Introduction to AWS Penetration Testing
According to a survey, almost 80% of the businesses have suffered at least one cloud-based security breach in recent months.
12:29 28 May 2021
While around 43% of them have reported more than ten breaches in the last one to one and a half years.
These surveys reveal that the breaches were due to some of the most common mistakes businesses make while migrating to the cloud, which leads to data breaches and security issues.
Providing about 90 plus services and having a customer base of 1 million active customers worldwide, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a commonly used cloud infrastructure platform. AWS offers a wide range of services and solutions to manage your businesses online efficiently. These services include global computing, code development, security management, database management, data analytics, data storage facilities, and so on.
AWS comes with a manual as well as an automated security control of its own. However, given the rising security risks and competition, that is not enough. So, companies are trying hard to analyze how to strengthen data security while moving to the cloud.
What is AWS Penetration Testing?
Every business owner tests the new changes or the new infrastructure before shifting from the conventional environment to ensure the security of their business, compliance with standards laid down by organizations, the possibility of growth and betterment of their business.
Pen testing or penetration testing is a methodology to test a computer system, network infrastructure, or web application to explore the potential risks or threats that hackers can use to attack the system. Experts perform it like what a hacker would have done to sneak into the system to get every intrinsic detail of the system under test. However, AWS pen testing is different from traditional penetration testing techniques.
Similar to physical testing for a successful shift to a new business strategy, it is necessary to test the cloud platform before moving the business from physical mode to the cloud. Business owners prefer to keep a check on all the security protocols to ensure protection from data and security breaches.
AWS penetration testing offers this mandatorily required check to business holders to ensure no security gaps are present. They can switch to cloud-based services with trust and security.
Difference between Traditional pen testing and AWS pen testing
Penetration testing of AWS differs from the traditional approach due to its association with Amazon. The ethical hacking procedures used for penetration testing would be against the security policies laid down by AWS.
The key areas to focus on AWS for pen testing are the web applications you will host or build on the platform, the internal and external infrastructure of the AWS cloud, Identity and access management, and AWS configuration.
While testing the Software-as-a-Service services offered by AWS, the customer does not own the environment thus cannot test it like an onsite environment or system of an organization. They can only test and check the configurations of the service and the access management for these services provided by the AWS cloud. A penetration testing report will help you get an idea of discovered vulnerabilities in AWS configuration.
Types of Penetration testing AWS
AWS security is a shared responsibility model, where the security and compliance are shared between both AWS and the clients using AWS. The penetration testing of AWS is categorized as follows:
- Security of Cloud
AWS holds the responsibility of managing and securing the infrastructure and its services to customers and clients. This infrastructure includes software, networking, and hardware of the AWS cloud. AWS has the duty to handle the security against all the possible vulnerabilities and security risks for the companies using their platform.
- Security in Cloud
Security in the Cloud is the responsibility of the customers using the services. The companies must keep a check on the applications or assets running on the cloud infrastructure are highly secured and protected from the outside world malicious activities. The companies must implement all the necessary security protocols and manage the access to these applications and services to avoid unwanted intrusion of outsiders.
What is the need for AWS Penetration testing?
According to a survey, the three main reasons for security breaches over the cloud were 67% due to security configuration flaws, 64% due to lack of adequate visibility into access settings, and 61% due to Identity and access management permissions.
Business owners and employees are often new to all these technicalities of the cloud and tend to ignore these minor settings and configurations while migrating to the cloud. Nevertheless, they have no idea what threats this ignorance can cause to their web applications, leading them to legal trouble with the cybercriminal.
The most common reasons why businesses should opt for AWS penetration testing are as follows:
- Pitfalls in the understanding of the 'Shared Responsibility Model.'
- Providing too many permissions and leaving open security groups provide access to all kinds of unwanted traffic.
- Flaws in multi-factor authentication implementation, operation, and requirements.
- Increasing requirements of the standards and mandates are often left out. Organizations must take immediate steps to resolve these loopholes.
- Analyzing and providing the best solutions for the zero-day vulnerabilities is necessary.
AWS comes with a plethora of services that make the development, deployment, and management of businesses and web applications more accessible and highly reliable, but blindly following the new trend and ignoring the security gaps leads to unwanted complications. The security configurations lie in the hands of the companies or the customers.
Performing AWS penetration testing becomes crucial for organizations to know and fix the potential risks associated and protect their application from hackers. You can follow a systematic guide to perform it on your own or contact professionals to do a complete check for your business.