Building Resilience: 2024 Security Predictions for the Cloud – Security News – Trend Micro

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By Alfredo Oliveira, David Fiser, Nitesh Surana, Magno Oliveira, Pawan Kinger

Welcome to 2024, a year in which the wonders of cloud computing, machine learning and artificial intelligence, once hailed for their groundbreaking potential, now face new challenges.

Imagine this: data poisoning, a threat that could compromise the very core of these systems like a hidden flaw in a masterpiece painting, is not just a technical problem; it’s a threat to the reliability and effectiveness of the technologies we rely on daily.

At the same time, the backbone of our digital world, the APIs, are increasingly under siege. It’s like leaving the doors to our digital homes unlocked, inviting risks we can’t afford to ignore. And as cloud-native technologies like Kubernetes gain momentum, they’re also opening new pathways for threats – imagine cloud-native worms that can spread silently and swiftly using the victims’ premisses as their own infrastructure.

Side channel attacks, often overlooked in the past, have now become a real concern. These attacks are like cunning thieves exploiting the smallest gaps in our defenses, targeting the physical foundations of our computing systems. And let’s not forget the seemingly minor misconfigurations in cloud services, which, like overlooked cracks in a dam, can lead to devastating consequences.

In the realm of authentication, token-based systems, which are fundamental to verifying our digital identities, are now increasingly manipulated by threat actors, leaving organizations vulnerable to data breaches and unauthorized access.

Perhaps most critically, the software supply chain and CI/CD systems, the lifelines of software development and deployment, are under constant threat. Attackers are relentlessly innovating ways to breach these systems, targeting everything from third-party libraries to container orchestration platforms. As Managed Service Providers (MSPs) and Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) grapple with these challenges, the responsibility for security becomes a shared burden, requiring a collaborative and vigilant approach.

The strategies we adopt, the measures we implement, and the collaboration we foster will determine our resilience against these evolving threats. It’s not just about reacting to dangers; it’s about proactively shaping a secure digital future.

Data poisoning will stealthily undermine the trustworthiness of cloud-based machine learning models.

As we delve into the world of cloud computing in 2024, a lurking challenge that’s gaining prominence is the threat of data poisoning in machine learning (ML) models. Think of it like adding a drop of ink into a clear glass of water – it can cloud the entire system. This insidious threat is not just a hiccup; it undermines the very foundation of what makes ML models reliable.

The Threat Landscape

  • Expansive Attack Surface: The diverse sources feeding data into cloud-based ML models (like user inputs, sensors and IoT Devices, transactional data, social media, and more) create a vast playground for data tampering. It’s like leaving multiple doors and windows open, each a potential entry point for a cyber intruder.
  • Severe Ramifications: Successful data poisoning can skew outcomes drastically, leading to flawed recommendations and compromised fraud detection systems. The repercussions extend beyond technical failures, leading to customer dissatisfaction and financial losses, akin to a domino effect in the business world.

The Unique Nature of Machine Learning Attacks

  • Tailored Outcomes: Data poisoning in ML is more insidious than traditional bugs. It’s a hidden manipulator, subtly influencing a model’s behavior.
  • Complexity for Defenders: Defending against these attacks adds layers of complexity, akin to solving a complex puzzle with ever-changing pieces.

Implementing Secure Machine Learning Services

  • Strengthen Data Validation: It’s all about building a fortress around your data, ensuring every piece of information is scrutinized and its integrity verified.
  • Enhance Access Control: Strengthening RBAC systems is essential, much like having vigilant guards at every access point.
  • Regular Auditing and Monitoring: Continuously monitoring cloud storage services is crucial. It’s about being alert and ready, always on the lookout for signs of misconfigurations.
  • Embrace Defense-in-Depth: Employing a layered security strategy, including secure MLaaS platforms, is essential. It’s like building multiple lines of defense around your digital assets.
  • Prioritize Data Security: Ensuring data is secure, both at rest and in transit, is non-negotiable. It’s the cornerstone of a robust security strategy.

