AWS Security Blog

Easily Tag Amazon EC2 Instances and Amazon EBS Volumes on Creation

by Craig Liebendorfer | on | in Announcements | | Comments

In 2010, AWS launched resource tagging for Amazon EC2 instances and other EC2 resources. Since that launch, we have raised the allowable number of tags per resource from 10 to 50 and made tags more useful with the introduction of resource groups and Tag Editor. AWS customers use tags to track ownership, drive their cost accounting processes, implement compliance protocols, and control access to resources via AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) policies.

The AWS tagging model provides separate functions for resource creation and resource tagging. Though this is flexible and has worked well for many of our users, it does result in a small time window when the resources exist in an untagged state. Using two separate functions means that it is possible for resource creation to succeed and tagging to fail, which would leave resources in an untagged state.

New this week, we have made tagging more flexible and more useful, with four new features:

  • Tag on creation – You can now specify tags for EC2 instances and Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS) volumes as part of the API call that creates the resources.
  • Enforced tag usage – You can now write IAM policies that mandate the use of specific tags on EC2 instances and EBS volumes.
  • Resource-level permissions – By popular request, the CreateTags and DeleteTags functions now support IAM’s resource-level permissions.
  • Enforced volume encryption – You can now write IAM policies that mandate the use of encryption for newly created EBS volumes.

To learn more, see the full blog post on the AWS Blog.

– Craig

AWS Achieves FedRAMP Authorization for New Services in the AWS GovCloud (US) Region

by Chad Woolf | on | in Announcements, Compliance | | Comments

Today, we’re pleased to announce an array of AWS services that are available in the AWS GovCloud (US) Region and have achieved Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) High authorizations. The FedRAMP Joint Authorization Board (JAB) has issued Provisional Authority to Operate (P-ATO) approvals, which are effective immediately. If you are a federal or commercial customer, you can use these services to process and store your critical workloads in the AWS GovCloud (US) Region’s authorization boundary with data up to the high impact level.

The services newly available in the AWS GovCloud (US) Region include database, storage, data warehouse, security, and configuration automation solutions that will help you increase your ability to manage data in the cloud. For example, with AWS CloudFormation, you can deploy AWS resources by automating configuration processes. AWS Key Management Service (KMS) enables you to create and control the encryption keys used to secure your data. Amazon Redshift enables you to analyze all your data cost effectively by using existing business intelligence tools to automate common administrative tasks for managing, monitoring, and scaling your data warehouse. (more…)

How to Use Service Control Policies in AWS Organizations to Enforce Healthcare Compliance in Your AWS Account

by Aaron Lima | on | in Compliance, How-to guides | | Comments

AWS customers with healthcare compliance requirements such as the U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Good Laboratory, Clinical, and Manufacturing Practices (GxP) might want to control access to the AWS services their developers use to build and operate their GxP and HIPAA systems. For example, customers with GxP requirements might approve AWS as a supplier on the basis of AWS’s SOC certification and therefore want to ensure that only the services in scope for SOC are available to developers of GxP systems. Likewise, customers with HIPAA requirements might want to ensure that only AWS HIPAA Eligible Services are available to store and process protected health information (PHI). Now with AWS Organizations—policy-based management for multiple AWS accounts—you can programmatically control access to the services within your AWS accounts.

In this blog post, I show how to restrict an AWS account to HIPAA Eligible Services as well as explain why you should include additional supporting AWS services with service control policies (SCPs) in AWS Organizations. Although this example is HIPAA related, you can repurpose it for GxP, a database of Genotypes and Phenotypes (dbGaP) solutions, or other healthcare compliance requirements for which you want to control developers’ access to a specific scope of services. (more…)

How to Monitor Host-Based Intrusion Detection System Alerts on Amazon EC2 Instances

by Cameron Worrell | on | in How-to guides, Security | | Comments

To help you secure your AWS resources, we recommend that you adopt a layered approach that includes the use of preventative and detective controls. For example, incorporating host-based controls for your Amazon EC2 instances can restrict access and provide appropriate levels of visibility into system behaviors and access patterns. These controls often include a host-based intrusion detection system (HIDS) that monitors and analyzes network traffic, log files, and file access on a host. A HIDS typically integrates with alerting and automated remediation solutions to detect and address attacks, unauthorized or suspicious activities, and general errors in your environment.

