One really popular phrase in cloud security is that cloud security is a shared responsibility. That would mean the responsibility to secure the cloud platform lies on both the providers and the customer. Unfortunately, most of the security breaches on the cloud are caused by customers’ negligence. AWS is the most popular cloud computing platform. As a result, it is also a popular target of hackers. One of the ways you can prevent cyberattacks is by conducting an AWS security audit.
An AWS security audit contains various steps you can take to protect your AWS assets and instances. It will help you review all the security configurations and keep you up to date with the permissions, users, roles, groups, etc. This post will help you understand the audit better.//change last line
Why Conduct AWS Security Audit
Being the victim of a cyber attack is an absolute nightmare. It creates so many problems and an extensive financial loss. You might lose a significant number of customers over this as well. There are a few factors that increase the risk of a cyberattack. Insecure APIs, weak credentials, outdated software and plugins, server misconfigurations, etc are some of them. Conducting an audit will help identify all these vulnerabilities before any damage is done.
A security audit also helps to comply with regulations like PCI-DSS, GDPR, etc. Such regulations make it mandatory to conduct the audit at least twice per annum. However, PCI-DSS makes it compulsory for Level 4 merchants to perform an audit quarterly.
How To Conduct An AWS Security Audit
Now, let’s look at the various steps that constitute the security audit-
1. Penetration Testing
AWS penetration testing is perhaps the most important step in an AWS security audit. A penetration test helps you identify all the vulnerabilities, exploit them, and estimate the damages it can cause. After the test is over, all the information will be put together into a report. This report can be used to debug the system. One thing to remember is that AWS has its own policies regarding penetration testing which you must adhere to.
2. Identity Access Management (IAM)
Before providing permissions, you have to identify all the assets and instances on AWS. You can find the assets under the management. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Remove root access keys if you’re not using them. This is actually recommended by security experts.
- Create IAM roles and groups instead.
- Monitor account activity
- Keep track of all the temporary credentials generated. Delete any unrecognized credentials immediately.
- Use Amazon S3 access logging. This will allow you to keep track of requests issued to different buckets.
3. Logical Access Control
This step involves reviewing the permissions given to various users. Permissions are easily assigned in AWS using users, groups, and roles.
- IAM Users: They can request AWS services using the long-term credentials and administrator permissions that are given to them.
- IAM Roles: Roles are similar to users. However, IAM roles are permissions that are assigned on a temporary basis so that a person can request AWS services.
- IAM Groups: A collection of IAM roles is referred to as an IAM group. You may give several users the same administrative permissions by creating a group.
Reviewing is important because you always want to give out the least required permissions. It also helps to check whether anyone who does not require permission doesn’t have them. This is especially useful when employees leave your company.
4. Amazon EC2 Security Configuration
Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud or Amazon EC2 is a virtual server. Virtual servers, also known as compute instances, are far handier than physical servers. It’s simple, low-cost, resizable, fast, and scalable.
- Remove any Amazon EC2 key pairs that are no longer needed or relevant.
- Remove any instances or auto-scaling groups that are no longer in use.
- Examine the security groups and the policies that govern them. Remove any unnecessary groups or rules after that.
- Cancel any requests for spot instances that are no longer relevant.
5. Mobile Applications That Request To AWS
Get temporary credentials on the application that requests to the AWS. APIs can be used to do this. Doing this will make authenticating users to the application much easier. If it doesn’t work, set up a proxy server that gives the app temporary credentials. Also, you have to make sure there are no embedded access keys in the application.
AWS Security Audit Checklist
In order to have a smooth and hassle-free security audit make sure to use a security audit checklist. This way you can make sure you’ve done all the steps and did not miss anything out. Here’s an example of what your checklist should look like:
Source: Astra Security
You can find the full AWS security audit checklist with all the details here.
AWS is a well-known cloud computing platform that many businesses use. However, to ensure the smooth running of your organization. it is critical to implement some security measures. One of the best practices that you can employ to do this is AWS security auditing. A security audit will help you identify vulnerabilities and patch them and therefore prevent cyberattacks.
Binary Blogger has spent 20 years in the Information Security space currently providing security solutions and evangelism to clients. From early web application programming, system administration, senior management to enterprise consulting I provide practical security analysis and solutions to help companies and individuals figure out HOW to be secure every day.