Correcting Compromised Models

  • Early Detection and Correction: Detecting data poisoning early is key. It’s about nipping the problem in the bud before it blossoms into a full-blown crisis.
  • Consequences of Late Detection: Late detection can lead to significant repercussions, sometimes requiring a complete overhaul of the ML model – a costly and time-consuming endeavor.

In 2024, the integration of ML in cloud environments is not just about leveraging technology; it’s about navigating a minefield of sophisticated threats like data poisoning. As ML permeates various sectors, we must shift our focus towards developing advanced, proactive defenses to stay a step ahead of these challenges.

As we delve into the world of cloud computing in 2024, a lurking challenge that’s gaining prominence is the threat of data poisoning in machine learning (ML) models. Think of it like adding a drop of ink into a clear glass of water – it can cloud the entire system. This insidious threat is not just a hiccup; it undermines the very foundation of what makes ML models reliable.

API vulnerabilities in cloud and hybrid environments will become the new Achilles’ heel of digital security.

In the ever-evolving world of cloud computing, securing Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) has emerged as a pivotal focus in 2024. These APIs, much like the vital arteries in a digital body, facilitate essential communication in cloud-native projects. However, their omnipresence also makes them prime targets for exploitation.

The Role and Risks of APIs

  • APIs in Cloud Projects: Imagine APIs as the messengers in our digital ecosystem. In cloud environments they are everywhere, but inadequately secured APIs are like leaving your digital doors ajar, inviting unwelcome intrusions.
  • Hybrid Environments and API Gateways: In the complex tapestry of hybrid and multi-cloud environments, API gateways play a critical role, akin to traffic controllers. However, their centralized nature can be a double-edged sword, potentially becoming Achilles’ heels that, if compromised, can disrupt both cloud and on-premises operations.

Addressing API Security in 2024

  • Robust Authentication and Encryption: Fortifying API gateways is akin to reinforcing the walls of a fortress. Implementing advanced authentication protocols and robust encryption is critical to safeguard against breaches.
  • Decentralizing API Management: To mitigate the risk of a single point of failure, consider a decentralized approach to API management. It’s like having multiple layers of defense rather than relying on a single shield.
  • Regular Security Audits and Penetration Testing: Conducting thorough security audits and penetration testing of API gateways is akin to routinely checking the integrity of our defenses, ensuring they are impervious to attacks.
  • Monitoring and Anomaly Detection: Continuous monitoring of API traffic for anomalies is like having a vigilant watchtower, alert to the slightest sign of an attempted breach.

Best Practices for Hybrid Environments

  • Unified Security Policies: Establishing unified security policies across both cloud and on-premises environments ensures a consistently fortified stance.
  • Continuous Education and Awareness: Keeping the IT team well-informed about the latest API security threats and best practices is crucial, much like ensuring every soldier is trained and ready for battle.

As we navigate through 2024, the challenges surrounding API security, particularly in hybrid and cloud environments, demand a proactive and layered security approach. It’s no longer just about building walls; it’s about creating a dynamic defense system capable of adapting to evolving threats. Prioritizing API security is key to protecting our digital infrastructure from the vulnerabilities that loom on the horizon.

In the ever-evolving world of cloud computing, securing Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) has emerged as a pivotal focus in 2024. These APIs, much like the vital arteries in a digital body, facilitate essential communication in cloud-native projects. However, their omnipresence also makes them prime targets for exploitation.

CPU-based side channel attacks in cloud environments will evolve into reality, silently exploiting the heart of computing systems to extract sensitive data.

In the dynamic world of cloud computing in 2024, we face a nuanced yet formidable cybersecurity challenge: CPU-based side channel attacks. These aren’t your typical cyberthreats; they’re more like sophisticated spies that exploit the very heartbeat of our computing systems – the CPU – to stealthily extract sensitive information.

Unveiling CPU-Based Side Channel Attacks

  • The Mechanics of CPU Exploits: Imagine a CPU as a bustling city center, where each activity leaves subtle traces like energy usage patterns, processing time, or even acoustic signals. CPU-based side channel attacks are like expert detectives, analyzing these traces to infer confidential data, almost imperceptibly.
  • Typical Exploits in CPU Environments: One classic example is the timing attack, where an attacker measures how long certain operations take to perform, gleaning insights into the data being processed. Another is cache-based attacks, where attackers monitor cache access by co-located processes to deduce secrets like cryptographic keys.

