Newly published research from security firm Rapid7 is painting a worrying picture of hackers and malicious actors increasingly looking for new vectors against organizations with resources hosted in public cloud infrastructure environments.
Some highlights of Rapid7’s report:
- The six cloud providers in our study make up nearly 15% of available IPv4 addresses on the internet.
- 22% of Softlayer nodes expose database services (MySQL & SQL Server) directly to the internet.
- Web services are prolific, with 53-80% of nodes in each provider exposing some type of web service.
- Digital Ocean and Google nodes expose shell (Telnet & SSH) services at a much higher rate – 86% and 74%, respectively – than the other four cloud providers in this study.
- A wide range of attacks were detected, including ShellShock, SQL Injection, PHP webshell injection and credentials attacks against ssh, Telnet and remote framebuffer (e.g. VNC, RDP & Citrix).
Findings included nearly a quarter of hosts deployed in IBM’s SoftLayer public cloud having databases publicly accessible over the internet, which should be a privacy and security concern to those organization and their customers.
Many of Google’s cloud customers leaving shell access publicly accessible over protocols such as SSH and much worse still, telnet which is worrying to say the least.
Businesses using the public cloud being increasingly probed by outsiders looking for well known vulnerabilities such as OpenSSL Heartbleed (CVE-2014-0160), Stagefright (CVE-2015-1538) and Poodle (CVE-2014-3566) to name but a few.
Digging further into their methodologies, looking to see whether these were random or targeted. It appears these actors are honing their skills in tailoring their probes and attacks to specific providers and organisations.
Rapid7’s research was conducted by means of honey traps, hosts and services made available solely for the purpose of capturing untoward activity with a view to studying how these malicious outsiders do their work. What’s more the company has partnered with Microsoft, Amazon and others under the auspices of projects Heisenberg and Sonar to leverage big data analytics to mine the results of their findings and scan the internet for trends.
Case in point project Heisenberg saw the deployment of honeypots in every geography in partnership with all major public cloud providers. And scanned for compromised digital certifcates in those environments. While project Sonar scanned millions of digital certificates on the internet for sings of the same.
However while the report leads to clear evidence showing that hackers are tailoring their attacks to different providers and organisations. It reads as somewhat more of an indictment of the poor standard of security being deployed by some organisations in the public cloud today. Than a statement on the security practices of the major providers.