AWS Account Security Management
What are the top security practices that you can follow to improve security in your AWS Account?
Following are the some of the best practices that can be followed to enhance the security of your AWS Account access and usage:
Enable Multi-Factor Authentication
MFA is the best way to protect accounts from inappropriate access. Always set up MFA on your Root user and AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) users. If you use AWS Single Sign-On (SSO) to control access to AWS or to federate your corporate identity store, you can enforce MFA there. Implementing MFA at the federated identity provider (IdP) means that you can take advantage of existing MFA processes in your organization. To get started, see Using Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) in AWS.
IAM Roles to be validated
As you operate your AWS accounts to iterate and build capability, you may end up creating multiple IAM roles that you discover later you don’t need. Use AWS IAM Access Analyzer to review access to your internal AWS resources and determine where you have shared access outside your AWS accounts. Routinely reevaluating AWS IAM roles and permissions with Security Hub or open source products such as Prowler will give you the visibility needed to validate compliance with your Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) policies. If you’re already past this point, and have already created multiple roles, you can search for unused IAM roles and remove them.
Limit Security Groups
Security groups are a keyway that you can enable network access to resources you have provisioned on AWS. Ensuring that only the required ports are open, and the connection is enabled from known network ranges is a foundational approach to security. You can use services such as AWS Config or AWS Firewall Manager to programmatically ensure that the virtual private cloud (VPC) security group configuration is what you intended. The Network Reachability rules package analyzes your Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC) network configuration to determine whether your Amazon EC2 instances can be reached from external networks, such as the Internet, a virtual private gateway, or AWS Direct Connect. AWS Firewall Manager can also be used to automatically apply AWS WAF rules to internet-facing resources across your AWS accounts. Learn more about detecting and responding to changes in VPC Security Groups.
Logging and monitoring are important parts of a robust security plan. Being able to investigate unexpected changes in your environment or perform analysis to iterate on your security posture relies on having access to data. AWS recommends that you write logs, especially AWS CloudTrail, to an S3 bucket in an AWS account designated for logging (Log Archive). The permissions on the bucket should prevent deletion of the logs, and they should also be encrypted at rest. Once the logs are centralized, you can integrate with SIEM solutions or use AWS services to analyze them. Learn how to use AWS services to visualize AWS CloudTrail logs. Once you have CloudTrail logs centralized, you can also use the same Log Archive account to centralize logs from other sources, such as CloudWatch Logs and AWS load balancers.
Not Having Secrets Hardcoded
When you build applications on AWS, you can use AWS IAM roles to deliver temporary, short-lived credentials for calling AWS services. However, some applications require longer-lived credentials, such as database passwords or other API keys. If this is the case, you should never hard code these secrets in the application or store them in source code.
You can use AWS Secrets Manager to control the information in your application. Secrets Manager allows you to rotate, manage, and retrieve database credentials, API keys, and other secrets through their lifecycle. Users and applications can retrieve secrets with a call to Secrets Manager APIs, eliminating the need to hard code sensitive information in plain text.
You should also learn how to use AWS IAM roles for applications running on Amazon EC2. Also, for best results, learn how to securely provide database credentials to AWS Lambda functions by using AWS Secrets Manager.
When AWS needs to contact you about your AWS account, they use the contact information defined in the AWS Management Console, including the email address used to create the account and those listed under Alternate Contacts. All email addresses should be set up to go to aliases that are not dependent on a single person. You should also have a process for regularly checking that these email addresses work, and that you are responding to emails—especially security notifications you might receive from firstname.lastname@example.org.
One of the things that Security Hub provides is a view of the compliance posture of your AWS accounts using the CIS Benchmarks. One of these checks is to look for IAM users with access keys more than 90 days old. If you need to use access keys rather than roles, you should rotate them regularly. Review best practices for managing AWS access keys for more guidance. If your users access AWS via federation, then you can remove the need to issue AWS access keys for your users. Users authenticate to the IdP and assume an IAM role in the target AWS account. The result is that long-term credentials are not needed, and your user will have short-term credentials associated with an IAM role.
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