cloud attack (Julia Tim/Shutterstock.com)

Study: Most cloud attacks are opportunistic

The vast majority of the millions of attacks on public and private clouds are those of opportunity, rather than ones targeting specific organizations, according to Cybersecurity provider Armor.

Attackers acted much like predators -- hunting weak targets, continually probing possible victims for vulnerability and then pressing in when one was found.

Those millions of attacks, it said, mostly leveraged older attack techniques. The top four attack vectors, it said, were attacks against known software vulnerabilities; brute force attacks, such as distributed denial of service; web application attacks, such as cross-site scripting and SQL injection; and attacks that targeted the internet of things.

These attacks of opportunity follow a similar pattern, Armor said.  Hackers scan the internet for vulnerable applications or systems to get a foothold into an organization’s IT environment where they try to locate sensitive or valuable data.  They might also hijack a victim’s systems and use them to launch phishing emails, spam campaigns, DDoS attacks or crypto mining.

IT managers, Armor said, should not take solace because attackers aren't generally targeting specific organizations. The randomness of such attacks doesn't lower organizational risk. Organizations should be watching for tell-tale scans and act before attackers get a foothold.

Armor's report analyzed 681 million cyberattacks aimed at the company's  1,200 cloud customers in 2018, including those in in the financial/financial services, retail, healthcare, insurance, software and IT solution providers, and utilities.

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