On Monday, Amazon announced a new cloud storage service for U.S. intelligence agencies. The service dubbed Amazon Web Services Secret Region will cost U.S. taxpayers $600 million, which makes the e-commerce giant the largest player in the federal IT field.
Amazon announced U.S. spies will now have access to common tools, the latest technology, and flexibility for each of their missions. CIA’s CIO John Edwards praised the new storage service as a key component of U.S. intel agencies’ cloud strategy.
Amazon claims the new service is secure enough for the storage of sensitive, secret and top-secret information. The new service was unveiled in the midst of a scandal concerning the security of cloud storage when it comes to government work.
Amazon’s cloud storage unit has landed under scrutiny after government workers left sensitive material in an unprotected cloud-based folder.
In May, a National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency contractor forgot to secure an Amazon cloud-based folder which contained sensitive information. The contractor placed the blame on one of his employees for the mishap.
In June, cybersecurity experts found sensitive data on millions of voters left unprotected on a Republican National Committee-owned server. The information was freely available online to anyone knowing its exact location.
On Friday, CNN found that the Pentagon was involved in a similar incident. Defense Department employees left a trove of confidential web-monitoring data in an Amazon Web Services’ folder unprotected.
Any owner of a free AWS account could have accessed the data. Amazon advised federal customers to give access to certain info only to “people that absolutely need it”.
All three exposures were the work of a team of cybersecurity experts from Upguard. Researchers explained that the responsibility for keeping the info secure lies with the companies that pay for the services, not with Amazon.
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