What is Cloud Jacking All About?

3 min read

The cloud has quickly become the primary location for businesses’ daily operations. Employees who work in the office, as well as those who work remotely, have access to cloud-based productivity tools that store the majority of their company’s data. Approximately 94 per cent of all business organisations use cloud computing, and this percentage is roughly the same for small and medium-sized companies.

What is Cloud Jacking All About?

A variety of factors have fuelled the development of cloud-based software and services. Among these are the requirements to access data from any location, enhancement of the continuity of business operations, growing prevalence of the use of mobile devices in the workplace, and lockdowns caused by the pandemic.

However, as a result of the migration of data to cloud storage, cyber attackers have also reconfigured their targets. Cloud accounts are now being exploited for cloud jacking. This occurs when a hacker breaches and takes control of a user’s cloud application or web account. 

An example of one of these attacks would be a hacker gaining access to a user’s Microsoft 365 account and then sending phishing emails from the user’s attached email address. It is also possible that a criminal exploits a vulnerability in your company’s online accounting software and then steals money from your business’s bank account.

Why is Cloud Jacking a Huge Security Issue?

Why is Cloud Jacking a Huge Security Issue?

Colonial Pipeline was the victim of one of the most infamous cloud jacking incidents that occurred in recent history. An attack with ransomware, that rendered the pipeline inoperable for six days, led to widespread gasoline shortages and drove up the price of a gallon of gasoline across the country.

An incident involving cloud jacking was responsible for all of the damage. The business had an inactive virtual private network (VPN) account but had never fully closed it. Also, it lacked multi-factor authentication protection.  This is all it took for hackers to gain access to the account and spread ransomware across the network.

To begin, one needs a reliable authentication system to secure any asset that is in the cloud. In other words, there should be no weak passwords. Implementation of multi-factor authentication (also known as MFA) must become an industry standard when it comes to protecting cloud data.

It is interesting to note that MFA continues to show shockingly low adoption rates. This is partially it is frequently regarded as a tedious way to access one’s data. This trend is likely to begin to reverse in the near future as cloud-based security risks continue to rise in importance in the context of data protection policy.

How Can We Enable Protection Against Cloud Jacking?

There are some steps that can be taken to prevent cloud jacking. This applies to both individuals and business enterprises.

How Can We Enable Protection Against Cloud Jacking?

Enable and Force the Use of Multi-factor Authentication

Activating MFA, can drastically cut down on the risk of compromise of your cloud account. However, a surprising number of businesses don’t even bother with this one simple step. When a user logs in, they are sent a time-sensitive code that they must enter along with their login credentials.

A single sign-on (SSO) application is one way to cut down on the number of individual apps into which employees need to log in with MFA on a daily basis.

Additionally, MFA is beneficial in situations when a username and password or personal identification number (PIN) is required. This includes anything that can only be accessed by a username, password, or PIN, such as devices, programmes, and websites. The resource will be safer if it has an additional level of authentication (MFA).

Monitoring Logins with a Security Software

Since employees utilise a wide variety of cloud accounts, it can be challenging for employers to keep track of all of them, much less ensure, that they are adequately protected. The implementation of cloud access security software, such as Microsoft Cloud App Security, can help the process run more smoothly.

Some of the benefits that come along with using this kind of technology are as follows:

  • Ensures that all cloud applications adhere to the same security policies.
  • Can limit user access to installed applications on the device
  • There is record and monitoring of the app access in order to identify any unauthorised login attempts.
  • Can assist with any privacy or compliance requirements 
  • Detects the usage of shadow IT apps 
  • Provides only required privileges for the users

Using the law of least privilege, one can limit a hacker’s ability to do damage by the user password that they obtain.

According to this rule, corporations should only provide users with the minimum level of privilege available in an account, which is essential for them to execute their job. This rule was created to prevent users from abusing their privileges. If a user simply needs to enter the data into a CRM and does not need to add users or customise fields, then that person does not require an admin-level privilege in the CRM.

Minimise your risk and restrict what a hacker can perform by having more low-level accounts and fewer high-level accounts, as they are more difficult for hackers to access.

Always Store Local Copies of the Data

Your company requires a hybrid backup strategy. In this, there is backup storage, both locally and in the cloud, so that it can protect itself against the possibility of losing data. 

This method is known in the business world as the 3-2-1 backup rule. It requires data storage in three different locations, on two different types of media, with one backup kept offsite in a location such as a cloud. There are a few different considerations to take into account when developing a hybrid strategy.

There is always the possibility that you will face a backup compromise due to a cyberattack, regardless of the security precautions that your IT team and cloud provider have put into place to protect your data.

Bottomline

In the case of cloud jacking, the best course of action is to make a plan that helps minimise the risk and limits the harm that can occur. We are going to keep relying on cloud storage. We will keep storing and processing sensitive information within the cloud in the foreseeable future. Therefore, rather than ignoring the risk, one should foresee and manage it in an acceptable manner. 

It should come as no surprise that utilising usernames and passwords, as a measure of protection, has become obsolete due to their decreased effectiveness. To begin, there should be the use different options, and one should establish an additional defence. An attacker will have a more difficult time in gaining access to your data and resources stored in the public cloud if you use multi-factor authentication.

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