As organizations increasingly adopt or migrate to AWS Cloud for its various added services, there is a corresponding increase in access to sensitive data. This underscores the importance of ensuring AWS Cloud Security to protect sensitive information.
However, uncountable data often means companies don’t have any control over them. They don’t know how much organized and unorganized data lies in their cloud storage. How many people have access to it? Or, how many unauthorized requests the system receives? There’s no knowledge or record of it.
Unfortunately, all this makes AWS cloud vulnerable to breaches, luring unethical hackers to break in through the infrastructure, which calls for actions to stop unauthorized access and identify the critical AWS security issues.
So, this blog will walk you through AWS cloud security and how it works, the difference between AWS cloud security and traditional IT security, common AWS security issues, and some best practices to deal with those AWS cloud security concerns. Let’s dig in.
What is AWS cloud security anyway? How does it work?
AWS cloud security refers to a set of protocols that helps build an infrastructure that makes breaching impossible and makes it as safe as feasible. While AWS secures your resources on the cloud, you share the responsibility to keep sharing safe and run operations smoothly.
Speaking of how AWS cloud security works, it is responsible for protecting your resources in the cloud ecosystem. It consists of the facilities, networking, hardware, and software required to operate AWS Cloud services. AWS conducts security procedures like patch management and device configuration management, fixing vulnerabilities in the cloud infrastructure, and configuring its infrastructure devices.
Also Know: Why is AWS Dominating the Cloud Computing Market In 2023?
Difference between AWS cloud security and traditional IT security
While the broad functions appear to be similar, there’s quite a lot of difference between AWS cloud security and traditional IT security. The most common mistake companies make is that they assume that the AWS service provider is solely responsible for securing all resources in their infrastructure.
It’s crucial to remember that AWS security is a shared model. You need to delve deeper into the common AWS security issues and learn how to troubleshoot them. AWS will only maintain and update your hardware with some advanced features. You are EQUALLY responsible for all the data and files you upload onto the environment. It means you have to:
-patch operating systems
– configure AWS services
– control access over resources
Secondly, unlike traditional IT, creating and uploading resources on cloud environments is a breeze. While this is a boon, it can raise havoc for your cloud admin team as they often do not know who is uploading and who is accessing. Without guardrails, the vulnerability of the infrastructure increases manifold.
Thirdly, AWS cloud is agile, and you can autoscale within the infrastructure. It means assets created can appear and disappear in minutes before you can track them down. Traditional security measures of vulnerability scanning are no longer enough. Research says that new assets on the cloud need verification every few minutes or hours.
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What are the common AWS cloud security issues?
As mentioned above, your AWS admin team cannot assume the service provider will take action to provide end-to-end security. Assuming the vice-versa will raise havoc by giving room for weakly secured cloud assets. So it becomes critical to train your admin team and cloud security professional in the shared responsibility model and learn the common AWS cloud security issues in detail.
To begin with, let’s dive into the following AWS security issues:
Not having an MFA setup
If you use single-factor authentication to enter your AWS account, a security compromise is only a stolen password away. With MFA (Multi-factor Authentication) enabled, users will require a hardware token, along with a password, to access an AWS account. This includes access to AWS config, confidential information, and essential services. MFA can enable any to tailor the creation of tokens and provide access to many hardware and software choices.
Not so frequently used access keys
Old and unused access keys enabled in your AWS application are risky. They allow any and all users to enter active but sensitive servers and apps.
Expanded network access
Using unsecured NACLs to enter a VPC (Virtual Private Cloud) and other AWS services is a frequent high-level threat in the AWS Cloud. Although VPCs are designed to be private, there is a greater risk to the data in a VPC if the NACL is unprotected since the user may remain anonymous.
Obtaining remote access to Administrative SSH Login
One of the high-risk cases that call for immediate patching from AWS users is the SSH vulnerability. This preventable risk occurs when novice users fail to recognise the dangers associated with SSH configuration. When the administrator SSH login is accessible from any location, it indicates that anyone with an internet connection can connect to TCP port 22. It often acts as one of the prime entry points for DoS (Denial of Service) attacks, leading to irreparable harm.
Absence of EBS lacking Encryption
Hackers frequently have easy access to your cloud environment thanks to unencrypted data. It often leads to the loss of data, access keys, and other sensitive info.
Easy global access to data in MySQL Database
Does your AWS config allow for remote access to any user? Then the chances are your entire data in the MySQL database is prone to hazards.
Lacking audit logs on AWS activity
The danger of security breaches multiplies when your AWS services don’t have active audit logs enabled. CloudTrail, an advanced audit logging tool offered by AWS, logs all system accesses and notifies you of any unexpected AWS activity.
Individuals accessing IAM User
In AWS, an entity that specifies permissions is referred to as a “policy.” When you do not assign Identity-based policies in IAM to the correct person, the system automatically and extensively assigns them to users in a group or numerous resources. Moreover, it gives several users a disproportionate amount of access privileges, which could result in security violations.
