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Amazon announced Monday that their cloud storage unit is releasing a new cloud service called Amazon Web Services Secret Region. The new cloud storage service is designed to handle classified information for U.S. spy agencies looking to store their top secrets.
The cloud storage unit was able to provide the intelligence community with Secret Region through a $600 million contract with U.S. intelligence agencies which has solidified Amazon in a top spot when it comes to federal IT contracts. The Amazon Web Services vice president Teresa Carlson said, "The U.S. Intelligence Community can now execute their missions with a common set of tools, a constant flow of the latest technology and the flexibility to rapidly scale with the mission."
John Edwards is a CIA chief information officer and he says the new service is "a key component of the intel community's multi-fabric cloud strategy." Amazon says the service is the "only commercial cloud provider to offer regions to serve government workloads across the full range of data classifications, including the unclassified, sensitive, secret and top secret."
The announcement has also been met with scrutiny because of several recent incidents involving Amazon's cloud-based folders called "buckets" which have left customers sensitive information unprotected on an Amazon server. One notable case was in May when a cybersecurity researcher discovered a Booz Allen Hamilton contractor working at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency left classified government information online in an Amazon Web Service's Bucket with no password protection.
Booz Allen Hamilton later blamed the leak on the employees who did not password the information and allowed to become public. Just one month later the same researcher found the Republican National Committee had left millions of voter's personal information freely available online in, you guessed it, an Amazon Web Service's Bucket.
Chris Vickery of Upguard, the company responsible for the findings, said the responsibility for protecting cloud-based data falls square on the shoulders of the company providing the services, in this case, Amazon. Vickery feels that Amazon could do more to protect its cloud services and should build stronger security.
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