The Unique Threat in Cloud Environments

  • Shared Resource, Amplified Risk: In cloud environments, CPUs are shared resources among multiple tenants. This shared usage creates an avenue for attackers to indirectly observe the activities of other tenants on the same physical hardware, much like eavesdropping on conversations in a crowded café.
  • Subtlety and Complexity: These attacks are subtle, often leaving no traditional traces of an intrusion, making them notoriously difficult to detect and counter.

Mitigating CPU-Based Side Channel Attacks in 2024

  • Heightened Monitoring and Detection: To combat these threats, cloud providers need to employ advanced monitoring techniques that can detect unusual patterns indicative of side channel activities. It’s akin to having a sophisticated surveillance system that picks up even the faintest anomalies.
  • Enhanced Isolation Mechanisms: Implementing stronger isolation techniques at the CPU level, such as cache partitioning or randomized scheduling, can help mitigate the risk. It’s about creating secure, separated lanes on a busy highway, preventing any unintended crossover.
  • Ongoing Research and Development: The battle against CPU-based side channel attacks is ongoing. Continuous research into new protective measures and regular updates to existing defenses are crucial, much like a never-ending chess game where each move requires careful thought and strategy.

Collaborative Security Efforts

  • Partnerships for Stronger Defenses: Addressing CPU-based side channel attacks requires collaboration between cloud service providers, hardware manufacturers, and security researchers. It’s a joint effort to fortify the very core of our cloud infrastructure against these covert threats.

In 2024, the sophistication of CPU-based side channel attacks in cloud environments calls for heightened awareness and robust security strategies. Understanding the nature of these attacks and implementing specific, targeted measures is vital to safeguard sensitive information. As the cloud computing landscape continues to evolve, so must our approaches to securing it against these intricate and hidden threats.

In the dynamic world of cloud computing in 2024, we face a nuanced yet formidable cybersecurity challenge: CPU-based side channel attacks. These aren’t your typical cyberthreats; they’re more like sophisticated spies that exploit the very heartbeat of our computing systems – the CPU – to stealthily extract sensitive information.

Misconfigurations in cloud services will be underrated concerns, silently opening backdoors in otherwise secure digital environments.

As we move through 2024, a critical and often underappreciated threat in the realm of cloud computing is the misconfiguration of cloud services. These issues, often overshadowed by more overt threats like vulnerabilities, can be just as damaging, if not more so. Misconfigurations, especially in cloud services, can lead to significant security breaches the same way exploit vulnerabilities would do.

Understanding Misconfigurations in Cloud Services

  • Definition and Examples: Misconfigurations in cloud services are essentially incorrect or unsafe settings and parameters. These can range from unsecured data storage containers to inadequate network firewall rules — simple errors that can have complex consequences.
  • Common Misconfiguration Scenarios: Imagine scenarios like open storage buckets accessible to unauthorized users or overly permissive network access, exposed private container registries and exposed Kubernetes clusters — these are not just minor slip-ups, but major security risks.

The Underestimated Threat

  • Comparison with Traditional Threats: Misconfigurations may not be as direct as attacks via vulnerabilities or malware, but their impact can be equally severe. They’re the silent threats that often go unnoticed until it’s too late.
  • Potential Risks and Impacts: These misconfigurations can lead to significant security breaches, including data leaks, unauthorized data access, and service interruptions. They can provide attackers with a foothold to exploit cloud environments further.

The Growing Complexity in Cloud Environments

  • Evolving Cloud Architectures: As cloud architectures become more complex, with an array of services and configurations, the risk of misconfigurations naturally increases. It’s a growing challenge in an increasingly cloud-dependent world.
  • Complications due to IaC and Kubernetes: Tools like Infrastructure as Code (IaC) and Kubernetes, while streamlining cloud services, also add layers of complexity that can lead to misconfigurations.

