The advent of cloud storage has led to internet users sharing files between their devices and cloud accounts. The advantages that cloud services hold are beneficial and provide a lot of utility. However, the ability to have access to all your files from any device, anywhere on the globe, is one many would kill to have.
However, despite the plentiful benefits ushered in by the introduction of cloud storage, there are staggering cons. The most obvious downside, however, is the exposure of data to increased internet threats.
Because cloud systems are always online, there’s a chance, no matter how small, that hackers can break into the accounts. All it takes is for a connected app to get breached or for login credentials to get stolen.
All kinds of data are stored in the cloud. Both personal data and firm data are considered valuable to the average hacker. Personal data can be sold in bulk to malicious entities on the dark web. Stolen company data can also be used to blackmail organizations.
Below, you’ll see an in-depth explanation of the cyber risks that come with using cloud services.
Cloud Storage Security Threats
1. Account Breaches
An account breach happens when a third party accesses your data without your consent. One of the leading causes of account breaches is a lack of proper cybersecurity knowledge.
It can be very easy for a hacker to access an organization’s data if an employee with low cybersecurity awareness gets targeted. For an individual, an account breach can mean the exposure of your secrets and other sensitive information.
For a firm, an account breach can mean losing public trust, court action, closure of the business, etc.
2. Attacks from the Inside
Cyber-attacks to your cloud storage account could come from an employee’s account or another account that is allowed access. The worst part of this type of attack is that it can go undetected for months and even years.
3. DDoS Attacks
DDoS attacks are different from the usual cyber-attacks by hackers. For one, they aim to stop access to information instead of stealing it. However, the consequences of DDoS attacks are not less severe.
A DDoS attack on a cloud service seeks to shut down all access to the data stored on it. Cybercriminals perform DDoS attacks by sending out an enormous amount of traffic to the cloud service’s servers. The traffic is garnered from hacked computers that have become part of a botnet.
Protecting your Cloud Storage Account
Cloud storage services allow you to grant access to third parties to view certain files. The adverse part of file sharing is that your information could get stolen if the individual’s account is shared and gets hacked.
You can set expiry dates for emails and accounts that you’ve shared data with. You can also use the ‘Activity’ section to spot accounts that have accessed your files.
2. Utilize Better Passwords
You need to use better passwords to guard your cloud storage account. First, refrain from using an easy password like your birth date, a sibling’s name, or a pet’s name. Second, learn to use symbols and numbers in your passwords so they’re harder to guess.
As an extra security tactic, you can change your password once every 90 days. If you find it difficult to create a strong password, use a password manager.
3. Employing a Network Security Tool
The best network security tool to use is a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN is a technology that makes your internet activity invisible to any entity who tries to spy on it. Entities in this context include internet service providers, hijackers, and the government.
A VPN’s advantages cover you both in the early and later stages of using the cloud service. In the first stage of using cloud accounts, you’ll need to upload your data from your device to the internet. This action exposes you to cyber threats, and this means your files can get stolen. Securing your connection with a VPN will protect your device’s internet traffic.
You might feel the need to consistently connect to your online storage to access files in the later stages. If you use a hacked network connection such as hacked free Wi-Fi or a hacked router, your login details would be exposed. In this instance, your data will remain private and protected.
4. Turn on Multi-Factor Authentication
Multi-factor authentication protects your account even when a hacker has your username and password. If a cloud service you’re about to sign up on doesn’t offer two-factor authentication, avoid using them.
Multi-factor authentication serves users by requiring an extra code to verify that the real account user is attempting to log in. Typically, a code is sent by email or text. Immediately the code is gotten, it can be fixed to allow final access to the account.
5. Secure your Devices
Any device you own that can be used to connect to your cloud storage account should be secured appropriately. In this context, the security is physical. If your smartphone or computer gets grabbed, your information could land in the hands of a hacker.
You can start by using a passcode or activating biometric verification on your device. The second security layer is to activate the request of biometric verification anytime the app is launched on your device.
6. Set Up Account Recovery
This tactic is part of a cyber-resilience strategy that works after your account gets breached. If this happens, you want to ensure you’ll be able to recover your account so the hacker doesn’t gain permanent access.
Account recovery typically asks for a recovery email and a recovery number where password resets can be sent to. Account recovery can always be set up in the security part of ‘Settings’. If you change your number or primary email, be sure to reflect the changes in the account recovery section.
Cloud storage services provide utility in the sense that a user’s files can be accessed from any device, anywhere in the world. However, using cloud services comes with multiple cyber-attacks.
You can prevent your cloud account from getting attacked by using stronger passwords, switching on multi-factor authentication, utilizing a network security tool, and setting up account recovery.