Easy access to Windows remote desktop
Misconfigurations in your AWS network configuration allow all users to access Windows Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP), giving attackers direct access to RDP ports. Risks include identity theft, complete access to your Windows servers, and loss of vital customer and business data. This could result in significant income loss and legal repercussions.
Easy access to ICMP
The network architecture of your AWS infrastructure must only enable people to access ICMP (Internet Control Message Protocol) data. Or else, hackers can leverage it to retrieve critical information, including port scanning, network topology, OS fingerprinting, and even remote machine rebooting.
While ignoring errors and not identifying them may seem trivial and not affect daily operations, they will always lure breaches until they are fixed. You can secure your cloud data and maximize your cloud investment on your AWS cloud, ensuring continued company operations.
Some best practices to avoid AWS security issues
If you have the right approach, you can solve any problem in the world, no matter how hard it is. The adage goes for these AWS cloud security issues as well. To help you troubleshoot these concerns like a pro, here are a few best practices you must consider:
Keeping S3 Buckets private
It’s always crucial to ensure your buckets are private and public as necessary. For anything you wish to remain secure and confidential, be sure they have the least public access and are extremely hard for users to reach.
Set up for each bucket should be appropriate. But more than anything, this is a scale issue. With more buckets and services, you need to check and make sure each bucket is allocated correctly continuously.
Additionally, you can use infrastructure as code (IaC) patterns to help lower the danger of unintentionally creating a public bucket.
Give permissions only when necessary
Reduce access threats by deactivating unused credentials and restricting access permissions to recognised users. You can delete or deactivate unneeded or inactive access keys using the AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) console.
Fix your SSH vulnerabilities
Mitigate SSH vulnerabilities by:
– Limiting access to IP addresses that use TCP port 22
-Allowing only the user’s static IP address (home or office) to connect as hosts
– Implementing two-factor authentication
– Making the host the “only” IP that can communicate with the nodes inside the account.
Remove excess access from your network
Fix the excess network access by configuring a non-default NACL for your VPC. You can also avoid network hazards by limiting NACL so that only legitimate internet traffic enters AWS applications and services.
Measures for EBS Volume encryption
Enabling the encryption required by Elastic Block Store (EBS) volumes from AWS will help you safeguard your data while it is stored on an EBS volume and stop illegal access to your resources. Create a brand-new encrypted EBS volume and move the old data to it to enable EBS volume encryption.
Manage access for MySQL Database
Use encrypted connections to limit access to the MySQL database. Simultaneously, restrict network access to local, reliable devices and locations, except in rare circumstances.
Improve audit logs on AWS activity
CloudTrail, an advanced audit logging tool offered by AWS, logs all system accesses and notifies you of any unexpected AWS activity. Enable CloudTrail for all accounts and regions on your AWS Cloud to prevent corporate and client data from being at risk.
Limit IAM user access
Assign IAM rights at group or role levels to reduce the complexity of access management. To accomplish this, build an IAM group, give it a policy, and add users to groups. Also, detach users from policies in the IAM console depending on their responsibilities.
Controlling access to Windows remote desktop
Limit access to management protocols and Windows RDP to only those devices and areas under your control. You can also keep rotating your key at regular intervals. The longer a key is active, the larger the risk becomes. Instead of hardcoding access keys into numerous programs, consider using a more secure and less permanent solution: rotating keys.
In the modern world, multi-factor authentication (MFA) is critical, given the risks of single-factor authentication. Keep your resources safe even when an access key ends up getting compromised. Implement MFA on every AWS IAM policy and all API calls. Only some can enter with access permission if all the pieces are missing.
How can you prepare for the AWS security issues?
Nothing can be better than certification courses when it comes to getting trained and prepared for a real-world scenario like battling with AWS cloud security issues. AWS Certified Security Specialty: SCS-C01 exam enables you to identify security concerns, troubleshoot them, and design solutions to keep your infrastructure safe and strong against all threats.
The cert will also help you understand and learn:
- specialized data classifications and AWS data protection mechanisms
- data-encryption methods and AWS approaches to deploy them
- secure internet protocols
- AWS security services and features of services to provide a secure ecosystem
- AWS shared-responsibility model
- Security risks and operations
However, to be eligible for the exam, you need at least five years of experience in security and creating and deploying security solutions. Or, you should have two years of experience in securing AWS workloads.
Hope this blog helps you understand the importance of AWS cloud security and common AWS security issues. To be an invincible warrior against these threats, you need to learn and dive deeper into these concerns and know how you can build solutions to defeat them.
As mentioned above, the AWS-certified security specialty certification is a great way to gain a comprehensive view of the domain. We at Whizlabs offer practice papers, updated resources, hands-on labs, and an AWS sandbox to help you better prepare for AWS cloud security and become a certified professional.
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