One of the biggest IT revolutions in recent times is the introduction of cloud computing. Thousands of firms globally have jumped on the cloud computing bandwagon, to take advantage of the benefits to be gained from relying on programs and sites on the internet to fulfil many business functions. But does this come at a cost? As cyber criminals turn their fraudulent activities towards the cloud, is it a risky business to be getting involved in?
Why is cloud computing an easy target?
Cyber criminals are pretty canny. They like to follow the latest trends and demands of what people are doing or using in order to exploit criminal activity. As more and more businesses store data on the cloud, and use the cloud for many daily functions, cyber criminals are turning their attention to exploiting opportunities that could result in attacks and fraudulent activity.
Cloud computing has become an easy target because a lot of data is stored in one place. This makes for an attractive proposition to anyone with evil intent. A lot of the data stored is often of a confidential nature, making an attack to steal identity theft or financial data very lucrative.
The relative quick rise in cloud technology, and the increase in the number of cloud service providers, may also mean that the strategies in place to tackle cybercrime on the cloud may not have evolved at the same rate as the general growth in overall usage. There may not be a consistent approach amongst cloud providers to investing time and effort into curbing cyber attacks, which equally thwarts the issue.
How are cybercriminals attacking the cloud?
As with any activity involving fraudulent behaviour, especially where the internet is concerned, criminals are using ever sophisticated methods in their endeavours.
Some criminals are attacking systems, so that they are bringing them to a halt or grinding them down to a slow speed. The attacks have the capability to overwhelm a network’s infrastructure, exhausting resources in serves, load balancers and firewalls – leaving many organisations very vulnerable.
Many people who open accounts with cloud providers may not be who they say they are, and they may hijack individual accounts and steal company data or an individual identity.
The flexibility and freedom enjoyed by many organisations to conduct their banking operations online has also seen the rise in online banking theft. The fraudulent campaigns employed have resulted in money being siphoned out of victims’ accounts through automated transfers. The sophisticated use of phishing emails, trojans and malware have seen many innocent online bankers falling into the cybercriminal’s vicious web of deceit.
So does this all mean that cloud computing is flawed? The important thing to remember is that fraudulent activities occur in all platforms of life, and the internet is just one area that has become a target in more recent times.
With so many benefits to be gained from using cloud computing, it’s not logical to dismiss using the cloud because of the threat of a cyber attack. However, what you might want to consider is for what purposes you use the cloud for, and reduce reliance on sensitive or vulnerable data. You might also want to question what measures your provider has in place for security and back-ups, etc, in case a cyber attack does occur.
When not writing blog posts for CWCS, Crispin Jones loves nothing more than to read about the very same topics he writes about from hosting to servers to wordpress and SEO.