The 10 Most Common Attack Types of Malware in the Cloud, What They Do and How to Defend Against Them

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The cloud is a hotbed for cybercrime, as malicious actors take advantage of the fact that businesses are increasingly moving their data and applications to cloud-based platforms. And the number 1 type of cloud-based attack? Cloud malware.

In fact, over 68% of all malware downloads originate from a cloud app. And, 60% of small businesses that get hit with cloud malware don’t survive. Needless to say, it appears as though the cloud is a dangerous place, currently playing host to a plethora of cyber criminals who, for all intents and purposes, keep getting away with it.

But for every threat, there is an appropriate response you can take in order to protect yourself and your business.

That’s why, in this blog post, we will discuss the 10 most common types of cloud malware attacks and how you can defend against them to help keep your business safe.


What Is Cloud Malware, and Why is it So Dangerous to Businesses?

Simply put, cloud malware is malicious software that has been created and distributed through cloud computing environments. It can be used to steal data from businesses, disrupt their operations, and cause a lot of problems.

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In the modern era of cloud computing, hackers pose a serious threat to businesses using online services. If not properly protected from malicious attacks (such as Bitcoin processing), organizations may suffer considerable costs and disruptions – even leading to service shut-downs due to the damage potentially incurred by Microsoft or Amazon servers.

While threats are similar in traditional IT spaces, their impact can be far more catastrophic for businesses that rely upon cloud vendors for infrastructure because they don’t have control over said server systems.

And, due to the interconnected nature of the cloud, the impact of a successful cloud malware attack can be catastrophic.

Without proper safety protocols put into place it’s easy to open up your organization to potentially legal action, should an incident occur that leads them shutting off the information access you’ve been relying upon for your business.


Looking at the 10 Most Dangerous Types of Cloud Malware Attacks (How They Work and How to Defend Against Them)

Here are the 10 most damaging types of malware attacks in the cloud by which businesses are commonly affected. Perhaps most critically, you’ll learn how they’re transmitted, how they work and (most importantly) specific steps you can take to ensure your business won’t become victimized by said cloud malware attacks.

Now remember, these are cloud attacks and common exploits that can affect businesses operating on any kind of cloud environment, whether you use:

  • Public cloud
  • Private cloud
  • Hosted cloud services
  • Cloud applications
  • Cloud storage only
  • Other cloud systems

With that out of the way, let’s dive into the top 10 types of cloud computing attack and how you can prevent cloud malware and exploits from harming your business.


1. Injection Attacks

An injection attack is a malicious act employed by cyber criminals to wreak havoc on unprotected edge servers.

By infiltrating through unpatched access points, hackers can steal data and identities as well as deploy ransomware or even monetize the stolen information. Unfortunately, it’s becoming easier than ever in this era of big-scale cloud computing where an attacker can disable as many as 100 systems at once with one fell swoop!

The best defense against this type of cloud malware attack is to hire a dedicated MSP who can use the existing strength of the cloud infrastructure to tightly control access and monitor ongoing traffic with fast-acting cloud security tools.


2. Phishing Scams

Phishing attacks involve sending emails or text messages that appear to be from legitimate sources, but are actually malicious attempts to steal confidential data or install malicious code on a device.

To protect against phishing, always verify that links are legitimate before clicking them, avoid opening unknown attachments or messages, and use two-factor authentication if possible. Employee security awareness training is also very effective in guarding against phishing attacks in the cloud.


3. Data Corruption and Stealing

cloud malware


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Data theft (and often corruption as well) is a very common form of cloud malware attack, and one that has a storied past in cyber crime history.

In a 2013 data breach that rocked the nation, 110 million credit and debit card holders who made purchases at Target stores had their personal information pilfered by cybercriminals. Shockingly, only one vulnerable third-party vendor was needed to provide attackers access – Fazio Mechanical Services which specialized in refrigeration services.

It’s not known what kind of vulnerability they exploited on web applications such as SQL injection or XSS (or even potentially an unknown 0-day). Whatever it was, it opened up massive amounts of sensitive customer details for malicious use leading many companies to reassess how well-protected current corporate networks from external threats.

If Target had practiced tighter control over who they gave cloud access to and monitored user activity on top of that, there’s no uncertainty that the attack would not have been so successful.


