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We’ve seen many times that no anti-piracy method is infallible. But many voices have been raised, including that of video game publisher Sony, who at the launch of its online gaming platform literally described “cloud gaming” as a solution that could “eliminate piracy” in their patent application, quoting as an example World of Warcraft and its low level of revenue losses due to piracy, as well as other massively multiplayer games.

The cloud has been part of our lives for several years now.

This omnipresence of the cloud has obvious consequences in terms of cybersecurity. While the cloud presents risks, it is also seen by some as a solution that could, in the medium term, make piracy virtually obsolete.

That’s why, in this first part of our article, we’ll look at what the cloud is precisely, and how it can threaten cybersecurity in general, before analyzing its influence on piracy, and more specifically software and video game, in the second part of our article.

But what is the cloud exactly?

Cloud computing is an IT service delivery model that enables access to resources such as servers, databases, networks, software and storage via the Internet. Instead of having its own servers or physical IT infrastructure, an organization can use cloud services provided by third-party cloud service providers to meet its data processing, storage and management needs.

What are the advantages of cloud computing?

  • The cloud is scalable: Cloud resources can be easily adapted to demand. Businesses can rapidly increase or reduce capacity according to their needs, enabling more efficient resource management.
  • Remote access: Users can access resources from anywhere with an Internet connection, enabling mobility and collaboration; this is a feature of particular interest in recent years, as remote working has grown since the Covid-19 pandemic.
    pay-as-you-go: cloud services are often billed according to actual consumption. This enables companies to save on infrastructure costs and adapt to seasonal variations.
  • Centralized management: increased efficiency as everything is in one place
    Resilience: Cloud services are generally designed to be resilient and available around the clock, reducing downtime.
  • Automatic updates: Cloud service providers typically maintain and update software, ensuring access to the latest features and security patches.

Cloud-related vulnerabilities and cybersecurity risks

But, of course, this accessibility of data on the Internet inevitably increases cybersecurity risks. What are they?

Increased number of potential targets

Cloud computing has enabled companies to store and manage huge amounts of data and applications in cloud infrastructures. This has created new potential targets for attackers, as much sensitive data is now accessible via the Internet.

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks

Cloud services can be used to launch massive DDoS attacks using the computing and storage power available. Hackers can also rent cloud resources to amplify their attacks and disrupt online services.

Data leakage

Misconfigurations in the cloud, such as mismanaged permissions, have led to numerous data leaks. Attackers exploit these vulnerabilities to gain access to sensitive data stored in the cloud.

Scalable computing resources

Cloud infrastructures offer the possibility of rapidly adjusting computing resources in line with demand. This means that attackers can also use these capabilities to execute massive attacks without the need for their own expensive infrastructure.

Internal threats

Cloud service providers have privileged access to their customers’ data. This creates a potential risk of internal breach of trust or compromise. Hackers could attempt to infiltrate cloud support teams to gain access to data.

Configuration-dependent security

Security in the cloud depends largely on how services are configured and managed. Configuration errors can inadvertently expose sensitive data, and attackers actively seek out such vulnerabilities.

Malicious cryptomining

Attackers often use stolen cloud resources to mine crypto-currencies, which can be difficult for resource owners to detect.

Cloud storage services

Cloud storage services are often used to store sensitive data, and if login credentials are compromised, data can be stolen or ransomware deployed.

Network traffic analysis

Cloud services offer advanced analysis capabilities. Attackers can use these capabilities to analyze network traffic and identify potential vulnerabilities.

The cloud has indeed created new opportunities for attackers, introducing additional security challenges. Companies therefore need to invest in robust security practices to minimize the risks associated with those cyber-security risks in a cloud environment.

However, while the cloud may have a negative impact on cybersecurity, the more specific impact of the cloud on piracy could well prove positive in the mid to longer term, which we’ll look at in our next article, in mid-November. In the meantime, if you have any content to protect – film, series, book, music album or software – please don’t hesitate to contact us, and one of our account managers will be happy to help. We’ve been pioneers in cybersecurity and intellectual property protection for over ten years, and we know we have a solution for you.

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