Malware in Cloud Computing: What Can You Do About It?

Increased security is one of the top reasons why many business owners move to cloud storage . However, cloud environments often come with new security threats that you may not have faced before. For this reason, it’s important to educate yourself about cloud malware before you move.


“Cloud servers are more secure than on-prem, but they are not impenetrable. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is that assumption.” Matt Elias , Senior VP of Service and Support, Outsource Solutions Group


If you’re already using cloud-based services, don’t fret. It’s not too late to learn about cloud attacks and how you can protect yourself from them. Additionally, 2022 saw a 48% increase in attacks that specifically target cloud data. There’s no better time than now to get educated.

Today, we’ll take a closer look at 6 cloud computing attacks to watch out for. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be better able to detect and mitigate potential security breaches in your cloud server.

1. Hypercall Attacks

Hypercall attacks occur when an attacker manipulates the communication between a virtual machine (VM) and the host system. In cases like this, the attacker will usually trick the host system into executing processes that damage the VMs.

One of the reasons why hypercall attacks are so dangerous is because emerging attacks are hard to detect. Keeping your host system up to date to ensure known vulnerabilities are patched is your first line of defense. You should also consider using an intrusion detection system (IDS) that can identify and block potential threats.

2. Cross-Tenant Attacks

In a cross-tenant attack, a malicious user on a shared cloud service extracts data from other users in the same public cloud . Some people get an account on a cloud service specifically for this purpose. Such individuals might enact:

  • Side channel attacks : where they gather information based on how your cloud system operates
  • Data leakage : where they exploit weak information security controls to steal data

Both tactics listed above provide hints about how you can protect yourself from them. Make sure you have a solid cloud data security policy and regularly update your cloud software. Regular updates will prevent side channel attacks by closing off vulnerabilities the attacker may have found.

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3. DDoS & DoS Attacks

DDoS (distributed denial of service) and DoS (denial of service) attacks both intentionally overwhelm your system with traffic to cause it to become slow or unresponsive. The biggest  difference between the two is the number of attackers involved. DoS attacks involve one attacker while DDoS attacks involve multiple.

Whether it’s DoS or DDoS, your defensive tactics are similar. First, be fully aware of what’s normal for your server. A sudden increase with no reasonable cause could be a warning sign. You should also favor servers that can easily scale. This makes it more difficult for a DoS attack to be successful.


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4. Virtual Machine (VM) Escape Attacks

VM escape attacks occur when an attacker gains access to the host system from within a virtual machine. From there, they could implement a hypercall attack or hyperjacking. This could also be a way to steal sensitive information located on a VM in your network.

The best way to prevent this type of attack is to monitor your virtual machines. Keep note of any unusual activity and isolate the VM from your network. Although, you may want to isolate your VMs from the get-go to prevent malicious code from spreading before you notice it.

5. Hyperjacking

Hyperjacking is when a hacker takes control of a hypervisor or virtual machine monitor (VMM). This gives the attacker access to all of the VMs that the compromised hypervisor manages. They may also install a rogue hypervisor that can take control of the underlying server.

Strong passwords and access control measures are a good way to prevent unauthorized personnel from accessing your VMM. You may also consider a Trusted Platform Module (TPM). A TPM keeps a record of how your VMM should behave and prevents it from starting if its behavior doesn’t match its records.


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6. Migration Exploitation 

Migration exploitation happens when an attacker intercepts data during the cloud migration process. These cyber attacks target data mid-transit. Once they’ve accessed the data stream, the hacker could disrupt the migration or steal information.

This threat emphasizes the importance of data encryption during transit. When this is in place, anyone who intercepts the data stream won’t be able to read your files. You should also monitor your network traffic during the migration. Sudden unexpected spikes in traffic could indicate a disruption attempt.

Enhance Your Defenses Against All Types of Atta cks in Cloud Computing

Many of the security measures that you need to protect yourself are best practices that you should be using no matter where your data is stored. However, it is true that cloud systems slightly alter how you should implement those measures.

If you need help navigating this challenge, you can trust Outsource Solutions Group to help. We employ both cloud computing and cybersecurity experts who can combine their expertise to give you high-caliber cloud security services.

If you’re interested in seeing what we can do, please contact us today .

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