Cloud Security Should Be Boring

Episode Summary

This week in a security news: as re:Quinnvent approaches so do the flurry of security announcements, ransomware gang apologizes not from the goodness of their heart but at the threat of bone saws, let us shine a light on AWS Artifact, 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.

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Corey: As I prepare for re:Quinnvent, I notice that most of the flurry of announcements aren’t centered around security. This is probably for the best; if security becomes too exciting, you might be an Azure customer. Onward.

Let’s dive into what the whole Azure challenge is. The researcher who discovered the CosmosDB vulnerability that Azure suffered back in September have come out with a deeper dive into what they did and how they did it, and it is oh so very much worse than we thought. They were able to get access to the CosmosDB control plane itself.

Microsoft has continued to say nothing about this, in spite of lingering questions such as, “How on earth did you not detect what amounts to a hypervisor escape?” “Holy God, why did you architect these systems without strict tenant isolation in mind since the beginning?” “How are customers supposed to trust anything you’re selling from a security perspective?” And, “What kind of clown shop are you people running over there?”

Separately—and this is kind of amazing—a ransomware hacker gang publicly apologized and removed some of their stolen data because one of their victims was accidentally Mohammed bin Salman. You know, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia who resolves his differences with journalists via hit squads equipped with bone saws. These folks want to do crime, but the right level of crime; you know, the failure mode of, “Being extradited to serve time in a US federal prison,” not, “Being dismembered with a bone saw.”

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AWS didn’t include much in the way of interest for security this week, so I’m going to draw your attention to AWS Artifact. It’s not a service in the traditional sense, but rather a no-cost, self-service portal for on-demand access to AWS’ compliance reports, of which there are oh so very many. You used to have to get these one-by-one from your account team under NDA; don’t do that. And for God’s sake don’t write your own. Grab these reports, throw them at your auditor, and get back to doing things that actually appear in your job description instead.

Let’s talk about tools. Policy Sentry came out of Salesforce and is deceptively simple in concept: it makes it way easier to write simple, narrowly scoped IAM policies. This is what the official IAM Access Analyzer wishes it were, but it’s simply not there yet.

And it’s also been a while since I dug into Prowler. Prowler is a command-line tool that helps you with AWS security assessment, auditing, hardening and incident response. Like most things that focus on CIS benchmarks, you’ll need to apply judgement. An awful lot of things in a responsible, secure environment make sense, but set off alarms from those benchmarks that are considerably more naive. And that’s what happened last week in security in the world of AWS. We have an interesting couple of weeks coming ahead. I’ll be talking to you more next week.

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