Tag: Cloud

Keeper Security and Random Deactivation

Keeper SecurityWe trust cloud services to keep our data secure. But we don’t always think about the impact in the event where the service would have some downtime. Even less in a situation where the provider would decide to disable the service. Well, I had the last situation with one provider, Keeper Security.

Context

All started in June 2017 when I subscribed to a 14-day trial period for the business edition. There is a sale representative who reached out to me toward the end of the trial period. He extended the trial period for 1 year; thus, until June 2018. It was a great offer and did enjoy the service for 11 months. In May 2018, someone from Keeper Security called me and left a message on my voicemail. He said something about the trial period that would expire soon. He was also not so sure why I got that 1-year trial period to start with. He was not able to confirm since the previous sale representative left the company. But he also confirmed that the trial period would expire only in a few weeks and to call him back.

Up to now, everything is good. I was planning to subscribe to the service and obviously to pay for it.

What happens?

Back home, a few hours later, I am ready to purchase a subscription and I login on my account… Then, I receive the error message “This account is expired”! The worst part is that it is not even possible to make a purchase or export the data when the account is not active. I had all my passwords lock in the vault without any warnings for a few hours. It was not even possible to unlock the vault through the browser extensions where I thought my passwords were saved on the local drive. The support team was at least able to quickly reactivate my account for a few days. But it was still a few hours where I thought I had to reset all my passwords.

Finally

As soon as I got access again to my account, I simply exported all my data. And, unfortunately, definitely closed my account with Keeper Security. Even if they have an interesting service, I can’t trust them anymore. This is not a situation directly targeted to this company. However, it did make me think twice about how I use some cloud services. It took me a very long time before trusting a cloud password manager…

I usually have a data export with my most important cloud services but it was not the case with this one. Back to the “old school” way. I have a local software password manager installed on my laptop with my data. KeePassXC, a fork of KeePassX from the well-known KeePass

Cloud Security with Object Storage

AWS logoMany cloud providers are often criticized for the security provided with object storage services. Even more after the disclosure of private information that occurred in 2017 by using these services. These security breaches were also from well-known organizations such as Verizon, Accenture, Booz Allen Hamilton, Viacom, National Security Agency, National Credit FederationAustralian Broadcasting Corporation, Department of DefenseRepublican National Committee, etc. There are often new organizations to add on this list but they are the main one from the last months. These organizations were mainly using the object storage service S3 from AWS.

Object Storage

This is not a technology only provided by AWS with the S3 service. There are many services provided by other well-recognized cloud providers to store files in the cloud such as Azure, Google Cloud, DigitalOcean, IBM, etc. However, AWS S3 is definitely the object storage service that is the most used by many organizations. The service was also first released in 2006 before other services from competitors. The statistics are a little bit old but as of April 2013, AWS mentioned that S3 has more than 2 trillion objects stored with 1.1 million requests per second. In 2018, it is possible to assume these numbers are even higher.

Amazon S3 is often wrongly targeted by the media. It is simply the most popular service used by many organizations of all size. We have to keep in mind that object storage is only a way to store files, often with a cloud provider but it could also be with a private infrastructure.

IT Administrators

I often read some IT professionals and even information security professionals to have doubts on these services. Mainly doubts on the security measures available to protect the information stored. It is important to understand that security breaches related to object storage are often not related to the underlying technologies. Cloud providers such as AWS, Google and Azure are able to provide secure environment for your files. The configuration for such spaces, or buckets in S3 terms, is secure and private by default. How is it possible in this case to have public files on the Internet?

Simply ask your IT administrators. It is more a question of misconfiguration. In order to authorize a public access to the stored files, someone actually needs to perform a manual action to change the default behaviour. The approach would be different for each service but the principle is the same. It is possible to manage accesses on S3 with rules but other services could be simpler with an option to be set at “Private” or “Public”. This is often a configuration available for the space and/or per file.

Maybe it is the time to review the accesses implemented for your files stored in the cloud? From object storage services like S3 but also on services like Office 365, Dropbox, Google Drive, etc. It is so easy to forget about a file that should not be available for all on Internet.

Third-Party Vendors

Are you aware of your third-party vendors who could use object storage with your information? For example, with Verizon and Republican National Committee, in both situations, third-party vendors were involved i.e. Nice Systems and Deep Root Analytics. Organizations easily trust more and more third-party vendors and share confidential information. This data can be about the organization operations but often on clients. Nevertheless, it is important to evaluate the information sent to external vendors and to understand how this one uses the data.