Category: Federation


How to Access the AWS Management Console Using AWS Microsoft AD and Your On-Premises Credentials

by Vijay Sharma | on | in Announcements, Federation, How-to guides | | Comments

AWS Directory Service for Microsoft Active Directory, also known as AWS Microsoft AD, is a managed Microsoft Active Directory (AD) hosted in the AWS Cloud. Now, AWS Microsoft AD makes it easy for you to give your users permission to manage AWS resources by using on-premises AD administrative tools. With AWS Microsoft AD, you can grant your on-premises users permissions to resources such as the AWS Management Console instead of adding AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) user accounts or configuring AD Federation Services (AD FS) with Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML).

In this blog post, I show how to use AWS Microsoft AD to enable your on-premises AD users to sign in to the AWS Management Console with their on-premises AD user credentials to access and manage AWS resources through IAM roles. (more…)

The Most Viewed AWS Security Blog Posts in 2016

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

The following 10 posts were the most viewed AWS Security Blog posts that we published during 2016. You can use this list as a guide to catch up on your blog reading or even read a post again that you found particularly useful.

  1. How to Set Up DNS Resolution Between On-Premises Networks and AWS Using AWS Directory Service and Amazon Route 53
  2. How to Control Access to Your Amazon Elasticsearch Service Domain
  3. How to Restrict Amazon S3 Bucket Access to a Specific IAM Role
  4. Announcing AWS Organizations: Centrally Manage Multiple AWS Accounts
  5. How to Configure Rate-Based Blacklisting with AWS WAF and AWS Lambda
  6. How to Use AWS WAF to Block IP Addresses That Generate Bad Requests
  7. How to Record SSH Sessions Established Through a Bastion Host
  8. How to Manage Secrets for Amazon EC2 Container Service–Based Applications by Using Amazon S3 and Docker
  9. Announcing Industry Best Practices for Securing AWS Resources
  10. How to Set Up DNS Resolution Between On-Premises Networks and AWS Using AWS Directory Service and Microsoft Active Directory

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SAML Identity Federation: Follow-Up Questions, Materials, Guides, and Templates from an AWS re:Invent 2016 Workshop (SEC306)

by Quint Van Deman | on | in Best Practices, Federation, How-to guides | | Comments

As part of the re:Source Mini Con for Security Services at AWS re:Invent 2016, we conducted a workshop focused on Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) identity federation: Choose Your Own SAML Adventure: A Self-Directed Journey to AWS Identity Federation Mastery. As part of this workshop, attendees were able to submit their own federation-focused questions to a panel of AWS experts. In this post, I share the questions and answers from that workshop because this information can benefit any AWS customer interested in identity federation.

I have also made available the full set of workshop materials, lab guides, and AWS CloudFormation templates. I encourage you to use these materials to enrich your exploration of SAML for use with AWS.

Q: SAML assertions are limited to 50,000 characters. We often hit this limit by being in too many groups. What can AWS do to resolve this size-limit problem?

A: Because the SAML assertion is ultimately part of an API call, an upper bound must be in place for the assertion size.

On the AWS side, your AWS solution architect can log a feature request on your behalf to increase the maximum size of the assertion in a future release. The AWS service teams use these feature requests, in conjunction with other avenues of customer feedback, to plan and prioritize the features they deliver. To facilitate this process you need two things: the proposed higher value to which you’d like to see the maximum size raised, and a short written description that would help us understand what this increased limit would enable you to do. (more…)

In Case You Missed These: AWS Security Blog Posts from June, July, and August

by Craig Liebendorfer | on | in Announcements, Compliance, Encryption, Federation, How-to guides | | Comments

In case you missed any AWS Security Blog posts from June, July, and August, they are summarized and linked to below. The posts are shown in reverse chronological order (most recent first), and the subject matter ranges from a tagging limit increase to recording SSH sessions established through a bastion host.

August

August 16: Updated Whitepaper Available: AWS Best Practices for DDoS Resiliency
We recently released the 2016 version of the AWS Best Practices for DDoS Resiliency Whitepaper, which can be helpful if you have public-facing endpoints that might attract unwanted distributed denial of service (DDoS) activity.

