In this blog post, we will discuss what is cloud pentesting, why it is important to do cloud pen-testing, and the tools available for doing so. We also mention the step-by-step process of how to do a successful cloud pentest. If you are interested in protecting your data that may reside in the Cloud then read on.
What Is Cloud Pentesting?
Cloud pentesting, also known as cloud testing or cloud assessment is the process of testing a system that is hosted in the Cloud. These systems are usually web applications and websites that may be prone to be attacked. The processes involved include scanning for vulnerabilities, identifying them, and reporting them back to the concerned authority so they can fix them before any damages occur.
The process of cloud testing is a lot different from usual pen-testing because the system being tested may be in a public or private network. There are many players involved and multiple tools available for pen-testing. Cloud pentesting tests the application security controls present before it gets deployed to production systems so that any identified issues can get fixed quickly without any damages.
There are basically three types of cloud pentesting – private, public, and hybrid.
- Private cloud is set up by the organization for their exclusive use. They usually have complete control over the infrastructure and security measures.
- Public clouds are those that are available to anyone on the internet. These clouds are managed by third-party providers who offer a variety of services. These clouds are more insecure than private clouds because the security measures are not under the full control of the organization.
- The features of public and private clouds combine together to form hybrid clouds. They offer certain benefits that are unique to each type of cloud. For example, an organization can use a public cloud for burst capacity while using their private cloud when the load is consistent.
Why Is Cloud Testing Important?
The reason why cloud testing is important is because of the fact that more and more companies are moving their web applications to public or private clouds for better security, scalability, availability, etc. A lot of businesses have moved towards using the SaaS model where they do not need to invest in building infrastructure and can instead use the Cloud providers’ infrastructure. This is a sound business decision but with that comes a new set of security risks that must be considered before moving to the Cloud.
Some of the key reasons why cloud testing is important are:
- To identify vulnerabilities in web applications and websites before they are deployed to public or private clouds.
- To make sure that the controls for security are effective and functional.
- Helps determine the impact of a breach if one should occur on the cloud infrastructure.
What Are The Tools Available For Cloud Pentesting?
There are many tools available for cloud pentesting. Some of the popular ones include:
- Web application scanners such as Burp Suite, Astra’s Security, and OWASP ZAP.
- Network scanners such as Nmap and Zenmap.
- Online Penetration testing frameworks such as Metasploit and Kali Linux.
- Nessus and Astra Pentest are some of the best vulnerability scanning tools available.
Steps To Cloud Pentesting?
Now that we have a basic understanding of what cloud pen-testing is and the tools available for it, let’s look at some steps that can be followed to successfully carry out a cloud pentest:
- Identify who you need to report your findings. This may include the client or project managers or even higher authorities such as CIOs in large enterprises. Have a thorough understanding of what the purpose of the findings is.
- Identify the scope of the pentest and the systems/applications that need to be included. This will help in deciding on the tools that need to be used.
- Scan for vulnerabilities in the identified systems/applications and identify them. Commercial and open-source versions of tons of vulnerability scanners are easily available.
- Exploit the identified vulnerabilities to see if they can be exploited and access sensitive data. This is where the penetration testing frameworks and exploit tools come in handy.
- Report back the findings with recommendations on how to fix them. Ensure that you include steps that can be followed by non-technical people as well in your report.
- Maintain documentation of all the steps that were followed during testing, findings, and their impact. This will help in easy reference when needed later on.
Cloud pen-testing is a way to identify potential vulnerabilities in your cloud infrastructure. It can be done manually or you could use automated tools that are available on the market today. To carry out a pentest, you need to find resources and data for analysis, plan how it will all work together, create an attack scenario, execute the attacks as planned, and document what was found!
In this article we have discussed what cloud pen-testing is about and also looked at some key things to follow before starting with it as well as tools available for carrying out the pentest.