Cloud computing is considered the highlight among IT professionals, organizations in every industry, and cybersecurity experts due to the flexibility it offers and benefits, such as reduced costs with practical virtualization, collaboration efficiency among peers, faster access to documents, transactions, and updates, vast scalability, etc According to research, the cloud computing market size is expected to grow from $371.4 billion in 2020 to $832.1 billion in 2025 at a growth rate of 17.5% globally.
Cloud computing has also advanced in the ethical hacking field of cybersecurity as professionals are figuring out new measures and policies to eliminate cyberattacks and safeguard applications, systems, and networks across the organization’s cloud infrastructure. The blog explains the role and responsibilities of an ethical hacker in the cloud computing industry.
Ethical hacking is the authorized and legal process of circumventing IT or network infrastructure’s security to detect vulnerabilities and potential causes for a security breach. The goal of ethical hacking is to improve the safety of the entire organization by locating the weak points in a network and looking for gaps in the network to avoid cyberattacks and loss of data. Ethical hacking professional thinks and acts like an attacker to expose all the vulnerabilities in the organization. The role of an ethical hacker is to strengthen the organization’s security by highlighting the problems.
Ethical hacking involves using similar methods, tools, and technologies used by the malicious hackers but with legal permissions of the company’s authorities. The process consists of reporting all the vulnerabilities found while analyzing the infrastructure to the management and continuous monitoring system/ network/applications. Ethical hacking is used to improve the security footprint to mitigate cyber threats.
The responsibilities of an ethical hacker include:
- Finding open ports
- Evade intrusion prevention/detection systems
- Look at vulnerabilities in firewalls, honeypots, etc.
- Use strategies like sniffing networks, cracking wireless encryption, hijacking web servers, and applications, etc.
Cloud computing is the delivery of computing or IT services such as servers, databases, intelligence, analytics, networking over the internet. The purpose of cloud computing is to offer faster innovation and flexible resources. Cloud services let you create, design, and modify applications or software. It was introduced to minimize the traditional process of storing data locally and store data in a remote database and retrieve the information whenever needed. Cloud computing is an on-premises data center used by organizations to avail and manage everything from a single point. Employees can transfer data records through cloud services; employers can access the records remotely, etc.
Cloud computing enables one to install an operating system, set up the network infrastructure, store and maintain data, among other things. It helps one save money by eliminating the process of software and hardware installed on every system. It is scalable according to the company’s personal needs, and storing data on the cloud is more secure than storing data locally or on hard drives. Cloud vendors provide a wide array of options for controls, technologies, and policies to improve data security.
The Role of an Ethical Hacker in Cloud Computing
1. Look for vulnerabilities
The most significant responsibility of an ethical hacker in cloud computing is to look for vulnerabilities and weaknesses in cloud services and infrastructure. Since the entire organization relies on cloud computing to operate smoothly, it is crucial that the services provided by the cloud are secured and will not succumb to cyberattacks or breaches. Ethical hackers detect vulnerabilities and provide suggestions to resolve the detected gaps before they get exploited by attackers.
Ethical hackers can identify some common vulnerabilities in cloud computing, which are as follows:
- Check for broken authentication to avoid attackers from bypassing the authentication process and entire into a company’s cloud infrastructure.
- Detect data exposure in cloud services such as servers, databases, networks, etc., that could lead to a data breach by creating a report of their testing results to trace the exposed vulnerabilities and resolve them.
2. Mitigate cyberattacks
According to a report from FinTech News,
cyberattacks based on cloud computing rose 630% from January to April 2020. This rings as a warning bell for all organizations relying on cloud-based services to operate from their remote locations. Ethical hackers can help an organization mitigate cyberattacks by using. automated ethical hacking tools to scan for vulnerabilities that can lead to cyberattacks. While testing, an ethical hacker can examine a cloud infrastructure, service, or platform to highlight possible gaps. The ethical hacking professional uses artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning (ML) to identify irregularities that indicate whether the cloud infrastructure is compromised or not. They provide firewall solutions to strengthen cloud security.
Some common cyberattacks faced in cloud computing are:
- Data breaches
- Lack of cloud security infrastructure
- Account hijacking
- Denial of Services Attack (DoS)
- Malware injection
As an ethical hacker is expected to think and act like a malicious hacker, the ethical hacker can then understand which cyberattacks can be launched on the cloud services and how malware can be injected into the systems. They often come up with solutions to safeguard the cloud computing structure against such cyberattacks.
3. Potential breaches
The threat of data breaches or security breaches is often one of the major concerns for all organizations. It often leads to data loss, paying the ransom to retrieve the data from attackers with a risk of the attacker duplicating records and leaking them, and suffering from reputation loss in the market. An ethical hacker can scan through the cloud infrastructure to look for places or gaps that can lead to data breaches. They also monitor the entry points of the cloud infrastructure and authentication channel to mitigate security breaches. Since data is stored on cloud servers and databases, ethical hackers provide measures and policies to ensure adequate security is maintained at all times to avoid data leakage. Ethical hacking professionals examine employee channels as well to verify potential data breaches. They also come up with solutions to keep the cloud services working in case of a violation.
Become an Ethical Hacker
Organizations are moving towards cloud computing to automate their processes and eliminate installing software for every employee system. In the wake of COVID-19, offices are forced to operate remotely, and cloud computing turned to be a boon for employers everywhere. The workforce could transfer documents and data through cloud services in a hassle-free way. Therefore, cloud computing is gaining momentum in today’s world. This creates an increased opportunity for ethical hacking professionals as organizations are looking for ethical hackers to identify vulnerabilities in cloud infrastructure.
The best way to begin your ethical hacking career is to pursue an ethical hacking certification course. Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) is one such certification that trains an individual to understand and use hacking tools, techniques, and methodologies to hack into an organization legally. The certification includes modules on cloud computing threats with hands-on hacking challenges that help in solving real-world cloud computing problems.