Proactive Measures and Best Practices

  • Continuous Configuration Monitoring: Implementing real-time monitoring solutions to manage configurations across cloud environments is like having a constant watchdog for potential security gaps.
  • Regular Audits and Compliance Checks: Regular audits ensure that configurations meet security standards, much like routine health checks ensure ongoing well-being.
  • Advanced Training for Cloud Professionals: Regular training and awareness programs for cloud professionals are crucial. They’re the front-line defenders in identifying and preventing misconfigurations.

Collaborative Efforts for Enhanced Cloud Security

  • Partnerships with Cloud Service Providers: Collaborating with cloud providers for insights into optimal configurations can significantly enhance security posture. Fortifying our digital fortresses requires a team effort.
  • Leveraging Expertise and Tools: Utilizing specialized tools and expertise offered by cloud providers can assist in identifying and rectifying misconfigurations, much like having expert consultants to guide you through complex challenges.

In 2024, addressing cloud service misconfigurations is a priority akin to combating direct threats like vulnerabilities and malware. As cloud environments become more intricate, a proactive approach combined with vigilance and collaboration is essential to safeguard against these underestimated but significant threats.

As we move through 2024, a critical and often underappreciated threat in the realm of cloud computing is the misconfiguration of cloud services. These issues, often overshadowed by more overt threats like vulnerabilities, can be just as damaging, if not more so. Misconfigurations, especially in cloud services, can lead to significant security breaches the same way exploit vulnerabilities would do.

Identity attacks in cloud services will rise sharply, turning digital keys into vulnerabilities and threatening the integrity of identity verification systems.

The year 2024 has ushered in a significant concern in the realm of cloud services: the surge in token-based attacks. These attacks target the very heart of digital identity verification, exploiting tokens — digital keys that unlock access and privileges in the digital world.

Understanding Token-Based Attacks

  • Token Vulnerabilities: Tokens, which are meant to secure our digital interactions, can become a liability if compromised. It’s akin to someone stealing your digital identity card and gaining access to your personal and sensitive data.
  • Types of Token-Based Attacks:
    • Token Swapping: This involves manipulating systems to exchange a lower-level token for a higher-privilege one, much like a thief swapping a fake key to gain access to a treasure chest.
    • Token Replay Attacks: Using a captured token within its validity period to impersonate a user, like using a stolen pass to gain entry into a secure facility.
    • Token Impersonation: Crafting counterfeit tokens by predicting their generation mechanism, much like forging a signature to pass off as someone else.
    • Cross-Cloud Provider Token Attacks: Exploiting one cloud service to compromise tokens in another, akin to a domino effect across multiple digital platforms.
    • Hardcoded Token Leak: When sharing code, containers, or binaries with hardcoded tokens to guarantee access, those tokens can be exposed to wrong people who can abuse it.

The Complex Landscape of IAM

  • Overly Permissive Roles: The complexity in Identity and Access Management (IAM) often leads to more permissive roles than necessary, widening the attack surface in a way that invites more risks.
  • Shift from User to Machine Identity: This complexity provides attackers with opportunities to shift their focus from exploiting user identities to machine identities, broadening the scope of their attacks.
  • Unused Identities: In the intricate world of IAM, inactive or dormant identities could pose a significant security risk. These can be accounts that haven’t been used for months, perhaps due to employees not needing access anymore, or accounts belonging to former employees that were never deactivated. These unused identities can be exploited by attackers, as they often escape regular monitoring and may retain access privileges.

Mitigation Strategies

  • Enhanced Token Security Measures: Strengthening the security layers for token generation and usage is crucial. It’s about adding extra layers of armor to protect these digital keys.
  • Regular Audits of IAM Roles: Conducting frequent audits ensures that IAM roles are correctly configured, akin to regularly checking the locks on your doors.
  • Cross-Service Security Coordination: In the diverse landscape of multi-cloud environments, coordinating security measures across different services is vital to prevent cross-cloud token attacks.

As we move through 2024, understanding and mitigating the risks associated with token-based attacks in cloud services is crucial for maintaining robust cloud security. The sophistication and evolution of these threats require a combination of strengthened security measures, diligent audits, and coordinated efforts across cloud platforms.

The year 2024 has ushered in a significant concern in the realm of cloud services: the surge in token-based attacks. These attacks target the very heart of digital identity verification, exploiting tokens — digital keys that unlock access and privileges in the digital world.

