Tag: pentesting

The Importance of Pen Testing Your Cloud Environment

As the uptake of cloud services increases, cybercriminals are more interested than ever in exploiting vulnerabilities to attack cloud services and it’s customers. If your organisation is using cloud services, it’s important to recognise the shared responsibility model where the Cloud Service Provider (CSP) and the client share certain responsibilities, including cybersecurity. The CSP, such as AWS, Google Cloud, or Microsoft Azure, is responsible for securing the underlying services, whereas the client is responsible for the security of any cloud services that are configured and deployed. Therefore, cloud-focused penetration testing can help your organisation to fulfil that responsibility. So what are the benefits of cloud penetration testing, and how does it differ from a standard pen test?

What exactly is cloud penetration testing?

Cloud penetration testing is a simulated attack where offensive security tests are performed to find exploitable security flaws in the cloud-native infrastructure before cybercriminals do. The primary goal of this form of testing is to assess an organisation’s cybersecurity posture within the cloud environment, prevent avoidable breaches in the system, and remain compliant with industry regulations. 

Effective cloud penetration testing involves more than just leveraging an automated scanner. It also employs human skills to examine those flaws, simulate an attack, and determine how the security vulnerabilities in your cloud network could result in actual data compromise. Cloud penetration testing will help organisations learn about the strengths and weaknesses of their cloud-based architecture, consequently safeguarding the company’s data and intellectual properties, finances, and reputation more effectively. 

What’s the difference between cloud penetration testing and traditional penetration testing? 

Although cloud penetration testing applies the principle of traditional on-premise penetration testing, there is a major difference in regard to the approach and environment of testing. This is due to the fact that services in the Cloud are configured and operate differently than in an on-premise infrastructure. Depending on the type of cloud service and the provider, different manual approaches and cloud penetration testing tools may be used. 

Furthermore, the cloud environment comes from a CSP. These providers have unique and specific guidelines when it comes to conducting a pen test on their cloud service, which you must follow. 

Common security vulnerabilities in the Cloud

Some of the most common vulnerabilities that cloud penetration testing can identify include:

  • Misconfigured accounts, access lists, and buckets: Misconfigurations of accounts, access lists, and data containers are the most common vulnerabilities that can lead to a compromise of cloud security. Overly-permissive accounts or containers will violate the principle of least privilege, and therefore potentially result in data disclosure.   
  • Weak authentication, credentials and identity management: Accounts with weak authentication mechanisms allow the attacker to gain a foothold into the cloud system much easier. This compromises all of the information that those accounts can access, and if the least privilege is not strictly implemented, a deeper compromise is inevitable.
  • Data breaches: Another frequent method to compromise the Cloud is harvesting publicly exposed credentials for cloud accounts. An effective cloud penetration test can assist in identifying sensitive information in publicly available repositories, discover the likely repercussions, and provide advice on how to strengthen that aspect of your security posture.
  • Insecure interface and APIs: The attacker often scrapes the cloud infrastructure to identify any weak links that could help them to gain a foothold in the system. An experienced cloud pen tester will explore and identify those insecure entries before the cybercriminals are able to exploit them. 

Why do you need regular cloud penetration testing? 

As cloud services continue to offer new technologies to encourage businesses to move their workload to the Cloud to achieve agility, time and cost efficiency, attackers are also adjusting to changes in the cloud landscape. Therefore, the security risks associated with cloud-based systems and services are evolving rapidly. This stresses the importance of why cloud pen testing should be conducted more frequently than standard on-premise penetration testing. A skilled penetration tester will provide you with useful guidance on how to fix any security flaws found during the test, allowing you to improve your cloud security moving ahead. 

Moving forward with a trusted cloud penetration testing partner

Almost every modern organisation is using cloud services, but the majority lack the tools, methodologies, or experts at hand to conduct a cloud pen test. Partnering with an experienced cloud security provider can bring your cloud platform closer to where it needs to be from a security standpoint.

JDS Security has the experience and expertise to defend your business in the Cloud, with deep and unmatched knowledge of AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud services to help reach your cloud and digital transformation goals securely.

Fortifying Defense with Offense

Detecting and defending against incoming attacks is a key component of a strong blue team, and SIEM capabilities play an important part of the technology stack to achieve this. But, with rapidly evolving cyber threats, it is important to adapt and innovate to stay ahead. Joint activities between red and blue teams, known as purple teaming, allows for easy knowledge sharing and collaboration to enhance defensive capabilities.

Is ‘red teaming’ the same as penetration testing?

Penetration testing is something a red team will do, but the goal of a penetration test is to find as many vulnerabilities as possible, while a red team attack simulation will try to breach the system, access, and exploit as much as possible without being detected. This kind of activity can often include attack points that wouldn’t usually be part of a penetration test, such as social engineering, but are still important for a blue team to detect and prevent.

So, what is ‘purple teaming’?

Purple team exercises have the red and blue teams working closely together, usually in a more focused engagement to provide continuous feedback and knowledge sharing between them. The red team will attempt to exploit vulnerabilities and challenge the blue team’s detection techniques using tools and tactics that are current and used by real-world adversaries. The feedback provided back to the blue team allows them to improve their SIEM capabilities by plugging gaps in detection and enhancing automated and manual response techniques. These activities can highlight additional improvements in overall security posture, training plans and help give organisations insight into future security strategies.

Purple team engagements can have varying timelines, with shorter, more focused engagements, to more long-term engagements where the red team simulates an advanced persistent threat (APT). Regardless of scope, what is important is that the teams are collaborating and working towards the same goal. Generally, the red and blue teams working within an organisation are fairly separate and siloed. Purple teaming gets these teams working together in a more collaborative nature to enhance security capabilities by providing realistic simulations, without impacting budget. Purple team activities can often save an organisation money, as blue teams are able to improve SIEM capabilities more effectively and efficiently than if they were trying to do it on their own.

Overall, these activities can help enhance an organisation’s security posture by opening lines of communication and breaking down barriers, nurturing a more collaborative and integrated culture. Knowledge sharing boosts SIEM capabilities, improving proactivity by closing detection gaps and enhancing automation, which can improve threat hunting and incident response, making security improvements faster and more efficient. Additionally, it allows for more forward-thinking security strategies and long term improvements.