The price of popularity: Cloud security threats near on-premise levels

Hackers are now targeting cloud-based apps and systems almost as much as on-premise environments, particularly with so-called brute force attacks and vulnerability scans.

It was only a matter of time.


The latest cloud security report from security-as-a-service provider Alert Logic brings little comfort to enterprise CIOs who have embraced the cloud and all its advantages to store, manage and distribute company data.

Research culled from 2,200 customers found that brute force attacks on cloud environments jumped from 30 percent to 44 percent last year while vulnerability scans rose from 27 percent to 44 percent. Alert Logic researchers said this is especially troubling – and telling – because these attacks have historically been far more likely to target on-premise systems and applications.

"As more enterprise workloads have moved into cloud and hosted infrastructures, some traditional on-premises threats have followed them," Stephen Coty, Alert Logic's chief security evangelist, said in the report. "This reinforces the necessity for enterprise-grade security solutions specifically designed to protect cloud environments."

Security remains the single largest obstacle to mass cloud adoption among enterprise companies because executives are understandably reluctant to entrust the heart and soul of their businesses to third-party cloud infrastructure providers.

Alert Logic researchers deployed honeypots – decoy servers used to gather security threat data – in public cloud infrastructures around the world to get a better sense of the frequency and intensity of cloud-targeting attacks.

It found that 14 percent of malware collected through the honeypots was considered "undetectable" by 51 percent of the leading antivirus software providers and that European cloud and hosting environments were targeted four-times as often U.S. infrastructures.

Also botnet attacks, the most common threat found in on-premise datacenters, jumped from 5 percent to 11 percent in cloud environments last year.

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