AWS an increasingly important tool for web app attackers

amazon web services logoIt should come as no surprise that the web application layer is one of the most vulnerable and highly targeted in any IT organisation. The latest report from Imperva I’ve just covered for Infosecurity Magazine, bears that out, and adds some interesting new insights.

Did you know, for example, that public cloud platforms like Amazon Web Services are increasingly being used by cyber criminals to launch such attacks?

According to Imperva, 20% of all known vulnerability exploitation attempts aimed at its customers came from AMS servers – that’s a pretty sizeable chunk.

Director of security research at the Israeli firm, Itsik Mantin, told me part of the reason:

“The ability of the attackers to utilize cloud services to mount their attack, makes it easier for them to carry out longer campaigns, and thus they can scan for more vulnerabilities in more pages in the target application,” he said.

Another point of note from the report is the continued growth in SQL injection attacks – up 10% since the last report – and the less well known Remote File Inclusion (RFI) attacks, which have increased 24%.

So what’s to blame? Well not necessarily bad coding, according to Mantin.

“Applications have become more complicated, with more pages and more functions, relying on more third-party modules that are hard to control, and thus the size of the attack ‘domain’ grows over time,” he explained.

Mantin also pointed out that the attack incidents analysed in the report included attacks that were detected and prevented.

“Thus the numbers in the research indicate more the attacker’s intention and less the vulnerability of the applications,” he said.