Facebook Google Plus Twitter LinkedIn YouTube RSS Menu Search Resource - BlogResource - WebinarResource - ReportResource - Eventicons_066 icons_067icons_068icons_069icons_070

Tenable Blog

Subscribe

Google: Monitor These Emerging Cloud Security Challenges in 2023

Google: Monitor These Emerging Cloud Security Challenges in 2023

A new report from Google outlines a set of evolving threats that cloud security teams should keep an eye on in the new year.

In its latest “Threat Horizons” report, Google’s Cybersecurity Action Team details cloud security trends that it expects will have an impact in 2023 in areas including identity and access management (IAM), data backups and operational technology (OT.)

In this blog, we take a look at several of the trends discussed in the report, whose insights are aimed at helping cloud security teams increase their knowledge of emerging threats and improve their defense strategies.

Cloud providers’ IP addresses and open ports targeted with malware

After analyzing 2022 Q2 and Q3 data from its VirusTotal malware analysis service, Google found 6,000 malware samples actively communicating with Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS).

The malware samples, which were trying to contact either cloud services or customer-created workloads hosted by these three cloud service providers (CSPs), used either pre-specified or randomly selected IP addresses and TCP/IP ports.

“The malware also at times tried to hide its activities among legitimate services by communicating to CSPs using well-known ports, as well as by explicitly utilizing TLS,” the report reads.

Mitigation recommendations include:

  • Monitor and restrict inbound and internal cloud network communications
  • Use hardened virtual machine images
  • Review cloud instance audit events for unexpected administrative or user activities

VPNs at risk from APT10 group

APT10, a cyber espionage threat actor sponsored by China, has fine-tuned its attacks, advancing from basic cloud account hijacking to more sophisticated compromising of virtual private network (VPN) technologies, according to Google.

By evolving its techniques in this manner, APT10, also known as MenuPass, is able to target the many organizations that rely on VPNs to protect connections in their hybrid on-prem/cloud environments.

“APT10’s ability to leverage both open source and custom tooling to target an organization’s unique infrastructure composition make them highly adept at identifying the inevitable weak spots of hybrid enterprises,” reads the report.

Google recommends that cybersecurity teams focus on and become experts not just on specific malicious technologies, but also on state-sponsored groups like APT10 that specialize in specific attacks – infrastructure access and control in APT10’s case.

OT systems to see increase in cloud attacks

The OT systems that control industrial operations are getting more and more integrated with cloud infrastructure. As a result, Google expects attackers to jump on this attack-surface expansion and attempt to breach OT systems via the cloud.

Recommended mitigations include:

  • Make architecture design changes, such as: 
    • segmenting OT networks in a way that allows administrators to monitor and analyze their traffic in a way similar to internal IT networks
    • Divide cloud services into different blocks and workload levels
    • Ensure that OT data stored in the cloud is encapsulated and encrypted
  • Assess the risks involved in integrating OT assets with the cloud
  • Set up redundancy mechanisms and data backups
  • Adapt procedures and train security staff to respond quickly to incidents involving cloud attacks against OT systems

Attackers zero-in on backups

To boost the impact of their ransomware attacks, threat actors are increasingly aiming to destroy victims’ data backups and interfere with tools used to create and manage backups. 

To better protect these backup data stores and systems, Google recommendations include:

  • Establish a cloud-specific backup strategy that, in addition to including data and machine-state backups, also contains configurations and templates of stored assets
  • To prevent account compromises from providing attackers with a direct path to backup systems, configure IAM permissions to segment the access and roles for creating, deleting and changing backups
  • Encrypt all backups and segregate key access roles

Cloud compromise trends

The report also looks at the top cloud compromise factors and at the most frequently targeted cloud software in 2022’s third quarter, both based on Google Cloud Platform customer data.

With regards to the cloud compromise factors, Google found that weak or non-existent passwords ranks at the top, the incidence of API key compromises has grown.

Google outlines top cloud compromise factors

(Source: "Threat Horizons" report from Google's Cybersecurity Action Team, January 2023)

Meanwhile, Google has seen a growing diversity in the most commonly targeted cloud software.

Google unpacks cloud security trends for 2023

(Source: "Threat Horizons" report from Google's Cybersecurity Action Team, January 2023)

For more information, read the report and a commentary about it from Google Senior Security Advisor Anton Chuvakin.

To learn more about cloud security challenges and trends:

VIDEOS:

Cloud Security for Dummies (SANS Institute)

Finding Cloud Security Balance and Perfecting Your Cloud Strategy (Cloud Security Alliance)

Related Articles

Are You Vulnerable to the Latest Exploits?