In this blog post, I show how you can use Amazon CloudWatch Logs to collect and aggregate alerts from an open-source security (OSSEC) HIDS. I use a CloudWatch Logs subscription to deliver the alerts to Amazon Elasticsearch Service (Amazon ES) for analysis and visualization with Kibana – a popular open-source visualization tool. To make it easier for you to see this solution in action, I provide a CloudFormation template to handle most of the deployment work. You can use this solution to gain improved visibility and insights across your EC2 fleet and help drive security remediation activities. For example, if specific hosts are scanning your EC2 instances and triggering OSSEC alerts, you can implement a VPC network access control list (ACL) or AWS WAF rule to block those source IP addresses or CIDR blocks. (more…)

Register for and Attend This March 29 Tech Talk—Best Practices for Managing Security Operations in AWS

by Craig Liebendorfer | on | in Announcements, Best Practices, Compliance, Security | | Comments

AWS webinars logo

As part of the AWS Monthly Online Tech Talks series, AWS will present Best Practices for Managing Security Operations in AWS on Wednesday, March 29. This tech talk will start at 9:00 A.M. and end at 10:00 A.M. Pacific Time.

AWS Global Cloud Security Architect Armando Leite will show you different ways you can use AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) to control access to your AWS services and integrate your existing authentication system with IAM.

You also will learn:

  • How to deploy and control your AWS infrastructure using code templates, including change management policies with AWS CloudFormation.
  • How to audit and log your AWS service usage.
  • How to use AWS services to add automatic compliance checks to your AWS infrastructure.
  • About the AWS Shared Responsibility Model.

The tech talk is free, but space is limited and registration is required. Register today.

– Craig

Move Over JSON – Policy Summaries Make Understanding IAM Policies Easier

by Joy Chatterjee | on | in Announcements, How-to guides | | Comments

Today, we added policy summaries to the IAM console, making it easier for you to understand the permissions in your AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) policies. Instead of reading JSON policy documents, you can scan a table that summarizes services, actions, resources, and conditions for each policy. You can find this summary on the policy detail page or the Permissions tab on an individual IAM user’s page.

In this blog post, I introduce policy summaries and review the details of a policy summary. (more…)

In Case You Missed These: AWS Security Blog Posts from January, February, and March

by Craig Liebendorfer | on | in Announcements, Best Practices, Compliance, Encryption, How-to guides, Security | | Comments

Image of lock and key

In case you missed any AWS Security Blog posts published so far in 2017, they are summarized and linked to below. The posts are shown in reverse chronological order (most recent first), and the subject matter ranges from protecting dynamic web applications against DDoS attacks to monitoring AWS account configuration changes and API calls to Amazon EC2 security groups.

March

March 22: How to Help Protect Dynamic Web Applications Against DDoS Attacks by Using Amazon CloudFront and Amazon Route 53
Using a content delivery network (CDN) such as Amazon CloudFront to cache and serve static text and images or downloadable objects such as media files and documents is a common strategy to improve webpage load times, reduce network bandwidth costs, lessen the load on web servers, and mitigate distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. AWS WAF is a web application firewall that can be deployed on CloudFront to help protect your application against DDoS attacks by giving you control over which traffic to allow or block by defining security rules. When users access your application, the Domain Name System (DNS) translates human-readable domain names (for example, www.example.com) to machine-readable IP addresses (for example, 192.0.2.44). A DNS service, such as Amazon Route 53, can effectively connect users’ requests to a CloudFront distribution that proxies requests for dynamic content to the infrastructure hosting your application’s endpoints. In this blog post, I show you how to deploy CloudFront with AWS WAF and Route 53 to help protect dynamic web applications (with dynamic content such as a response to user input) against DDoS attacks. The steps shown in this post are key to implementing the overall approach described in AWS Best Practices for DDoS Resiliency and enable the built-in, managed DDoS protection service, AWS Shield.

