Attackers Targeting On-Premise IT are Shifting Focus to Cloud Hosting Providers: Alert Logic Report

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Threats to cloud infrastructure seem to be growing. The total number of attacks to cloud environments is increasing, and attacks that used to target on-premises environments are now moving to the cloud, according to new research from cloud security provider Alert Logic.

The company’s “Spring 2014 Cloud Security Report” used security data obtained between April and September 2013 from more than 2,200 customers spanning both on-premises IT and users of cloud hosting infrastructure.

The company found that 44 percent of their customers who use cloud hosting experience web application attacks, brute force attacks, and vulnerability scans. In Alert Logic’s Spring 2013 report, web application attacks affected 48 percent of customers’ cloud environments.

Malware/botnet attacks, which typically target on-premise data centers (with 56 percent being targets in the report period), are now on the rise in cloud hosting provider environments of which 11 percent have experienced malware/botnet attacks. Only 5 percent of cloud providers saw attacks in the same period the previous year.

Brute force attacks and vulnerability scans grew at nearly equivalent rates between cloud and on-premise environments.

The report found that attacks increased across all incident types, in both on-premises and Infrastructure-as-a-Service environments. And on-premises environments are still more frequent targets. However, attacks directed at cloud providers have significantly increased and to grow at the same fast pace of cloud adoption and as more valuable workloads continue to migrate to the cloud.

Alert Logic’s latest research also features “Cloud Honeypots,” a new research tool where intentionally vulnerable decoys are deployed around the world to gather information about attackers and their exploitation methods.

They found that 14 percent of the malware collected by Cloud Honeypots was not detectable by 51 of the world’s top antivirus vendors, indicating attackers repackaging older variants of malware such as Zeus or Conficker.

Alert Logic concludes that that organizations moving to the cloud should take these results as evidence that they must implement enterprise-grade security solutions to protect their cloud workloads.

Furthermore, legacy approaches can’t properly protect the cloud. They must seek out cloud-deployable solutions with advanced security content and analytics consistent with the attack vectors prevalent in the cloud.

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  1. Well, that's certainly not good, what would you recommend cloud users do? It seems that a lot of antivirus software isn't getting job done, what about encryption methods?