SolarWinds Hacked – Or “Another Example of Why Putting Security in the Cloud Might Not Be Safe”

The supply chain giant SolarWinds, used by every major branch of the government, all military branches, and almost all of the Fortune 500 companies, has been hacked by a Russian hacking group that gained access to sensitive emails, APIs, and SSO tokens and user accounts since as far back as March of 2020.   See a summary from Krebs here:

This is a classic example of why outsourcing  your security and sensitive operations isn’t always a good idea. 

One of the most frequent discussions we have with our clients is why we are generally opposed to putting security operations “in the cloud”.  After all, it’s offered by just about every IT supplier, and the security software vendors are all jumping on board as well.  Sure they are, because it’s a great recurring revenue source for them, as opposed to buying a traditional perpetual software license that you install on your premises computer(s).

To be sure, there are obviously Cloud deployments that can be done safely and securely; then again, that’s probably what SolarWinds thought too.  Security, and especially Cyber Security, is a never ending game of cat-and-mouse, with the mousetrap always getting better and the mouse always getting smarter.  

We will see this again, whether it’s another twitter hack where celebrities posting for bitcoin submissions ( or maybe a service provider like Workday or Okta getting hacked and exposing sensitive client data to be sold on the darkweb or nation states for further exploitation. 

For certain clients or situations, using cloud based security application makes sense, but in general we advise against using the cloud for access control and video surveillance for sensitive locations or enterprise applications.

Caveat Emptor.

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