looking at the files, it became clear they had fallen victim to the ongoing TeamTNT Watchdog cryptomining campaign. It was initially unclear how the attackers managed to infect so many EC2 instances, but as the investigation unfolded, it became apparent that instead of targeting individual machines, the attackers targeted the Amazon Machine Image (AMI) template used to create each machine. During the creation of the original image, there was a short time where a service was misconfigured, allowing remote access. TeamTNT used automatic tools to scan the network, identify it, and immediately place the miners there, which then got duplicated to every new machine created.

This highlights another common attack pattern: implanting cryptominers in publicly available AMIs through the Amazon marketplace.

As demonstrated by these cases, cloud attacks are here to stay. They’re different from what we’re used to observing, so it’s time to better prepare for their arrival. Stay tuned for part two, where we will dive into cloud ransomware and how to avoid it.

Cloud computing

https://

/cloud/the-inevitability-of-cloud-breaches-tales-of-real-world-cloud-attacks-

Practical Cloud Security

Tags: cloud security, Practical Cloud Security


Jul 27 2022

Alkira Partners With Fortinet to Secure Cloud Networks

Category: Cloud computingDISC @ 8:46 am

Alkira today announced it has integrated its cloud service for connecting multiple networks with firewalls from Fortinet.

Announced at the AWS re:Inforce event, the integration makes it possible to automate the configuration and deployment of Fortinet firewalls via the FortiManager platform using a control plane that integrates with the networking services provided by multiple cloud service providers.

Ahmed Datoo, chief marketing officer for Alkira, said the alliance with Fortinet is in addition to existing support for firewalls from Palo Alto Network.

Alkira is making a case for a control plane for cloud networking that integrates with the application programming interfaces (API) exposed by various cloud service providers. As a result, there is no need for an IT team to deploy agent software on each cloud service to integrate the Alkira service, noted Datoo.

As organizations increasingly deploy workloads across multiple clouds, managing and securing each of the networks that cloud service providers give them access to has become challenging. The Alkira platform is designed to provide a single pane of glass for configuring networking and security services spanning multiple clouds, said Datoo. Those organizations can either use the frameworks provided by vendors such as Fortinet to manage individual elements or use an instance of the open source Terraform tool to programmatically invoke services, he noted.

The challenge organizations face when using multiple clouds is that each one is typically managed in isolation. As a result, IT teams find themselves dedicating IT staff to mastering the various tools required to manage these platforms. Over time, however, the total cost of IT starts to rise as each cloud platform is added to the extended enterprise. Alkira reduces those costs by unifying the provisioning and management of multiple cloud networks, said Datoo. It’s up to each IT organization to decide which cloud platform to use to deploy the Alkira platform to accomplish that goal, he added.

The alliance between Alkira and Fortinet is only the latest example of the convergence of network and security operations. While cybersecurity teams are still needed to define security policies, much of the routine management of firewalls and other security platforms is now handled by network operations—in part, to make up for the chronic shortage of cybersecurity personnel. Network operations, meanwhile, are slowly being integrated with other IT operations workflows to enable organizations to programmatically manage entire IT environments without requiring as many dedicated network specialists.

In the meantime, the attack surface that security teams are being asked to secure continues to expand in the age of the cloud. The issue, of course, is that the size of most organizations’ security teams remains constrained. The only way to secure all those cloud environments at scale is to rethink the entire approach to security operations. In most cases, those approaches were defined in an era where most workloads were deployed on on-premises IT environments that, in comparison, were comparatively simple to secure.

Cloud Security Handbook: Find out how to effectively secure cloud environments using AWS, Azure, and GCP

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Tags: Alkira, cloud security, Fortinet, Secure Cloud Networks


May 06 2022

Vulnerable Docker Installations Are A Playhouse for Malware Attacks

Category: Cloud computing,MalwareDISC @ 8:31 am

Uptycs researchers identified ongoing malicious campaigns through our Docker honeypot targeting exposed Docker API.

The Uptycs Threat Research team has identified ongoing malicious campaigns through our Docker honeypot targeting exposed Docker API port 2375. The attacks are related to crypto miners and reverse shells on the vulnerable servers using base64-encoded commands in the cmdline, built to evade defense mechanisms. This article briefly discusses three types of attacks which we observed lately in our Docker honeypot.

  • Coinminer attacks
  • Reverse shell attacks
  • Kinsing malware attacks

Case 1 – Coinminer Attacks 

The coinminer attack chain involves several shell scripts to drop malicious components via deployment of legitimate Docker images on the vulnerable servers (the servers exposed to Docker API). 

Malicious Shell Scripts Involved In The Campaign

The threat actors tried to run the Alpine Docker image with chroot command to gain full privileges on the vulnerable server host (a common misconfiguration). The attacker passed curl utility as an argument to the Alpine image which downloads and runs the malicious shell script (hash: 

) on the vulnerable server host as shown below (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: honeypot log – command ran by attacker on the vulnerable server

Cronb.sh (the miner script)

Securing Docker: The Attack and Defense Way

Securing Docker: The Attack and Defense Way by [Nitin Sharma, Jeremy Martin, Daniel Traci]

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