Addressing cloud computing vulnerabilities: Securing data

  • Cloud storage misconfigurations expose sensitive corporate data to cybercriminals. Ensuring cloud storage settings are set to ‘Private’ and implementing encryption are crucial to prevent unauthorized access and data breaches.
  •  Secure API authentication using tokens and regular penetration testing are vital to mitigate security risks effectively.

In cloud computing, vulnerabilities represent critical gaps in security that cybercriminals exploit to gain unauthorized access to corporate data and systems. These weaknesses, such as misconfigured cloud storage and insecure APIs, pose significant threats to organizational security, potentially leading to data breaches and compliance violations. Addressing these vulnerabilities through robust security measures is essential to safeguard sensitive information and uphold regulatory standards in cloud environments.

Also read: Does cloud backup protect against ransomware?

Also read: The hackability of blockchain technology

What is vulnerability in cloud computing?

In cloud computing, a vulnerability is an oversight, gap, or weakness in its security. These vulnerabilities are exploited by cyber criminals, who use them to gain unauthorised access to corporate accounts. Once inside, they may steal, modify, or delete sensitive company data, such as financial statements or customer records. This data may also be used to extort victims into paying a large ransom.

Types of cloud computing vulnerabilities

Misconfigured cloud storage

Organisations utilise the cloud for storing diverse corporate data, including customer records, employment contracts, invoices, and intellectual property. Consequently, cloud storage becomes a prime target for cybercriminals seeking sensitive corporate data. Breaching corporate cloud accounts allows them to steal data for sale on the Dark Web or use it for extortion. To prevent data breaches, review and ensure that cloud storage buckets or containers are set to ‘Private’ rather than ‘Public’. Even though some platforms default to ‘Private’, like Amazon S3, this isn’t guaranteed across all services. Enabling cloud encryption before data transfer ensures information remains unreadable to unauthorized access.

Insecure APIs

An Application Programming Interface (API) acts as a software intermediary enabling communication between unrelated applications. APIs facilitate data transfer, making them vulnerable to cyber attacks due to their access to sensitive software functions and data. Using tokens for API access mitigates risks by preventing exposure of user credentials. Regular penetration testing of APIs identifies security weaknesses before they can be exploited, ensuring robust API security.

Poor access management

Access management, or identity management, governs user authentication and access to software and cloud applications. Strong password policies and Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) are essential for securing access. Implementing least privilege principles ensures users only have access to necessary functions and services, reducing the risk of unauthorized data breaches.

Data compliance and privacy concerns

Adherence to data compliance and privacy laws is crucial for organisations using cloud services. Regulations like GDPR, PCI DSS, and CCPA mandate compliance with industry standards and regional laws. Managing cloud compliance involves selecting compliant service providers and configuring security controls to meet regulatory requirements. Security features such as identity management, intrusion detection, and monitoring are vital for maintaining compliance and protecting data from intrusions.

These vulnerabilities highlight the importance of robust security measures in cloud computing to safeguard against potential threats and ensure data integrity and regulatory compliance.

According to the National Security Agency (NSA), “Misconfiguration of cloud resources remains the most prevalent cloud vulnerability that can be exploited to access cloud data and services.”

For example, in 2023, the automaker Toyota suffered a data breach in which more than 2.15 million records were exposed in Japan. The breach was caused by a security issue with a misconfigured database at an affiliate of the company that handles big data and mobility. The issue allowed services to be accessed without authentication. The breach existed for more than a decade.


Sissy Li

Sissy Li, a news reporter at BTW media dedicated in Fintech and Blockchain. She graduated from Macau University of Technology and Science. Send tips to

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