Misconfigured Cloud Services a Big Cause of Data Breaches

January 25, 2018 by Rodolfo Melgoza

Cloud-1.jpgAs we look back on 2017, one of the alarming trends we see is the number of data breaches caused by misconfigured cloud services. After dozens of breaches throughout the year that were due to misconfigured security settings, 2017 ended with yet another massive data leak from an Amazon site that affected 123 million Americans.  A misconfigured Amazon S3 bucket allowed any user with an Amazon AWS account to access and download data not belonging to them. Vast amounts of sensitive records were compromised at numerous organizations that used the service.

According to statistics by security firm Skyhigh Networks, 7% of all Amazon S3 buckets have unrestricted public access, and 35% of them are unencrypted. That’s a huge problem in the entire Amazon S3 ecosystem. But Amazon AWS wasn’t the only cloud service to experience a data breach caused by misconfigured services. Rsync backups, MongoDB databases and other similar services have suffered data breaches that were primarily due to human misconfigurations. A misconfigured cloud-based file repository was responsible for 6 million leaked customer records at telecommunications giant Verizon.

In all, cloud databases leaked over 2 billion records in 2017. According to IBM X-Force, server misconfigurations made up 70 percent of the 2 billion leaked records from cloud databases during 2017. This leaked data has enormous monetary value, especially when many are willing to pay to keep it private.  

Ponemon Institute estimates that in 2017 the cost of a data breach was $3.5 million. With a very real potential for such a loss, all enterprises need to get serious about changing their approach to cybersecurity.  As organizations move more and more data to the cloud, it becomes critical to implement appropriate configuration procedures to help prevent a data breach. Perhaps equally important, organizations need to adopt technologies like User and Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA), which will help to quickly to detect anomalies that are indicative of a breach.

Rodolfo Melgoza

Rodolfo Melgoza is the Marketing Manager at Fortscale.


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