Cloud computing services under malware threat

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A typical cloud computing infrastructure. Malware writers are targeting a new territory: Cloud services.

It seems malware writers are targeting a new territory: Cloud computing services. According to new research, malware hackers might be attacking cloud services and spreading their malware programs, much more than had been anticipated.

Michael Sutton; “Attackers are starting to leverage hosting services. It used to be that (attackers) would set up their own servers. Then we saw them infecting legitimate third-parties. Now they are using hosting services. They are no longer paying for hosting (malware) and are less likely to get blacklisted.” — Michael Sutton, vice president of research at ZScaler

With the addition of the smartphone and data mobility markets, cloud services are becoming even more popular. Cloud services provide their users space to host their files and the ability to access their data from anywhere in the world.

According to a report done on cloud computing by Market Research Reports, the whole cloud is not just restricted to file hosting/sharing anymore, but it is in fact evolving into something bigger. Add communications and commerce into it, and what you would see, is something very big indeed. Companies are also using cloud computing to save on their operational costs and to make data sharing more effective within their infrastructure.

Using cloud services is seamless and here are no hassles, all you need is a device with internet access. Cloud services such as Heroku and Windows Azure are leading the market. Cloud computing is also gaining steam among mobile workers. Professionals carry their workplaces wherever their go through devices such as notebooks, smartphones and tablets. Through the use of cloud services they can access their data directly and can manage it on the go.

Malware programs as they apply to cloud technology, are software which tend to infect the whole network once they are activated. They can also create a leak of confidential files which can lead to abuse of information. The use of cloud services, and the lack of internet security can damage the integrity of the network and cause plenty of damage. Malware writers can also set up fake hosting sites, and use that to distribute their malware. IT managers need to be careful when looking for hosting websites or cloud services to avoid such operators.

If an authentic website is on the receiving end of such malware, it can easily pass through the regular corporate internet security programs. It is becoming increasingly important for companies to place a blacklisting system ‘ahead of the cloud’ to avoid such situations.

Photo: Berkeley Lab/Flickr

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