There is rarely a company today that has not at least part of their environment in the cloud. Migrating to the cloud provides many benefits for organizations, including increased security since attackers tend to focus their malware efforts on attacking on-premises servers. However, cloud malware is on the rise and your organization needs the right tools and practices to protect your environment against it. In this post, we’ll explore the current challenges of malware protection in the cloud and give you tips for prevention.
Current Challenges in Cloud Security
The pandemic pushed companies into digitally transforming, migrating in droves to the cloud. Companies rapidly adopting cloud platforms and applications results in new security risks to take care of.
Attackers are in the cloud too
Your company has workloads in the cloud. There’s where your adversary lurks, looking at how to gain access to your data.
Attackers are focusing their efforts on cloud environments since this is where lucrative sensitive data and workloads are stored.
While most companies migrate to the cloud in an effort to strengthen their security, malicious actors discover that they can compromise cloud applications and assets with malware and Trojans. Once they gain access to a cloud, they move on compromising more sensitive assets. Thus, it is not a surprise that attacks against cloud-based accounts soared in 2020. According to McAfee, there were almost 3.1 million attacks on cloud user accounts in 2020.
The challenge of the shared responsibility model
Cloud providers work under a shared responsibility model. Although the model is widely known, it is often confusing to understand where the responsibilities of the provider end and the client begin.
Shared responsibility means the provider is responsible for the security of the cloud infrastructure, including storage, network, and service layers. The client organization is responsible for the security in their cloud environment, managing access controls, applications, accounts, and data.
Who is responsible for securing cloud workloads against malware attacks? In public clouds, this responsibility falls on the side of the organization. Therefore, companies usually don’t have adequate protection of their cloud environment against malware and advanced threats.
Current solutions are inadequate for advanced malware threats
Most organizations will deploy cloud workload protection and anti-malware solutions in an attempt to prevent malicious packages from entering their cloud. The problem with cloud workload protection solutions is that when finding malware, it will send it to the sandbox, isolate the asset and try to eliminate the malicious file.
These tactics don’t protect against related threats. How do you know if the malware succeeded in moving laterally? Do you know if there are compromised credentials as a result of the malware? Security agents provide no insight into related assets. In addition, most malware scans will only identify known threats, resulting in limited insights.
Best Practices for Detecting and Analyzing Malware in the Cloud
The latest supply-chain attacks showed attackers learned how to use the cloud to spread malware. What can you do to protect your organization? Here are some best practices to prevent malware:
1. Keep your systems and software updated and patched
Ensure all your systems and applications are patched regularly and have the latest updates installed. Be more strict with assets exposed to the public Internet, for example, your website. It may sound simple, but this will reduce vulnerabilities and security gaps attackers can exploit.
2. Control who accesses your cloud
Enforce the principle of least privilege in your Identity and Access Management for your cloud. Review periodically and reassign roles according to need-to-know, need-to-access.
3. Encrypt everything
All data, both at rest and in transit, should be encrypted. This should include your data in the cloud and on-premises.
4. Enforce security awareness
Considering that most attacks start because of a user falling to phishing or inadvertently clicking a malicious link, this may be one of the most effective measures to prevent attackers from accessing your organization. Increase your employee’s training to recognize and manage risks so they are part of your defence lines.
Why Using Use a Next-Gen Malware Analysis Software May Be the Solution
Legacy malware analysis products are highly ineffective against modern malware tactics. Typically, an organization would use a solution for malware analysis, another for sandboxing, and so on. The lack of orchestration often creates more problems than solutions. Security analysts need to manage several tools at the same time. A complete platform may eliminate many issues of legacy and outdated antimalware products. Look for a solution that gives you detailed answers about malicious files, identifying them quickly so your security team can act promptly.
Intezer malware analysis software provides in-depth malware detection and identification. The platform provides the context surrounding malware activity, tactics, family, and more. This enables security analysts to know for sure what type of malware they are facing.
Protecting your organization against cloud malware is not an easy feat. It requires strong scanning and analysis tools, a good dose of cybersecurity hygiene, and following cybersecurity best practices. Combined, these strategies can help your security analysts to promptly identify, respond and remediate malware attacks.