If you’re responsible for the security of a cloud-based application, then you need to be aware of the many potential threats that exist and know how to protect your data. One way to do this is through cloud penetration testing, which is the process of identifying and exploiting vulnerabilities in a cloud-based system. In this article, we will discuss what cloud penetration testing is, why you should do it, and the various security issues that you need to be aware of. We’ll also provide steps on how to perform a pentest on a cloud application, as well as some of the challenges associated with doing so.
What is Cloud Penetration Testing?
Cloud penetration testing aims at identifying security weaknesses in cloud-based systems and this is done by simulating attacks in order to find what attacks your system is prone to.
Why Should You Do It?
As with any other system, the security of a cloud-based application is only as strong as its weakest link. By performing regular pentests on your cloud infrastructure, you can identify and fix these vulnerabilities before they can be exploited by hackers. In addition, penetration testing can help you to verify that your security controls are effective in protecting your data.
Cloud Security Issues:
There are several issues that you need to be aware of when it comes to securing data in the cloud. Some of the most common include:
Misconfigurations – A misconfiguration occurs when a system is set up in a way that leaves it open to attack. For example, an improperly secured Amazon SNSTopic can allow anyone on the Internet to send messages to all of the subscribers of that topic.
Weak passwords – These can easily be guessed or cracked by hackers and you don’t want that. In the cloud, where users may have multiple accounts with different providers, it’s more important than ever to use strong passwords.
Insecure coding and design – Cloud applications are often developed quickly and without enough attention paid to security. This can leave several doors open for cybercriminals to make their way through.
Lack of visibility – In a traditional IT environment, administrators have complete control over what systems are running and what data is stored on them. In the cloud, however, it can be difficult to track which applications are running and where your data is being stored.
Cyberattacks – As more and more businesses move their operations to the cloud, cybercriminals are increasingly targeting these systems in order to steal sensitive data.
How to Perform Cloud Pentest?
Now that we’ve discussed some of the security issues that you need to be aware of, let’s take a look at how you can go about performing a pentest on a cloud application. The process generally involves the following steps:
Steps to perform penetration testing on a cloud application:
- To begin, you must first determine which applications and services are hosted in the cloud. You can do this by using an IP scanner to find all of the devices running on your network.
- Once you’ve identified these resources, it’s time to start pentesting them individually by using tools like Nessus or Nmap (which can both be found for free online).
- You should then focus your efforts on more sensitive targets such as databases and web applications which could lead directly into production environments if they are compromised.
- If possible try to not only test the configuration of different services in isolation but also how they interact with each other through API calls or even just via their IP addresses because this might reveal additional vulnerabilities that would not be found otherwise.
Challenges in Cloud Pentesting:
The challenges of cloud pentesting are similar to those faced by traditional systems, but they’re magnified due to the fact that you don’t have physical access to the hardware where your application is running on or any control over how it’s configured.
You also may not know exactly what services are available within your environment, making it difficult for security professionals who need this information before performing a test. This lack of visibility can lead them into situations where they accidentally compromise production environments instead which might result in downtime and other issues such as data leakage, etc.
For example, if someone tries using an SQL injection attack against one service but ends up executing queries against another database (which might contain sensitive information!) then this could be disastrous.
Cloud applications are frequently built quickly and with insufficient regard for security. Because of this, they are susceptible to cybercriminals’ assaults. In a traditional IT environment, administrators have complete control over what systems are running and what data is stored on them. In the cloud, however, it can be difficult to track which applications are running and where your data is being stored as well as how they interact with each other through API calls or via their IP addresses because this might reveal additional vulnerabilities that would not be found otherwise. Cloud pentesting can help you remediate these issues by identifying vulnerabilities before it is discovered by a malicious outsider. So don’t wait until it’s too late. Start today!
Ankit Pahuja is the Marketing Lead & Evangelist at Astra Security. Ever since his adulthood (literally, he was 20 years old), he began finding vulnerabilities in websites & network infrastructures. Starting his professional career as a software engineer at one of the unicorns enables him in bringing “engineering in marketing” to reality. Working actively in the cybersecurity space for more than 2 years makes him the perfect T-shaped marketing professional. Ankit is an avid speaker in the security space and has delivered various talks in top companies, early-age startups, and online events.