Software supply chain and CI/CD systems will become crucial prime targets, potentially unlocking multiple doors for attackers.

In 2024, the software supply chain and Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) systems stand as critical targets for attackers. These systems are not just operational backbones but also potential entry points for sophisticated cyber intrusions.

The Risks in Software Supply Chain

  • Attack Vectors: The software supply chain is vulnerable to various attack methods, including digital authentication token exploits. It’s akin to a series of doors, each leading to critical parts of your software infrastructure, that need to be secured.
  • Third-Party Code: Reliance on third-party libraries, pipelines, and containers introduces additional vulnerabilities. Platforms like DockerHub and GitHub Marketplace must heighten their vigilance to counter these threats.
  • Build systems and artifact security: These systems, which compile and assemble code into usable software, can be targets for inserting malicious code or compromising software integrity. Similarly, artifacts (like binaries and libraries) stored or transfered during the development process are potential targets for tampering.

Defending CI/CD Pipelines

  • Security Education: Educating developers on security best practices is crucial in fortifying CI/CD pipelines, much like training soldiers for defense.
  • Secrets Management: Secure handling of secrets by DevOps teams is essential, akin to safeguarding the keys to the kingdom.
  • Vulnerability Management in External Dependencies: Staying vigilant against vulnerabilities in external sources is critical for securing the software supply chain.
  • CI/CD Platform Security: Understanding and securing the vulnerabilities in CI/CD tools and platforms is like fortifying the walls that protect your digital assets.
  • Production-Like Treatment: Treating CI/CD systems as if they were production systems is crucial to prevent malicious code deployment.

The Impact of MSP-Targeted Attacks

  • Assume Breach Mindset: Adopting a Zero Trust model when using Managed Service Providers (MSPs) is crucial in today’s landscape. These attacks often aim for widespread impact, necessitating a mindset that assumes the possibility of a breach.
  • Shared Responsibility Model: The responsibility model in cloud services might need to evolve to address these emerging threats, emphasizing the joint responsibility of service providers and users.

Future Scenario of Supplier CI/CD Environment Attacks

  • Observability and Application Security Tools: The visibility of attacks on CI/CD systems is key to preventing and responding to threats. While cryptocurrency mining remains a common goal, other forms of attacks like information leaks and ransomware are also potent threats.
  • Security Gaps in Third-Party Repositories: The use of unaudited third-party libraries and containers, reliance on outdated components, and vulnerabilities introduced through updates pose significant security concerns.

In 2024, the software supply chain and CI/CD systems require a multifaceted defense strategy, involving education, robust security practices, and vigilant monitoring of third-party components. Collaboration among developers, MSPs, and marketplace platforms is crucial in anticipating and mitigating these evolving threats.

In 2024, the software supply chain and Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) systems stand as critical targets for attackers. These systems are not just operational backbones but also potential entry points for sophisticated cyber intrusions.

SOC/IR teams will struggle to find and maintain CTI for cloud threats.

Issues concerning computer telephony integration (CTI) for cloud are quite different from traditional threats. Much like how traditional security does not work for cloud, traditional CTI also does not apply directly. In the coming years, there will be an increased demand for CTI for cloud. This will require a lot of innovation from security vendors, incident response teams and standards organizations — even CTI tools will need to evolve.

Cloud services are being abused in creative ways. For example, Cobalt Strike configurations taken from JPCERT using Azure function apps, infostealers abusing GitHub Codespaces URLs for data exfiltration, and the 3CX ransomware using GitHub to fetch C2 information. SOC and IR teams could miss on the unknown. Traditional solutions based on IP reputation, for example, wouldn’t flag them malicious outright unless they are known.

Why is Cloud API visibility required from a CTI perspective? Unless cloud providers are clear and public with the APIs they provide, it is almost impossible for the end user to be aware of what’s happening in their environment. For instance, AWS has had cloud vulnerabilities arising from undocumented public APIs that threat actors could have exploited, allowing cases of complete elastic container registry (ECR) compromise to cross-account access.

