AWS Security Fundamentals eBook
As more and more organizations migrate to the cloud, security remains a top of mind concern. Just as in traditional IT infrastructures, data breach...Learn More
AWS Security and more AWS security. We all know it’s important, but if you’re like me, there always seems to be a nagging doubt in the back of your mind that somewhere, there’s a nasty hole in your infrastructure, and that some hacker is prodding and probing away trying to find it. It sometimes seems that keeping everything 100% secure is a losing battle.
However, I do believe there are a few things that can be easily plugged that can make a big difference.
This is something about which AWS is constantly trying to remind us – even I’ve written about it before. It’s probably the easiest and most important security move you can make.
1a) What you need to check
Login to your AWS console root account and click on Identity and Access Management. If you see the a nice green tick next to the “Delete your root access keys” box…
…Then everything is OK and you don’t need to do anything.
However, if you see this:
Do the following:
1b) What you need to do
I originally left this until the end of the article. However I realised that it makes a lot more sense having it right here, before we remove our unused Security Groups in the next step. This is because having everything correctly named will be easier to actually see which Security Groups should, in fact, be removed.
2a) What you need to check
Go through all your resources and check to see that everything – EC2 Instances, Security Groups, Network Interfaces, Volumes, Snapshots – has a name. Why? Because it will make keeping track of your resources so much easier and make it more likely that you will quickly spot anything being misused.
2b) What you need to do
Give everything a name. More importantly the name should be related to what the resource’s specific function is. Make sure you do this for all your resources in all regions.
Note: If you want to be even more thorough, then TAG everything. So instead of being restricted to just a name, you can add your own key-value pairs.
Now, with everything nicely named or tagged, it’s time to get rid of any unused security groups. Cleaning out your security groups eliminates the risk that a forgotten security group policy will be used to accidentally open an attack surface.
3a) What you need to check
Open your EC2 Console and click on ‘Security Groups.’ You should see a list of all your Security Groups
3b) What you need to do
Go through them carefully and delete any that you are certain aren’t being used or don’t belong to a default security group. If you try to delete a group that is being used, you should see a warning pop-up telling you. In any case, review the policies of all groups to make sure there are no unnecessary holes.
If you are the only one who connects to your instances via SSH, you should restrict access to sessions originating from your IP only.
4a) What you need to check
…Do the following:
4b) What you need to do
Click on ‘edit’ and then select the Source for SSH as MY IP, then save it as follows:
Repeat for all Security Groups in all regions.
Avoid using your AWS root account credentials (ie: your original AWS login) to access AWS.
5a) What you need to check
5b) What you need to do
AWS Security can be a little overwhelming at times, but if you make sure you get the easy stuff right from the beginning, then you should find yourself ahead of the game.
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