March 21: New AWS Encryption SDK for Python Simplifies Multiple Master Key Encryption
The AWS Cryptography team is happy to announce a Python implementation of the AWS Encryption SDK. This new SDK helps manage data keys for you, and it simplifies the process of encrypting data under multiple master keys. As a result, this new SDK allows you to focus on the code that drives your business forward. It also provides a framework you can easily extend to ensure that you have a cryptographic library that is configured to match and enforce your standards. The SDK also includes ready-to-use examples. If you are a Java developer, you can refer to this blog post to see specific Java examples for the SDK. In this blog post, I show you how you can use the AWS Encryption SDK to simplify the process of encrypting data and how to protect your encryption keys in ways that help improve application availability by not tying you to a single region or key management solution. (more…)

How to Help Protect Dynamic Web Applications Against DDoS Attacks by Using Amazon CloudFront and Amazon Route 53

by Holly Willey | on | in How-to guides, Security | | Comments

Using a content delivery network (CDN) such as Amazon CloudFront to cache and serve static text and images or downloadable objects such as media files and documents is a common strategy to improve webpage load times, reduce network bandwidth costs, lessen the load on web servers, and mitigate distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. AWS WAF is a web application firewall that can be deployed on CloudFront to help protect your application against DDoS attacks by giving you control over which traffic to allow or block by defining security rules. When users access your application, the Domain Name System (DNS) translates human-readable domain names (for example, www.example.com) to machine-readable IP addresses (for example, 192.0.2.44). A DNS service, such as Amazon Route 53, can effectively connect users’ requests to a CloudFront distribution that proxies requests for dynamic content to the infrastructure hosting your application’s endpoints.

In this blog post, I show you how to deploy CloudFront with AWS WAF and Route 53 to help protect dynamic web applications (with dynamic content such as a response to user input) against DDoS attacks. The steps shown in this post are key to implementing the overall approach described in AWS Best Practices for DDoS Resiliency and enable the built-in, managed DDoS protection service, AWS Shield. (more…)

New AWS Encryption SDK for Python Simplifies Multiple Master Key Encryption

by Matt Bullock | on | | Comments

The AWS Cryptography team is happy to announce a Python implementation of the AWS Encryption SDK. This new SDK helps manage data keys for you, and it simplifies the process of encrypting data under multiple master keys. As a result, this new SDK allows you to focus on the code that drives your business forward. It also provides a framework you can easily extend to ensure that you have a cryptographic library that is configured to match and enforce your standards. The SDK also includes ready-to-use examples. If you are a Java developer, you can refer to this blog post to see specific Java examples for the SDK.

In this blog post, I show you how you can use the AWS Encryption SDK to simplify the process of encrypting data and how to protect your encryption keys in ways that help improve application availability by not tying you to a single region or key management solution. (more…)

Updated CJIS Workbook Now Available by Request

by Chris Gile | on | in Compliance | | Comments

CJIS logo

The need for guidance when implementing Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS)–compliant solutions has become of paramount importance as more law enforcement customers and technology partners move to store and process criminal justice data in the cloud. AWS services allow these customers to easily and securely architect a CJIS-compliant solution when handling criminal justice data, creating a durable, cost-effective, and secure IT infrastructure that better supports local, state, and federal law enforcement in carrying out their public safety missions.

AWS has created several documents (collectively referred to as the CJIS Workbook) to assist you in aligning with the FBI’s CJIS Security Policy. You can use the workbook as a framework for developing CJIS-compliant architecture in the AWS Cloud. The workbook helps you define and test the controls you operate, and document the dependence on the controls that AWS operates (compute, storage, database, networking, regions, Availability Zones, and edge locations).

Our most recent updates to the CJIS Workbook include:

AWS’s commitment to facilitating CJIS processes with customers is exemplified by the recent CJIS Agreements put in place with the states of California, Colorado, Louisiana, Minnesota, Oregon, Utah and Washington (to name but a few). As we continue to sign CJIS agreements across the country, law enforcement agencies are able to implement innovations to improve communities’ and officers’ safety, including body cameras, real-time gunshot notifications, and data analytics. With the release of our updated CJIS Workbook, AWS remains dedicated to enabling cloud usage for the law enforcement market.

Please reach out to AWS Compliance if you have additional questions about CJIS or any other set of compliance standards.

– Chris Gile, AWS Risk and Compliance