August 15: Now Organize Your AWS Resources by Using up to 50 Tags per Resource
Tagging AWS resources simplifies the way you organize and discover resources, allocate costs, and control resource access across services. Many of you have told us that as the number of applications, teams, and projects running on AWS increases, you need more than 10 tags per resource. Based on this feedback, we now support up to 50 tags per resource. You do not need to take additional action—you can begin applying as many as 50 tags per resource today.

August 11: New! Import Your Own Keys into AWS Key Management Service
Today, we are happy to announce the launch of the new import key feature that enables you to import keys from your own key management infrastructure (KMI) into AWS Key Management Service (KMS). After you have exported keys from your existing systems and imported them into KMS, you can use them in all KMS-integrated AWS services and custom applications.

August 2: Customer Update: Amazon Web Services and the EU-US Privacy Shield
Recently, the European Commission and the US Government agreed on a new framework called the EU-US Privacy Shield, and on July 12, the European Commission formally adopted it. AWS welcomes this new framework for transatlantic data flow. As the EU-US Privacy Shield replaces Safe Harbor, we understand many of our customers have questions about what this means for them. The security of our customers’ data is our number one priority, so I wanted to take a few moments to explain what this all means.

August 2: How to Remove Single Points of Failure by Using a High-Availability Partition Group in Your AWS CloudHSM Environment
In this post, I will walk you through steps to remove single points of failure in your AWS CloudHSM environment by setting up a high-availability (HA) partition group. Single points of failure occur when a single CloudHSM device fails in a non-HA configuration, which can result in the permanent loss of keys and data. The HA partition group, however, allows for one or more CloudHSM devices to fail, while still keeping your environment operational. (more…)

In Case You Missed These: AWS Security Blog Posts from March and April

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

In case you missed any of the AWS Security Blog posts from March and April, they are summarized and linked to below. The posts are shown in reverse chronological order (most recent first), and the subject matter ranges from the AWS Config Rules repository to automatically updating AWS WAF IP blacklists.

April

April 28, AWS WAF How-To: How to Import IP Address Reputation Lists to Automatically Update AWS WAF IP Blacklists
A number of organizations maintain reputation lists of IP addresses used by bad actors. Their goal is to help legitimate companies block access from specific IP addresses and protect their web applications from abuse. These downloadable, plaintext reputation lists include Spamhaus’s Don’t Route Or Peer (DROP) List and Extended Drop (EDROP) List, and Proofpoint’s Emerging Threats IP list. Similarly, the Tor project’s Tor exit node list provides a list of IP addresses currently used by Tor users to access the Internet. Tor is a web proxy that anonymizes web requests and is sometimes used by malicious users to probe or exploit websites.

April 27, Federated SSO How-To: How to Set Up Federated Single Sign-On to AWS Using Google Apps
Among the services offered to Google Apps for Work users is a Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) 2.0–based SSO service. You can use this service to provide one-click SSO to your AWS resources by using your existing Google Apps credentials. For users to whom you grant SSO access, they will see an additional SAML app in your Google Apps account, as highlighted in the following screenshot. When your users click the SAML app, Google Apps authenticates and redirects them to the AWS Management Console. In this blog post, I will show you how you can use Google Apps to set up federated SSO to your AWS resources.

April 21, AWS WAF How-To: How to Prevent Hotlinking by Using AWS WAF, Amazon CloudFront, and Referer Checking
You can use AWS WAF to help prevent hotlinking. AWS WAF is a web application firewall that is closely integrated with Amazon CloudFront (AWS’s content delivery network [CDN]), and it can help protect your web applications from common web exploits that could affect application availability, compromise security, and consume excessive resources. In this blog post, I will show you how to prevent hotlinking by using header inspection in AWS WAF, while still taking advantage of the improved user experience from a CDN such as CloudFront. (more…)

Now Available: Videos and Slide Decks from the re:Invent 2015 Security and Compliance Track

by Craig Liebendorfer | on | in Best Practices, Compliance, Customer stories, Encryption, Enterprise, Federation, Government, How-to guides, Networking | | Comments

Whether you want to review a Security and Compliance track session you attended at re:Invent 2015, or you want to experience a session for the first time, videos and slide decks from the Security and Compliance track are now available.

