Ransomware has the Cloud in its Sights

Data breaches in recent years have shown the risk that data always faces, and that risk is on the horizon of expanding.  Now, cloud storage services appear to be in the crosshairs of ransomware attacks, according to MIT research.  Cloud services often hold extensive libraries of data, often personal information, which makes them an ideal target for a hacker payday and notoriety.  Though larger cloud vendors such as Google and Amazon have anticipated this risk and have the resources to put safeguards in place, most at risk are the smaller cloud services who would be more likely to pay up.  And, among the risk of ransomware infecting your cloud account there's even more threats predicted for 2018:

  • More data breaches
  • Weaponization of AI
  • Cyber-physical attacks
  • Mining cryptocurrencies
  • Election hacking

As helpful and promising as AI has been, the efforts to use it to thrawrt hacking attempts (by learning how they work), appear to be backfiring and ransomware authors may utilize the same technologies to analyze the defensive measures deployed during an attack to figure out what vulnerabilities exist in the system.  And, with hackers now turning to distrupting infrastructure (cyber-physical attacks) and using critical systems such as airport networks to mine cryptocurrency, it's becoming more and more important to secure systems before hackers can adapt.

But what's a cloud provider to do?  As of yet the methods aren't clear, unfortunately, and as we wait to determine how to proceed the best advice is to backup, backup, and backup some more.

This article was based on a January 2, 2018 ComputerWeekly.com article by Warwick Ashford.

January 2, 2018

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