Cloud, Virtualized Environments Targeted by Cyber-Attackers

By Channel Insider Staff  |  Print this article Print

The cloud and the virtualized data center are giving cyber-criminals new attack vectors as they begin to launch attacks from and at the cloud.

NEW YORK — Cyber-criminals are simultaneously taking advantage of the cloud's benefits to launch attacks as well as targeting organizations' cloud services, security experts said.

As organizations increasingly virtualize their data centers and move their applications to the cloud, attackers are beginning to think, "Let's attack here," Allen Vance, director of product management of the data and applications security group at Dell SecureWorks, told attendees at Cloud Expo during a session on cloud security on June 6. Organizations have to put in measures to handle threats to their virtualized environments when considering a cloud deployment because the environment amplifies the risks, Vance said. Cloud Expo is running from June 6 to June 9 here.

"We are in the middle of a war," Terry Woloszyn, CTO of PerspecSys, told attendees in a different session on cloud security. He compared the current security climate to an "arms race" as cyber-attackers are continuously developing new attack vectors and modifying existing threats, leaving vendors and businesses to play catch-up.

Nowhere is this more evident than the recent game of whack-a-mole Apple has been playing with malware developers behind the fake MacDefender antivirus scam and its many variants over the past few weeks.

A new MacDefender variant appeared within 24 hours after Apple released a security update on June 1 that included the malware definition in the Mac OS X File Quarantine list. After Apple updated definition files to cover the new variant on June 2, yet another one popped up that bypassed the quarantine hours later.

Vulnerabilities reported in virtualized technologies have "nearly doubled" between 2008 and 2010, according to data compiled by Dell SecureWorks Threat Intelligence and Intrusion, Vance said. Dell SecureWorks found that security "events" detecting attacks against virtual environments increased by more than 500 percent over the same period.

To read the original eWeek article, click here: Cyber-Attackers Taking Aim at Cloud and Virtualized Environment.