AWS Security Blog
Automate analyzing your permissions using IAM access advisor APIs
As an administrator that grants access to AWS, you might want to enable your developers to get started with AWS quickly by granting them broad access. However, as your developers gain experience and your applications stabilize, you want to limit permissions to only what they need. To do this, access advisor will determine the permissions your developers have used by analyzing the last timestamp when an IAM entity (for example, a user, role, or group) accessed an AWS service. This information helps you audit service access, remove unnecessary permissions, and set appropriate permissions across different environments. For example, you can grant broad access to services in development accounts and then reduce permissions for access to specific services in production accounts. Finally, as you manage more IAM entities and AWS accounts, you need a way to scale these processes through automation. To help you achieve this automation, you can now use IAM access advisor APIs with the AWS Command Line Interface (AWS CLI) or a programmatic client.
In this post, I first provide the details of the access advisor APIs. Next, I walk through an example to demonstrate how you can use the AWS CLI to create a report of the last-accessed timestamps for the services used by the roles in your account. In this post, I assume that you’re familiar with access advisor and how to Remove Unnecessary Permissions in Your IAM Policies by Using Service Last Accessed Data from the IAM console. Before I share an example, I’ll describe the new IAM access advisor APIs:
- generate-service-last-accessed-details: Generates the service last accessed data for an IAM resource (user, role, group, or policy). You need to call this API first to start a job that generates the service last accessed data for the IAM resource. This API returns a JobId that you will use for the other APIs, such as get-service-last-accessed-details, to determine the status of the job completion.
- get-service-last-accessed-details: Use this to retrieve the service last accessed data for an IAM resource based on the JobID you pass in.
- get-service-last-accessed-details-with-entities: Use this to retrieve the service last accessed data for a specific AWS service. The API provides you with a list of all the IAM entities who have access to the service and includes the last accessed date for each IAM entity.
- list-policies-granting-service-access: Use this to retrieve all the IAM policies that grant permissions to the services accessed for an IAM entity. This helps you identify the policies you need to modify to remove any unused permissions.
Now that you understand the different IAM access advisor APIs, I’ll walk through an example to demonstrate how to use them to set permissions based on service last accessed information.
Example use case: Setting permissions for IAM roles
Assume Arnav Desai is a security administrator for Example Corp. He works with several development teams and monitors their access across multiple accounts. To get his development teams up and running quickly, he initially created multiple roles with broad permissions that are based on job function in the development accounts. Now, his developers are ready to deploy workloads to production accounts. The developers need access to configure AWS, however, Arnav only wants to grant them access to what they need. To determine these permissions, he uses access advisor APIs to automate a process that helps him understand the services developers accessed in the last six months. Using this information, he authors policies to grant access to specific services in production. I’ll now show you an example to achieve this in one account using AWS CLI commands.
First, Arnav uses the list-roles command to list the IAM roles in his development account. For this example, there are two roles in his development account: DBAdminRole and NetworkAdminRole.
For each role, he uses the generate-service-last-accessed-details command to generate the service last accessed data for the role. Here’s an example of the command that he uses:
The command above provides Arnav with a JobId for each role signaling that the job has started generating the service last accessed details. Arnav waits for the job to complete successfully to retrieve the access advisor information. In the meantime, he can call the get-service-last-accessed-details command to view the JobStatus of the job. Once the jobs for both roles are COMPLETED, Arnav can view the service last accessed report for both the roles, as shown below.
Note: I’ve truncated the output because the DBAdminRole doesn’t access other services.
Note: I’ve truncated the output because the NetworkAdminRole doesn’t access other services.
Based on the output above, you can see that the two roles in development accessed Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon S3, and Amazon EC2 in the last six months. Using this information, Arnav can author a policy to grant access to these specific services for the production accounts.
In this post, I reviewed IAM access advisor APIs and shown how you can use them to determine service last accessed information programmatically. You can use this information to audit access, removed unused permissions, or grant appropriate permissions across your accounts.
If you have comments about retrieving Access Advisor service last accessed information programmatically, submit them in the Comments section below. If you have issues using access advisor commands, start a thread on the IAM forum or contact AWS Support.
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