Last updated at Thu, 20 Jul 2023 13:11:48 GMT

Particularly at enterprise scale, it’s not uncommon to have hundreds of thousands of resources running across your cloud environments at any given time. Of course, these resources aren’t running independently. In modern environments, these resources are all interconnected and in many cases interdependent. This interconnectivity means that if one resource or account is compromised, the whole system is at risk. Should a bad actor gain access to your systems via an open port, there are a number of avenues for them to move laterally across your environment, and even across environments, if your cloud environment is connected to your on-premises network.

Because of this, security teams need to understand how resources deployed across their environment relate to and interact with each other to effectively assess and prioritize risk remediation efforts.

For example, it’s helpful to know whether or not a resource is publicly available and it shouldn’t be, but what if that’s not the whole story? Perhaps that resource also provided an avenue to a database that was housing sensitive customer data, or was assigned a role that enabled it to escalate privileges and cause havoc across your environment. These types of toxic combinations compound risk and widen the potential blast radius should a resource or account be compromised.

Introducing Attack Path Analysis in InsightCloudSec

Attack Path Analysis provides a graph-based visualization that enables users to quickly identify the potential avenues that bad actors could use to navigate your cloud environment to exploit a vulnerable resource and/or access sensitive information.

With Attack Path Analysis, you can:

  • Visualize risk across your cloud environments in real-time, mapping relationships between compromised resources and the rest of your environment.
  • Prioritize remediation efforts by understanding the toxic risk combinations present in your environment that provide bad actors avenues to access business-critical resources and sensitive data.
  • Clearly communicate risk and the potential impact of an exploit to non-technical stakeholders with easy-to-consume attack path visualizations.

Identifying Toxic Combinations that Compound Risk and Widen the Blast Radius of an Attack

To effectively prioritize remediation efforts for the various risk signals across your environment, you need to take into account exploitability—whether or not a vulnerable account or resource can actually be accessed by a bad actor—and the potential impact should that vulnerable resource be compromised.

As an example, let’s dive into an attack path that highlights a publicly exposed compute instance with an attached privileged role. This can be exceedingly difficult to identify, because there are a variety of reasons that a compute instance might be assigned a set of permissions. When that instance is also publicly accessible, even if not directly, this can quickly become a major issue.

In this scenario, the environment would be susceptible to account takeover attacks, in which an attacker can gain control of the instance and use its assigned privileges to steal sensitive data such as login credentials, customer data, financial information or intellectual property. Perhaps even worse, the instance could be weaponized to launch attacks on other systems, cause a denial of service (DOS), or distribute malware across your network.

To remediate this issue, you’ll want to perform an audit to understand whether the compute instance needs to have the permissions and privileges it’s been granted and if it needs to be publicly accessible. Chances are, the answer to one or both will be “no”, and you’ll want to close off public access and/or adjust the privileges assigned to the resource in question.

There are a variety of attack paths that can be detected and investigated in InsightCloudSec upon launch, and we’ll continue to add more in the coming quarters. If you’re interested in learning more about Attack Path Analysis in InsightCloudSec, be sure to check out the dedicated docs page!