Enter your email to receive the latest cyber exposure alerts in your inbox.

tenable.io

Enjoy full access to a modern, cloud-based vulnerability management platform that enables you to see and track all of your assets with unmatched accuracy.

Your Tenable.io Vulnerability Management trial also includes Tenable Lumin, Tenable.io Web Application Scanning and Tenable.cs Cloud Security.

tenable.io BUY

Enjoy full access to a modern, cloud-based vulnerability management platform that enables you to see and track all of your assets with unmatched accuracy. Purchase your annual subscription today.

65 assets

Choose Your Subscription Option:

Buy Now

Try Nessus Professional Free

FREE FOR 7 DAYS

Nessus® is the most comprehensive vulnerability scanner on the market today. Nessus Professional will help automate the vulnerability scanning process, save time in your compliance cycles and allow you to engage your IT team.

Buy Nessus Professional

Nessus® is the most comprehensive vulnerability scanner on the market today. Nessus Professional will help automate the vulnerability scanning process, save time in your compliance cycles and allow you to engage your IT team.

Buy a multi-year license and save. Add Advanced Support for access to phone, community and chat support 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Select Your License

Buy a multi-year license and save.

Add Support and Training

Tenable.io

Enjoy full access to a modern, cloud-based vulnerability management platform that enables you to see and track all of your assets with unmatched accuracy.

Your Tenable.io Vulnerability Management trial also includes Tenable Lumin, Tenable.io Web Application Scanning and Tenable.cs Cloud Security.

Tenable.io BUY

Enjoy full access to a modern, cloud-based vulnerability management platform that enables you to see and track all of your assets with unmatched accuracy. Purchase your annual subscription today.

65 assets

Choose Your Subscription Option:

Buy Now

Try Tenable.io Web Application Scanning

Enjoy full access to our latest web application scanning offering designed for modern applications as part of the Tenable.io platform. Safely scan your entire online portfolio for vulnerabilities with a high degree of accuracy without heavy manual effort or disruption to critical web applications. Sign up now.

Your Tenable Web Application Scanning trial also includes Tenable.io Vulnerability Management, Tenable Lumin and Tenable.cs Cloud Security.

Buy Tenable.io Web Application Scanning

Enjoy full access to a modern, cloud-based vulnerability management platform that enables you to see and track all of your assets with unmatched accuracy. Purchase your annual subscription today.

5 FQDNs

$3,578

Buy Now

Try Tenable.io Container Security

Enjoy full access to the only container security offering integrated into a vulnerability management platform. Monitor container images for vulnerabilities, malware and policy violations. Integrate with continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) systems to support DevOps practices, strengthen security and support enterprise policy compliance.

Buy Tenable.io Container Security

Tenable.io Container Security seamlessly and securely enables DevOps processes by providing visibility into the security of container images – including vulnerabilities, malware and policy violations – through integration with the build process.

Try Tenable Lumin

Visualize and explore your Cyber Exposure, track risk reduction over time and benchmark against your peers with Tenable Lumin.

Your Tenable Lumin trial also includes Tenable.io Vulnerability Management, Tenable.io Web Application Scanning and Tenable.cs Cloud Security.

Buy Tenable Lumin

Contact a Sales Representative to see how Lumin can help you gain insight across your entire organization and manage cyber risk.

Try Tenable.cs

Enjoy full access to detect and fix cloud infrastructure misconfigurations and view runtime vulnerabilities. Sign up for your free trial now.

Your Tenable.cs Cloud Security trial also includes Tenable.io Vulnerability Management, Tenable Lumin and Tenable.io Web Application Scanning.

Contact a Sales Rep to Buy Tenable.cs

Contact a Sales Representative to learn more about Tenable.cs Cloud Security and see how easy it is to onboard your cloud accounts and get visibility into both cloud misconfigurations and vulnerabilities within minutes.

Try Nessus Expert Free

FREE FOR 7 DAYS

Built for the modern attack surface, Nessus Expert enables you to see more and protect your organization from vulnerabilities from IT to the cloud.

Already have Nessus Professional?
Upgrade to Nessus Expert free for 7 days.

Buy Nessus Expert

Built for the modern attack surface, Nessus Expert enables you to see more and protect your organization from vulnerabilities from IT to the cloud.

Select Your License

Promotional pricing extended until February 28th.
Buy a multi-year license and save more.

Add Support and Training