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Cloud Misconfiguration is Still the Leading Source of Cloud Data Violations

 

Almost everybody by now is workings from home and 84 percent are worried that new security vulnerabilities have been generated with the quick move towards 100 percent remote working. 

Cloud service providers built their administration panels' user interface purposefully to mislead consumers and charge for more services than originally intended. 

Although it was never demonstrated as a systematic business strategy, reports and alerts of a data breach have overwhelmed the internet in recent years since a cloud-based database has indeed been misconfigured and confidential information ultimately leaked. 

Throughout the past month, Censys, a security company that specializes in census-like inspections on the internet, looked closely at the cloud-based services, hoping to uncover what the best potential origin of misconfiguration might be for cloud-based businesses. As per the study, Censys has found over 1.93 million cloud server databases that have been displayed publicly without even any firewall or other authentication measures. The security company arguments that threat actors will discover and target these databases utilizing older vulnerability exploits. In addition, if the database was unintentionally leaked, it could also use a weak or even no password at all, disclosing it to all those who have detected its IP address. 

Censys reported having been used to scan MySQL, Postgres, Redis, MSSQL, MongoDB, Elasticsearch, Memcached, and Oracle and that nearly 60 percent of all disclosed servers were MySQL databases which represent 1.15 million of the 1.93 million overall exposed DBs. 

The security agency also searched to find ports that could also be exposed by clouds service as they are normally used for remote management applications like SSH, RDP, VNC, SMB, Telnet, Team Viewer, and PC Anywhere. Censys retained that access to all these remote managing port must not be easily discovered but rather secured by Access Control Lists, VPN tunnel, or other traffic filtering solutions, although the underlying cause of these applications is that the systems can be remotely logged into. 

Another very significant discovery was indeed the virtual exposure of the RDP login screens by more than 1.93 million servers. 

Microsoft and several others have also indicated that many violations of security have also been caused by attackers obtaining access to an enterprise through compromised RDP credentials. Which included attacks on a broad range of actors, including DDoS botnets, crypto mining activities, ransomware gangs, and government-funded actors. 

Most organizations do not operate internally with just one cloud services provider infrastructure, but instead use several solutions, many of which might not have the same access or default settings, allowing several systems to become accessible even though IT personnel are not supposed to do so. While some cloud providers have taken measures to improve their dashboards and to clarify how those controls operate, the wording of each cloud provider is still substantially different, and some system administrators are still often confused. 

Censys said, “it expects the issue of misconfigured services to remain a big problem for companies going forward.”

33.4 Billion Records Exposed In Breaches Due To Cloud Misconfigurations?


With the rise in the number of records ‘exposed’ by cloud misconfigurations year after year from 2018 to 2019 by 80%, there is an evident ascent in the total cost to organizations related with those lost records. As organizations keep on embracing cloud services quite swiftly however they neglect to implement legitimate cloud security measures, sadly, specialists anticipate that this upward trend would remain.


Charles “C.J.” Spallitta, Chief Product Officer at eSentire says, “The rush to adopt cloud services has created new opportunities for attackers – and attackers are evolving faster than companies can protect themselves. The fact that we have seen a 42% increase from 2018 to 2019 in cloud-related breaches attributed to misconfiguration issues proves that attackers are leveraging the opportunity to exploit cloud environments that are not sufficiently hardened. This trend is expected to continue as more organizations move to the cloud,”

“Additionally, common misconfiguration errors that occur in cloud components expand and advance the attacker workflow. Real-time threat monitoring in cloud assets is critical, given the unprecedented rate of scale and nature of cloud services. Organizations should seek-out security services that distill the noise from on-premise and cloud-based security tools while providing broad visibility to enable rapid response when threats are found,” Spallitta concluded.


Key report findings: 
  1. 81 breaches in 2018; 115 in 2019 – a 42% increase
  2. Tech companies had the most data breaches at 41%, followed by healthcare at 20%, and government at 10%; hospitality, finance, retail, education, and business services all came in at under 10% each
  3. 68% of the affected companies were founded prior to 2010, while only 6.6% were founded in 2015 or later
  4. 73 (nearly 42%) of known affected companies experienced a merger or acquisition (M&A) transaction between 2015 and 2019, which indicates cloud security is an area of risk for companies involved in merging disparate IT environments
  5. Elasticsearch misconfigurations accounted for 20% of all breaches, but these incidents accounted for 44% of all records exposed
  6. The number of breaches caused by Elasticsearch misconfigurations nearly tripled from 2018 to 2019
  7. S3 bucket misconfigurations accounted for 16% of all breaches, however, there were 45% fewer misconfigured S3 servers in 2019 compared to 2018 
  8. MongoDB misconfigurations accounted for 12% of all incidents, and the number of misconfigured MongoDB instances nearly doubled YoY