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Hundreds of Exposed Amazon Cloud Backups Found Leaking Sensitive Data

An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: New research just presented at the Def Con security conference reveals how companies, startups and governments are inadvertently leaking their own files from the cloud. You may have heard of exposed S3 buckets — those Amazon-hosted storage servers packed with customer data but often misconfigured and inadvertently set to “public” for anyone to access. But you may not have heard about exposed EBS snapshots, which poses as much, if not a greater, risk. These elastic block storage (EBS) snapshots are the “keys to the kingdom,” said Ben Morris, a senior security analyst at cybersecurity firm Bishop Fox, in a call with TechCrunch ahead of his Def Con talk. EBS snapshots store all the data for cloud applications. “They have the secret keys to your applications and they have database access to your customers’ information,” he said.

Morris built a tool using Amazon’s own internal search feature to query and scrape publicly exposed EBS snapshots, then attach it, make a copy and list the contents of the volume on his system. It took him two months to build up a database of exposed data and just a few hundred dollars spent on Amazon cloud resources. Once he validates each snapshot, he deletes the data. Morris found dozens of snapshots exposed publicly in one region alone, he said, including application keys, critical user or administrative credentials, source code and more. He found several major companies, including healthcare providers and tech companies. He also found VPN configurations, which he said could allow him to tunnel into a corporate network. Morris said he did not use any credentials or sensitive data, as it would be unlawful.


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