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Cloud misconfiguration has become a critical security issue

(Image credit: Shutterstock / Blackboard)

Cloud misconfigurations are a huge security problem, resulting in the exposure of sensitive data. Despite the risks, many businesses are failing to properly configure their instances, in part due to confusing information from vendors.

This is according to a new report from cloud security provider Lightspin, which performed analysis on 40,000 AWS buckets and their cloud storage permissions. The company found that almost half (46 percent) of AWS S3 buckets may be misconfigured and should be deemed insecure.

One of the problems Lightspin identified has to do with how AWS defines certain access options. For example, the “Objects can be public” option may confuse organizations about whether or not the objects are accessible, it was said. 

Lightspin explained that AWS evaluates the access permissions of all files at the bucket level, rather than the object level, resulting in the object’s Access Control List (ACL) not being considered.

The report states that four percent of S3 buckets are defined as public, while more than 40 percent have the “Objects can be public” definition attached.

Misconfigured buckets can result in various cybersecurity incidents, including data theft and ransomware. The Booz Allen Hamilton breach and the Verizon breach, both of which took place in 2017, are two high-profile examples of breaches that involved cloud misconfiguration.