Cloud computing security woes

Security experts are blaming cloud computing providers for giving cyber criminals the tools to launch attacks more easily, efficiently and anonymously than ever before.


Speaking at the fourth InfoSecurity Summit in Hong Kong on Tuesday, [April 24, 2012,] SC Leung – a senior consultant at the city-state’s Computer Emergency Response Team said attackers are making the most of the technology.

“They are using it more efficiently for web hosting and they can subscribe to cloud services to get bandwidth on demand,” Leung said.

“They can hack computers thanks to the computing power of Amazon and it’s very hard to trace them. We need to solve this problem with the cloud service providers.”

This isn’t the first time Amazon took heat for helping out the bad guys. Hackers used Amazon's EC2 service who broke into Sony’s Playstation Network last year and accessed data on over 77 million users. They supplied fake information to the cloud computing giant.

Infosecurity practitioners at the event also said they are losing the battle against zero-day threats (security vulnerabilities disclosed before anyone can test and deploy updates), adding that the cyber criminals are better resourced, faster and more agile than themselves.

“It’s a question of how fast organizations can patch versus how fast malware writers can write malware,” said SH Lim, head of information security at the Hong Kong Jockey Club.

“How do we test our apps in just five days? Do we do a self denial-of-service by causing an app to fail because we don’t test a patch before applying it?”

Siu Fai Leung, senior vice president of security services in Asia at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, argued IT teams actually need exposure to plenty of malware to hone their defenses.

“Like humans we can’t survive without any viruses. If you don’t have an incident how can you make sure you’re protected?” he said. “A drill is a drill but when it comes to real life situations you need to put your systems to the test.”

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