A comprehensive measurement of cloud service abuse

Naoki Fukushi, Daiki Chiba, Mitsuaki Akiyama, Masato Uchida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cloud services are maliciously used as an infrastructure for cyber-attacks. In a cloud service, the assigned Internet Protocol (IP) address for a server is owned by the cloud service provider. When the server is shut down, the assigned IP address is freed for reuse and assigned to another server in the same cloud service. Cyber-attackers abusing cloud services in this way therefore pose a serious risk since legitimate service providers, developers, and end users may be mistakenly blacklisted which lowers the image and hurts the reputation of the service. In this study, we conducted a large-scale measurement of cloud service abuse by using blacklisted IP addresses. Our analysis of four cloud services over 154 days using 39 blacklists revealed that a total of 61,060 IP addresses from these cloud service providers were blacklisted, approximately 14,000 IP addresses continue to be blacklisted, and approximately 5% are replaced daily. Moreover, our study revealed trends in attacks that abuse cloud services with respect to attack type, region, duration, and anti-abuse countermeasures. Finally, we discuss recommendations for cloud service users, cloud service providers, and blacklist providers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-102
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of information processing
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Blacklist
  • Cloud
  • IP address

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)


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