4. Trojans

A Trojan is a type of cloud malware that disguises itself as legitimate software in order to gain access to a system or steal data.

The most effective way to protect yourself from a Trojan is to avoid downloading any software from untrusted websites. Additionally, always use caution when opening email attachments.


5. Credential Bypassing

Malicious attackers exploiting credential bypassing tactics, such as brute force and stealing credentials, can be catastrophic to businesses.

The potential lawsuits from prominent cloud hosting services could very well devastate a business if an attacker were to gain administrator access. Fortunately, MSPs are in the unique position of being able to protect clients against these cyberattacks with advanced security measures like Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) or Two Factor authentications(2FA).

Additionally encryption keys & limited admin privileges on specific areas provide further layers of protection along with architecture measurements and password expiration policies enable alerts when malicious activities detect odd behavior – all leveraging the strength offered by strong cloud infrastructure for added prevention at every level.

6. Attacking Serverless Functions and APIs

Serverless functions and APIs are often targeted by advanced attackers who want to gain access to an organization’s cloud environment. This attack is performed by exploiting vulnerabilities in a serverless function or API, allowing malicious actors to execute arbitrary or malformed code on the system.

To defend against this type of attack, businesses should monitor their serverless functions and APIs for potential vulnerabilities, use security scanning tools to detect any suspicious activity, and ensure that their serverless functions and APIs are always up to date with the latest security patches.


7. Hypervisor DOS Attacks

A hypervisor is a type of software that allows multiple operating systems to run on the same computer at the same time.

Hypervisor DOS attacks occur when malicious actors attempt to overload a system by sending too many requests for data or resources, causing it to crash or become unresponsive.

To protect yourself from this type of attack in cloud computing, make sure that your cloud security protocols are up-to-date and regularly monitored for any suspicious activity.

Learn even more about the cloud to protect your business from dangerous online threats:


8. Exploiting Live Migration

Live migration is a process by which virtual machines can be moved from one physical host to another, allowing for improved resource utilization and better performance.

Unfortunately, this process can also be exploited by malicious actors if there are any vulnerabilities present in the system’s security protocols. To protect against live migration exploitation, make sure you have strong cloud security and are monitoring your network for signs of corruption or intrusion.


9. WiFi Eavesdropping

WiFi eavesdropping is a method of remote access attack in which attackers attempt to gain access to a target device by intercepting and decoding radio signals from its wireless network.

To protect against this type of attack, it’s important to use secure wireless networks with strong passwords that are regularly updated. Additionally, always make sure your devices are running the latest security patches.


10. Zero-Day Exploits

A zero-day exploit is a type of cyberattack that exploits previously unknown vulnerabilities in computer systems or applications.

To protect yourself against zero-day exploits, you should stay up to date with the latest security patches and keep an eye out for any unusual system behavior that could indicate an attack. Additionally, be sure to monitor your system logs for any suspicious activity.


Protecting Yourself From Cloud Malware

Cloud malware is on the rise, but with the right preventative measures in place, businesses can reduce their risk of becoming a victim of these dangerous cyber attacks.

In the ever-evolving cloud landscape, native capabilities are built in and managed service providers may be needed to make those features work optimally. Additionally, regularly staying abreast of cloud vendors’ recommended best practices can help ensure their continued effectiveness for your organization’s needs.

Security is paramount – employee training on malware defense as well as having a process in place for employees to report concerns will go far towards safeguarding your cloud environment against attackers.

All major cloud solutions offer a five-pillar approach that focuses on:

  • Security
  • Availability
  • Reliability
  • Cost efficiency
  • And Resilience

All of these are essential guiding components when focusing on effective cloud security.

By staying up to date on the latest security news and implementing appropriate measures, you can help ensure that your business remains secure against any malicious attacks.

malware in the cloud


Getting Help Protecting Yourself Against Cloud Malware with Buchanan Technologies

At Buchanan Technologies, we understand the importance of protecting your data and systems against malicious cloud malware.

We use the latest technology from leading vendors such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft to create secure environments for our clients. With remote access control and identity management features like streamlined user security, robust password protection and proactive toolsets – balancing risk against cost has never been easier!

And thanks to our in-house training, your business can receive expert advice on leveraging your cloud computing environment to protect itself and your business from malware threats.

Contact us today to learn more about how our security solutions can help keep your business safe and secure.


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