Cloud Security

    Cloud computing is a fairly new and emerging paradigm that is characterized by four major attributes:

      * Multi-tenancy – a single instance of software or other computing resource serving several clients.

      * Massive scalability – ability to support hundreds of thousands of clients at the same time.

      * Elasticity – ability to grow or contract on demand.

      * On-demand self-provisioning of resources – ability of a client/user to setup operating environment without help from IT support staff.

    Among these multi-tenancy, in particular, introduces several novel security challenges.These challenges arise from the co-residency of machines (virtual machines, database engines etc.) and other resources (such as hardware or storage) owned by different customers that places these resources in the same privileged position in the cloud with respect to one another. This makes security vulnerabilities at the cloud infrastructure level particularly critical to the cloud environment. A guest operating system can exploit vulnerabilities in the hypervisor and run processes on other guests or the host. Security breaches such as unauthorized connections, unauthorized leakage of information, unmonitored login attempts, malware propagation etc., can arise in one client and potentially propagate to another easily. One such exploit was demonstrated in a recent work1 where the internal cloud infrastructure was mapped to identify where a target virtual machine (VM) is likely to reside and then that in formation was used to mount cross-VM side-channel attacks to extract sensitive information from the target VM.It is therefore vitally important that proper security controls be employed for the protection of tenant resources from un-authorized disclosure and modification, segregation of tenants from one another, and isolation of compute, storage and network resources of the cloud provider from tenants.

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