Time to fight against attacks on Cloud and VM?

Time to fight against attacks on Cloud and VM?

In the past few years, cloud computing has become an integral part of our lives, various multinational organizations and is virtually used in everything. It has proved to be a major factor in boosting up various countries' economies as well. Eventually, everyone. including governments, individuals and mega-corporations will use the cloud computing platform to store and manage sensitive as well as private data.

Not everything on the cloud is secure though. Though it has proven to be beneficial on various fronts such as in helping lowering costs, offering scalability and flexibility, there are some risks associated with it such as cyber-attacks. Not that these attacks are uncommon, but the attackers themselves have been continually adapting themselves so as to take advantage of the vulnerabilities present in the current systems to gain access to unauthorized data. Specifically, they are trying to manipulate the Virtual Machine that these systems run on.
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VM and Cloud are identical to genetically modified crops, meaning they offer extremely high yields if carefully developed and have identical DNA sequences just like crops. But introduce a single bug or a virus and almost everything is affected as a result of this shared structure. When speaking in the context of the cloud, a zero-day vulnerability or attack can effectively take down every bit of the infrastructure, taking down everything that is connected with it. This can result in a voluminous financial loss in a business environment.

The traditional cybersecurity practices include protection systems such as firewalls, intrusion prevention, encryption of data, and endpoint protection, attackers have turned their attention to develop zero-day techniques to bypass them easily. Some of these techniques include memory corruption, compromised supply chain attacks, return/jump oriented programming (ROP/JOP), and some more.

In a recent attack on the NotPetya supply chain, the White House commented that it was "the most destructive and costly cyber-attack in the history of mankind."

So, what do we do the stop this?

Runtime Application Self Protection, also known as RASP, is a technology developed that is built in an application or runtime environment which is capable of controlling the runtime execution and detecting as well as preventing various real-time attacks. Forrester has noted that RASP tools can be easily used as a deeper layer of application defense with the technique enjoying widespread adoption worldwide.

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While it is not a replacement to the traditional way of protecting against these new attacks, it definitely does add a layer of extra security that these methods cannot protect against. RASP can help stop attacks and attack scaling instead of just remediating the symptoms. It includes in-built security such as binary stirring, control-flow integrity, stack frame randomization, which helps in the reduction of attack surface while rendering zero-days vulnerabilities built on memory corruption and supply chain attacks useless.

Using RASP might just prove to be our best chance to stay a step ahead in this never-ending game at a time when all our sensitive and critical information is being uploaded to the cloud in a rapid manner.

PC: Pablo, Unsplash

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Anurag Chawake Opinions expressed by techsutram contributors are their own. More details

I am an Engineering Student with a keen interest in Blockchain, Cloud Computing, AI, ML and related startups. I am currently working with Techsutram as a Writer/Intern.

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