Cloud account hijacking is a type of cyber attack that targets cloud-based services, such as online storage and software applications. The aim of these attacks is to gain unauthorized access to an individual or organization’s cloud account, steal sensitive data, or use the account for malicious purposes. In this article, we will discuss what cloud account hijacking is and how to protect against it.
Cloud account hijacking is a growing threat to organizations, as more and more businesses rely on cloud-based services to store and process data. Hackers use a variety of techniques to gain access to cloud accounts, such as phishing, social engineering, or exploiting vulnerabilities in cloud software. Once inside the account, they can steal sensitive data, such as financial information, trade secrets, or personal data.
The consequences of cloud account hijacking can be severe. In addition to the financial losses and reputational damage that can result from a data breach, companies may also face legal and regulatory penalties for failing to protect their customers’ data.
Cloud account hijacking poses a significant threat to businesses across various industries. According to recent research, 86% of IT leaders reported that this type of cybercrime has cost them over $500,000 in the past year alone.
Furthermore, account hijacking incidents are not uncommon. The study also revealed that the average organization experiences approximately 64 cloud account breaches each year, with approximately one-third of these leading to the exposure of sensitive data.
One of the most widely publicized examples of cloud account hijacking is the Capital One data breach. In this incident, a former Amazon software engineer utilized a server-side request forgery (SSRF) attack to obtain the login credentials of an employee who had access to sensitive data in an Amazon S3 bucket.
The stolen information included financial details from 100 million credit card applications. In the aftermath of the successful breach, Capital One was fined $80 million, and customer lawsuits resulted in a settlement of $190 million.
So, how can you protect against cloud account hijacking? Here are some tips:
- Enable MFA: Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is an effective authentication tool that requires users to verify their identity using two or more methods before accessing corporate resources like cloud applications. MFA can help prevent common cloud hijacking tactics such as brute force attacks. You should also enforce strong password policies, such as mandatory password changes every six weeks. If MFA is challenging to implement, consider implementing a company policy that encourages employees to verify wire transfer requests by calling the recipient.
- Implement the principles of least privilege and zero trust: Zero Trust requires that all networks, devices, and users are treated as untrusted until they can authenticate their identity to access corporate resources. The principle of least privilege is another essential aspect of zero trust, ensuring that employees have just enough corporate access to fulfill their job duties but cannot access unnecessary sensitive files. This approach makes it more difficult for cybercriminals to steal data using any employee’s account. Restrict access to cloud services to authorized users and ensure that each service is secure, only authorized users have access to services, and all credentials and passwords are secured. Additional layers of protection, such as cloud access security brokers (CASBs) and next-gen firewalls, can also be utilized.
- Embrace cloud tokenization: When protecting regulated data such as credit card details, personally identifiable information (PII), and government or health codes, many companies are adopting cloud tokenization to support encryption tools.
By adopting these measures, you can help mitigate the risks of cloud account hijacking and ensure the safety of your organization’s sensitive data.