The Perils of Bad Corporate Comms

Episode Summary

Last week in security news: the Okta breach keeps on reverberating, Daan Debie demystifies AWS IAM, AWS ransomware mitigation, 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: Today’s episode is brought to you in part by our friends at MinIO the high-performance Kubernetes native object store that’s built for the multi-cloud, creating a consistent data storage layer for your public cloud instances, your private cloud instances, and even your edge instances, depending upon what the heck you’re defining those as, which depends probably on where you work. It’s getting that unified is one of the greatest challenges facing developers and architects today. It requires S3 compatibility, enterprise-grade security and resiliency, the speed to run any workload, and the footprint to run anywhere, and that’s exactly what MinIO offers. With superb read speeds in excess of 360 gigs and 100-megabyte binary that doesn’t eat all the data you’ve gotten on the system, it’s exactly what you’ve been looking for. Check it out today at, and see for yourself. That’s, and be sure to tell them that I sent you.

Corey: The Okta breach continues to reverberate. As of this recording, the real damage remains the lack of clear, concise, and upfront communication about this. It’s become very clear that had the Lapsus$ folks not gone public about the breach, Okta certainly never would have either.

Now, from the community. Let’s see what they had to say. Cloudflare has posted the results of their investigation of the January 2022 Okta compromise to their blog post and I have a few things I want to say about it.

First, I love that they do this. I would be a bit annoyed at them taking digs at other companies except for the part where they’re at least as rigorous in investigations that they post about their own security and uptime challenges. Secondly, they’ve been levelheaded and remarkably clear in their communication around the issue which only really affects them as an Okta customer. Okta themselves have issued a baffling series of contradicting claims. Regardless of the truth of what happened from a security point of view, the lack of ability to quickly and clearly articulate the situation means that Okta is now under a microscope for folks who care about security—which basically rounds to every last one of their customers.

Now, I generally don’t talk too much about tweets because this is Twitter revisited as a general rule, but Scott Piper had an issue about trying to keep his thing open, and he got an account being closed down notice from AWS. And a phrase he used that I loved was, “You know it’s a legit AWS email because the instructions are very bad.”

I really can’t stress enough that while clear communication is always a virtue, circumstances involving InfoSec, fraud, account closures, and similar should all be ones in which particular care is taken to exactly what you say and how you say it.

An NPM package maintainer sabotaged their own package to protest the war in Ukraine, which is a less legitimate form of protest than many others. There’s never been a better time to make sure you’re pinning dependencies in your various projects.

It’s always worth reading an article titled “AWS IAM Demystified” because it’s mystifying unless you’re one of a very small number of people. I learned new things myself by doing that and you probably will too.

And oof. A while back Cognito User Groups apparently didn’t have delimiter detection
working quite right. As a result, you could potentially get access to groups you weren’t supposed to be part of. While AWS did update some of their documentation and fix the problem, it’s a security issue without provable customer impact, so of course, we’re learning about it from a third-party: Opsmorph in this case. Good find.

Corey: This episode is sponsored in part by LaunchDarkly. Take a look at what it takes to get your code into production. I’m going to just guess that it’s awful because it’s always awful. No one loves their deployment process. What if launching new features didn’t require you to do a full-on code and possibly infrastructure deploy? What if you could test on a small subset of users and then roll it back immediately if results aren’t what you expect? LaunchDarkly does exactly this. To learn more, visit and tell them Corey sent you, and watch for the wince.

Corey: Now, from the mouth of the AWS horse itself, “Generate logon messages for security and compliance in Amazon WorkSpaces.” for compliance, sure. For security, can you name a single security benefit to having a logon message greet users? “It reminds them that—” Yeah, yeah, nobody reads the popup ever again after the first time, and not always the first time either. Security is important—and fatiguing your users into not reading pop-up messages that don’t respect their time is a great way to teach them to ignore you. Don’t do it.

“Ransomware mitigation: Using Amazon WorkDocs to protect end-user data”. Security through obscurity has been thoroughly debunked by security professionals everywhere, but I still can’t help but think that WorkDocs is so narrowly deployed in the industry that it’s never really caught the attention of bad actors.

And “CVE-2022-0778 awareness”. Cross-account access between their customers, AWS is largely silent about, but an OpenSSL issue, “In which a certificate containing invalid explicit curve parameters can cause a Denial of Service (DoS) by triggering an infinite logic loop” is clearly Not Their Fault, so of course, this is the thing that gets a rather rare security bulletin from them. Of course, as of the time of recording this, it hadn’t been updated past an initial ‘we’re aware of the issue.’

And in the world of tools, ElectricEye is a set of Python scripts—affectionately called Auditors—that continuously monitor your AWS infrastructure looking for configurations related to confidentiality, integrity, and availability that align, or don’t align—the other way—with AWS best practices. The fact that it’s open-source and free is eyebrow-raising because usually things that do this cost thousands and thousands of dollars. ElectricEye instead leaves that part to AWS Security Hub itself. And that’s what happened last week in the wide world of AWS. I’m Corey Quinn, thanks for listening.

Corey: Thank you for listening to the AWS Morning Brief: Security Edition with the latest in AWS security that actually matters. Please follow AWS Morning Brief on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Overcast—or wherever the hell it is you find the dulcet tones of my voice—and be sure to sign up for the Last Week in AWS newsletter at

Announcer: This has been a HumblePod production. Stay humble.
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