SEC201: AWS Security State of the Union: How Should We All Think About Security?

SEC202: If You Build It, They Will Come: Best Practices for Securely Leveraging the Cloud

SEC203: Journey to Securing Time Inc.’s Move to the Cloud

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How to Implement a General Solution for Federated API/CLI Access Using SAML 2.0

by Quint Van Deman | on | in Federation, How-to guides | | Comments

Note: Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS) 3.0 uses form-based authentication by default. If you are using AD FS 3.0 in this configuration, use the solution presented in this post.

In my earlier post, How to Implement Federated API and CLI Access Using SAML 2.0 and AD FS, I walked through how to implement federated API and CLI access by using AD FS and some Python code. Since then, I’ve received a number of requests asking if the same approach could be used with other identity providers that support SAML (Security Assertion Markup Language) 2.0. I am now happy to answer that question with “most definitely!”

In this blog post, I’ll show you how to extend my previous implementation to use form-based authentication, which is supported by nearly all Identity Providers (IdPs). (more…)

How to Connect Your On-Premises Active Directory to AWS Using AD Connector

by Jeremy Cowan | on | in Federation, How-to guides | | Comments

AD Connector is designed to give you an easy way to establish a trusted relationship between your Active Directory and AWS. When AD Connector is configured, the trust allows you to:

  • Sign in to AWS applications such as Amazon WorkSpaces, Amazon WorkDocs, and Amazon WorkMail by using your Active Directory credentials.
  • Seamlessly join Windows instances to your Active Directory domain either through the Amazon EC2 launch wizard or programmatically through the EC2 Simple System Manager (SSM) API.
  • Provide federated sign-in to the AWS Management Console by mapping Active Directory identities to AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) roles.

AD Connector cannot be used with your custom applications, as it is only used for secure AWS integration for the three use-cases mentioned above. Custom applications relying on your on-premises Active Directory should communicate with your domain controllers directly.  (more…)

In Case You Missed These: Recent AWS Security Blog Posts

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

Just in case you missed any of the AWS Security Blog posts from the last month or so, we have summarized and linked to them in this blog post. The linked posts are shown in reverse chronological order (most recent first), and the subject matter ranges from privacy and data security at Amazon to AWS re:Invent 2015.

June 12:  Privacy and Data Security

Amazon knows customers care deeply about privacy and data security, and we optimize our work to get these issues right for customers. With this post I’d like to provide a number of observations on our policies and positions.

June 8: FERPA Compliance in the AWS Cloud

The security of personally identifiable information (PII) continues to be an important topic among all sectors, and education is no exception. Covered entities subject to FERPA are turning to cloud computing as a highly efficient way to manage and secure vast amounts of educational records and student data. To bring clarity to securing student data and privacy, we recently published a FERPA Compliance on AWS whitepaper. (more…)

How to Implement Federated API and CLI Access Using SAML 2.0 and AD FS

by Quint Van Deman | on | in Federation, How-to guides | | Comments

Note 1: On August 12, 2015, I published a follow-up to this post, which is called How to Implement a General Solution for Federated API/CLI Access Using SAML 2.0. Be sure to see that post if you want to implement a general federation solution (not specific to AD FS).

Note 2: This post focuses on NTLM authentication, the default authentication mechanism for AD FS 2.0. If you are using AD FS 3.0—which uses form-based authentication by default—see How to Implement a General Solution for Federated API/CLI Access Using SAML 2.0.


AWS supports identity federation using SAML (Security Assertion Markup Language) 2.0. Using SAML, you can configure your AWS accounts to integrate with your identity provider (IdP). Once configured, your federated users are authenticated and authorized by your organization’s IdP, and then can use single sign-on (SSO) to sign in to the AWS Management Console. This not only obviates the need for your users to remember yet another user name and password, but it also streamlines identity management for your administrators. This is great if your federated users want to access the AWS Management Console, but what if they want to use the AWS CLI or programmatically call AWS APIs?

In this blog post, I will show you how you can implement federated API and CLI access for your users. The examples provided use the AWS Python SDK and some additional client-side integration code. If you have federated users that require this type of access, implementing this solution should earn you more than one high five on your next trip to the water cooler. (more…)