Issues concerning cyber threat intelligence (CTI) for cloud are quite different from traditional threats. Much like how traditional security does not work for cloud, traditional CTI also does not apply directly. In the coming years, there will be an increased demand for CTI for cloud. This will require a lot of innovation from security vendors, incident response teams and standards organizations — even CTI tools will need to evolve.

Attacks spanning on-premise to cloud or across clouds will go undetected for longer than on-premise attacks.

Hybrid and multi-cloud environments are becoming more common. This growth also leads to a big cybersecurity challenge: detecting attacks that go from on-premises systems to the cloud, or across different clouds, is harder and takes longer. These environments mix on-premises systems with cloud services, making security more complicated.

One main problem is that different parts of these systems often have their own security policies and ways of monitoring, usually by different teams. This can create blind spots, where it’s hard to detect, correlate, and respond to unusual or harmful activities, especially when attackers move within the network. It’s tougher to spot them in these mixed environments compared to a single on-premises network.

In hybrid and multi-cloud systems, attackers can stay hidden for longer (called a “higher dwell time”), moving around and accessing important data or systems. Traditional security approaches, like guarding the network edge, won’t work as well because it’s not clear where the edge is anymore.

To handle these challenges, analysts need to adapt a more cohesive approach to security. This means using the same security tools and rules across both on-premises and cloud parts. Managed detection and response (MDR) services can help a lot here, giving a single view and automated response across different environments.

It’s also important to not automatically trust any request for access, no matter where it comes from. This is called the Zero Trust model. It means checking every access request carefully, whether it’s from inside the company or from a cloud service.

As more companies use hybrid and multi-cloud setups in 2024, these security challenges will grow. We need to change our security strategies to be more integrated, automated, and cautious to stay safe against these advanced threats.

Hybrid and multi-cloud environments are becoming more common. This growth also leads to a big cybersecurity challenge: detecting attacks that go from on-premises systems to the cloud, or across different clouds, is harder and takes longer. These environments mix on-premises systems with cloud services, making security more complicated.

Edge computing backed by cloud technologies will become a new ‘entry-point’ for attacks into the cloud.

By 2024, edge computing, which often uses cloud technologies in the back end, will become a crucial point for cyberattacks. This change is driven by the increasing adoption on cloud-native solutions across various devices and systems. These edge devices, being in the frontline of data collection and processing, represent new challenges for security.

Currently, edge device attacks focus on exploiting the device’s resources, like infecting an IoT device and making it part of a botnet. However, as these devices increasingly connect to and depends on cloud services, they become gateways to broader network intrusions.

This shift in focus from stealing the edge devices resources to their role as access points to larger networks marks a significant evolution in the cloud security landscape.

The edge compute attack exposure to the cloud is partially due to the incomplete or lack of implementation of the Zero Trust model in cloud services. Zero Trust is about never automatically trusting any user or device within or outside the network, but instead, requiring verification at every step. When this model is not fully implemented, it creates security loopholes. Attackers can exploit these gaps, using the edge devices as entry points to infiltrate cloud and hybrid cloud networks. This risk grows with the diversity and often less secure nature of edge devices, which range from vehicles, IoT devices, PoS outlets, and others.

By 2024, edge computing, which often uses cloud technologies in the back end, will become a crucial point for cyberattacks. This change is driven by the increasing adoption on cloud-native solutions across various devices and systems. These edge devices, being in the frontline of data collection and processing, represent new challenges for security.

Conclusion

A forward look at the cybersecurity landscape of 2024 shows that we are navigating through a complex digital age rife with unprecedented challenges. The multifaceted nature of modern cyberthreats, from the stealthy dangers of data poisoning in ML models to the complexities of securing APIs and the deceptive risks of side channel attacks, demand a holistic and proactive approach.

Collaboration, education, and advanced technological solutions are at the forefront of our defense strategies. As we face these challenges, it’s our collective response and forward-thinking strategies that will shape the future of cybersecurity.

In this dynamic environment, our ability to anticipate, adapt, and respond to threats is key to maintaining the security and integrity of our digital world. The path ahead is complex, but with a unified approach to cybersecurity, we can navigate these challenges and emerge stronger and more resilient.

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