Episode Summary

This week in security: the folks at Duckbill Group are at it again with their annual t-shirt charity campaign! This year’s charity of choice “826 National,” where some folks are doing some amazing stuff. AWS develops a nervous Twitch, bounty hunters listen up for a thousand euro reward, your text messages may have been hacked, and more!

Episode Show Notes & Transcript


Corey: This is the AWS Morning Brief: Security Edition. AWS is fond of saying security is job zero. That means it’s nobody in particular’s job, which means it falls to the rest of us. Just the news you need to know, none of the fluff.

Corey: This episode is sponsored in part by Thinkst Canary. This might take a little bit to explain, so bear with me. I linked against an early version of their tool, canarytokens.org, in the very early days of my newsletter, and what it does is relatively simple and straightforward. It winds up embedding credentials, files, or anything else like that that you can generate in various parts of your environment, wherever you want them to live. It gives you fake AWS API credentials, for example, and the only thing that these things do is alert you whenever someone attempts to use them. It’s an awesome approach to detecting breaches. I’ve used something similar for years myself before I found them. Check them out. But wait, there’s more because they also have an enterprise option that you should be very much aware of: canary.tools. You can take a look at this, but what it does is it provides an enterprise approach to drive these things throughout your entire environment and manage them centrally. You can get a physical device that hangs out on your network and impersonates whatever you want to. When it gets Nmap scanned, or someone attempts to log into it, or access files that it presents on a fake file store, you get instant alerts. It’s awesome. If you don’t do something like this, instead you’re likely to find out that you’ve gotten breached the very hard way. So, check it out. It’s one of those few things that I look at and say, “Wow, that is an amazing idea. I am so glad I found them. I love it.” Again, those URLs are canarytokens.org and canary.tools. And the first one is free because of course it is. The second one is enterprise-y. You’ll know which one of those you fall into. Take a look. I’m a big fan. More to come from Thinkst Canary in the weeks ahead.

Corey: To begin with, the big news is that week is the week of the year in which the Last Week in AWS charity shirt is available for sale. All proceeds to benefit 826 National. To get your snarky, sarcastic shirt, “The AWS Status Page,” this year, visit lastweekinaws.com/charityshirt and thank you in advance for your support.

Now, last week’s big security news was about Amazon’s subsidiary, Twitch—or Twetch, depending upon pronunciation. It had a bunch of its code repos and streamer payouts leaked. Given that they are in fact an Amazon company largely hosted on AWS, you know, except for the streaming parts; are you a lunatic? That would cost ALL the money—this makes it tricky for AWS to message this as not their problem as per their vaunted Shared Responsibility Model. What’s the takeaway? Too soon to say but, ouch.

From the community. Telegram offered a researcher a €1,000 bounty, which is just insultingly small. The researcher said, “Not so much,” and disclosed a nasty auto-delete bug. If you’re going to run a bug bounty program, ensure that you’re paying researchers enough money to incentivize them to come forward and deal with your no-doubt obnoxious disclosure process.

You can expect a whole bunch of people who don’t care about security to suddenly be asking fun questions as Google prepares to enroll basically all of its users into two-factor-auth. Good move, but heads up, support folks.

I found a detailed analysis of AWS account assessment tools. These use things like CloudSploit, which I’ll talk about in a bit, IAM Vulnerable, et cetera. Fundamentally, they all look at slightly different things; they’re also all largely the same, but it might be worth taking a look.

AWS has made statements indicating that they don’t believe that enumerating which IAM accounts exist in a given AWS account is a security risk, so someone has put out a great technique you can use to enumerate those yourself. Why not, since Amazon doesn’t find this to be a problem.

A reference to the various kinds of AWS Access Keys is also something I found relatively handy because I hadn’t seen this ever explained before. It taught me a lot about the different kinds of key nonsense that I encounter in the wild from time to time. Take a look, it’s worth the read.

It didn’t get a lot of attention in the press due to, you know, things last week, but a company that routes billions of text messages said that it was hacked. It’s worth pointing out that SMS is a garbage second-factor, just because how lax security around it is. I’m a big believer in hardware keys like Yubikeys for important stuff, and an app like Authy or Google Authenticator for less important or shared accounts.

I know, you shouldn’t be sharing accounts; as soon as you come up with a better way for multiple people in different locations to do things that require root credentials in an AWS account, do let me know. Back to my point; treat SMS as a second factor only as better than nothing, not a serious security bulwark when it matters.

Three things came out from the mouth of AWS horse last week. “Enabling Data Classification for Amazon RDS database with Amazon Macie.” While the idea of streaming from a relational database through a bunch of wildly expensive AWS services is of course ludicrous, the actual value of knowing what the data classification in your database is can’t be understated.

The best practice pattern here is to make sure that you’re bounding the truly sensitive stuff to its own location. For instance, instead of storing credit card information in ‘the database’; have a token that references a completely separate database that contains that information that’s severely locked down; that way any random business query doesn’t return sensitive data, and you can restrict access to that data to only the queries or groups or situations that require it. Note that this is only an example and you should not in fact be storing credit card numbers yourself. Good God.

Announcer: Have you implemented industry best practices for securely accessing SSH servers, databases, or Kubernetes? It takes time and expertise to set up. Teleport makes it easy. It is an identity-aware access proxy that brings automatically expiring credentials for everything you need, including role-based access controls, access requests, and the audit log. It helps prevent data exfiltration and helps implement PCI and FedRAMP compliance. And best of all, Teleport is open-source and a pleasure to use. Download Teleport at goteleport.com. That’s goteleport.com.

Corey: “How to set up a two-way integration between AWS Security Hub and Jira Service Management.” Now, I’m not a big fan of either Jira or Security Hub, but integrating whatever it is that finds alerts into something that reports them to someone empowered to do something about them is kind of important. You’ve got to tune it, though. “Someone visited your website,” showing up 3000 times in an hour is going to be very noisy, and mask alerts of the form, “Your database is open to the world.”

They also talk about how to “Update the alternate security contact across your AWS accounts for timely security notifications.” You definitely want to ensure that every AWS account in your cloud estate has the right addresses here configured, and hope that someone who’s compromised your accounts doesn’t use this API to simply change them back again. It’ll stop you from doing that, right? Right? Hello?

And finally, MetaSploit is famous as an exploitation toolkit for systems. CloudSploit is attempting to be the same thing, only for cloud accounts. It’s not something you’ll likely use day-to-day, but it is a great way to spend an afternoon tinkering while also learning new things. And that’s what happened Last Week in AWS: Security. Thank you for listening and once again, I ask you, go ahead and visit lastweekinaws.com/charityshirt and get yours today.

Corey: I have been your host, Corey Quinn, and if you remember nothing else, it’s that when you don’t get what you want, you get experience instead. Let my experience guide you with the things you need to know in the AWS security world, so you can get back to doing your actual job. Thank you for listening to the AWS Morning Brief: Security Edition.
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