AWS Security Blog

Category: AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM)

An Instructive Tale About Using IAM Best Practices

An interesting blog post came to our attention recently—My $500 Cloud Security Screw-up by Rich Mogull. He describes how he learned to adhere to several important AWS security principles through several unfortunate events.   Mike Pope, senior technical writer for AWS Identity, paraphrases the post here. Rich had inadvertently leaked his AWS access keys, allowing some […]

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Make a New Year Resolution

Make a New Year Resolution for 2014 to adhere to best practices put forth by AWS Security and Identity.  There are two great pieces of work published in 2013 that are filled with guidance and are highly actionable.  AWS published the Security Best Practices whitepaper, providing a landscape of various security oriented technologies, including IAM, […]

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Delegating API Access to AWS Services Using IAM Roles

Suppose you run a research lab and you dump a terabyte or so of data into Amazon DynamoDB for easy processing and analysis. Your colleagues at other labs and in the commercial sphere have become aware of your research and would like to reproduce your results and perform further analysis on their own. AWS supports this very important […]

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IAM Policies and Bucket Policies and ACLs! Oh, My! (Controlling Access to S3 Resources)

In previous posts we’ve explained how to write S3 policies for the console and how to use policy variables to grant access to user-specific S3 folders. This week we’ll discuss another frequently asked-about topic: the distinction between IAM policies, S3 bucket policies, S3 ACLs, and when to use each. They’re all part of the AWS […]

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Guidelines for When to Use Accounts, Users, and Groups

I often get asked when to use different AWS accounts to enforce separation of duties versus using IAM users and groups within a single account. While the complete answer depends on what AWS services you use, the general guidelines in this post will point you in the right direction. As context for the guidelines, consider […]

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How to Rotate Access Keys for IAM Users

Changing access keys (which consist of an access key ID and a secret access key) on a regular schedule is a well-known security best practice because it shortens the period an access key is active and therefore reduces the business impact if they are compromised. Having an established process that is run regularly also ensures […]

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Using IAM Roles to Distribute Non-AWS Credentials to Your EC2 Instances

Last week’s blog post explained how to distribute AWS credentials to EC2 instances using IAM roles.  Will Kruse, Security Engineer on the AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) team, is back again this week to discuss how roles can also be used to distribute arbitrary secrets to EC2 instances. As we discussed last week, Amazon EC2 Roles for Instances […]

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