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Identity Pools Authentication Flow

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Key Management Service (KMS)
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What is KMS?
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Components of KMS
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AWS Web Application Firewall
AWS Shield

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Overview
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Description

This course looks at the key Security services within AWS relevant to the SysOps Administrator - Associate exam. The core to security is Identity & Access Management, commonly referred to as IAM. This service manages identities and their permissions that are able to access your AWS resources and so understanding how this service works and what you can do with it will help you to maintain a secure AWS environment.  In addition to IAM, this course covers a range of other security services covering encryption and access control

Learning Objectives

  • Learn about identity and access management on AWS including users, groups & roles, IAM policies, MFA, and cross-account access
  • Learn the fundamentals of AWS Web Application Firewall (WAF) including what it is, when to use it, how it works, and why use it
  • Learn how to manage data protection through encryption services such as the Key Management Service (KMS) and CloudHSM
  • Learn how to secure your AWS accounts using AWS Organizations
  • Understand how to configure and monitor AWS WAF, Firewall Manager, and Shield
  • Learn the fundamentals of access control via federation using AWS Cognito and AWS SSO
Transcript

Alrighty, now let’s take a look at how authentication works with Identity pools.

The first part we should already be familiar with. Your application needs to have the user sign in with Cognito user pools and that can take place using either the user pool itself, a social sign-in, your SAML-backed authentication service or something of that ilk.

At this stage, an Identity Token is sent by the IDP back to the Cognito user Pool.  Now Cognito does not store the credentials by the IDP or forward this to your mobile app, instead, the IDP token will be normalized into a standard token, called a Cognito User Pool Token, or CUP token and this will be used and stored by Cognito.  This essentially means that it doesn’t matter if the user authenticated via an account in the User Pool, or federated access, all tokens will be standardized that are sent back to your app.

The actions carried out by the user on your app might also need to access back-end services or APIs that you have created, for example, you might be using API Gateway or Lambda - which accepts these CUP tokens, so Cognito will use the same CUP token to authenticate and authorize you to use those APIs with API Gateway, etc.

Now some services do not allow you to use the CUP tokens for authentication. If your mobile app requires access to services such as S3 or DynamoDB on the user’s behalf, then you will need to use the Identity Pool to authenticate. 

The CUP Token can be sent to the Identity Pool, where an STS Token (Security Token Service) will be created based off of your CUP token, and this will be sent back to your application.  

With these AWS credentials, your application will now be allowed to call upon those other AWS services.

These credentials will be linked to an AWS role you have associated with your users within the identity pool.

 

About the Author
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Stuart Scott
AWS Content Director
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Stuart has been working within the IT industry for two decades covering a huge range of topic areas and technologies, from data center and network infrastructure design, to cloud architecture and implementation.

To date, Stuart has created 90+ courses relating to Cloud reaching over 140,000 students, mostly within the AWS category and with a heavy focus on security and compliance.

Stuart is a member of the AWS Community Builders Program for his contributions towards AWS.

He is AWS certified and accredited in addition to being a published author covering topics across the AWS landscape.

In January 2016 Stuart was awarded ‘Expert of the Year Award 2015’ from Experts Exchange for his knowledge share within cloud services to the community.

Stuart enjoys writing about cloud technologies and you will find many of his articles within our blog pages.