Defining the Cloud Battlefield -- Supporting Security Assessments by Cloud Customers

Bleikertz, S.; Mastelic, T.; Pape, S.; Pieters, W. and Dimkov, T.

In Proceedings of IEEE International Conference on Cloud Engineering (IC2E), pages 78-87, 2013, Acceptance rate: 22 / 107 = 20.6%.


Cloud computing is becoming more and more popular, but security concerns overshadow its technical and economic benefits. In particular, insider attacks and malicious insiders are considered as one of the major threats and risks in cloud computing. As physical boundaries disappear and a variety of parties are involved in cloud services, it is becoming harder to define a security perimeter that divides insiders from outsiders, therefore making security assessments by cloud customers more difficult. In this paper, we propose a model that combines a comprehensive system model of infrastructure clouds with a security model that captures security requirements of cloud customers as well as characteristics of attackers. This combination provides a powerful tool for systematically analyzing attacks in cloud environments, supporting cloud customers in their security assessment by providing a better understanding of existing attacks and threats. Furthermore, we use the model to construct ``what-if'' scenarios that could possible lead to new attacks and to raise concerns about unknown threats among cloud customers.

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