The Seven Deadly Sins: The Cloud Security Alliance Identifies Top Cloud Security Threats

Today marks the beginning of RSA conference in San Francisco, and the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) has been quick out of the gate with the release of its Top Threats to Cloud Computing Report. This peer-reviewed paper characterizes the top seven threats to cloud computing, offering examples and remediation steps.

The seven threats identified by the CSA are:

  1. Abuse and Nefarious Use of Cloud Computing
  2. Insecure Application Programming Interfaces
  3. Malicious Insiders
  4. Shared Technology Vulnerabilities
  5. Data Loss/Leakage
  6. Account, Service, and Traffic Hijacking
  7. Unknown Risk Profile

Some of these will certainly sound familiar, but the point is to highlight threats that may be amplified in the cloud, as well as those that are unique to the cloud environment.

This CSA threats report is a true community effort. The working group had representatives from a broad range of cloud providers, infrastructure vendors, and cloud customers, including:

  • HP
  • Oracle
  • Bank of America
  • Microsoft
  • Rackspace
  • Verizon
  • Cigital
  • Qualsys
  • Trend Micro
  • Websense
  • Zscalar
  • CloudSecurity.org
  • Cloud Security Alliance
  • Layer 7 Technologies

I represented Layer 7. I tackled Data Loss/Leakage, and performed some editorial of the paper as a whole. As working groups go, I can tell you that this one simply worked well. I’ve been involved with a number of standards groups in the past, this time we seemed to have all of the right people involved. The group converged on the key issues quickly and decisively. It was a good process, and I’m happy with the results.

We thing we did debate was how best to rate each threat. We finally agreed that the best approach was to let the community decide You may recall that last week I wrote an blog entry soliciting your input to help classify threat severity. Well, the results are in and they are certainly interesting. Perhaps not surprising, the threat of Data Loss/Leakage leads the community’s list of concerns, at around 28%. But what is more intriguing is that there really isn’t too much of a difference between the perceived impact of any threat on the list (all fall between around 8-28%). This is encouraging, as it suggests that we nailed the current zeitgeist in our list. It is just a little disconcerting that there remain seven significant threats to consider.

The latest survey results, and the threats paper itself, are available from the CSA web site. Bear in mind that is evolving work. The working group intends to update the list regularly, so if you would like to make a contribution to the cloud community, please do get involved. And remember: CSA membership is free to individuals; all you need to give us is your time and expertise.

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2 responses to “The Seven Deadly Sins: The Cloud Security Alliance Identifies Top Cloud Security Threats

  1. Good evening sir,
    i am a pre-final year Engineering student(cse) from India.I saw your blog sir. I very much eager to do a project in cloud computing,threats.could you please help me sir.

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