By Tim Wilson
Sept 08, 2009
Users of cloud computing infrastructures should be aware that their
sensitive data could be potentially leaked, a group of university
In a new research paper (PDF), several computer scientists from the
University of California at San Diego (UCSD) and the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology (MIT) say they have discovered soft spots in the
cloud computing concept that could leave data vulnerable to attack.
"Overall, our results indicate that there exist tangible dangers when
deploying sensitive tasks to third-party compute clouds," the paper
In a nutshell, the researchers argue that by taking the right steps, an
attacker could place a malicious virtual machine (VM) in close proximity
to a target server in a shared, "cloud" environment. From there, it
would be possible to launch a "cross-VM attack" using a variety of
different hacking strategies, they say.
Such methods might be employed by an attacker looking to access a
specific target or server, or they might be used by hackers casting a
wide net, searching for any vulnerable server, the paper says.
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