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InfoQ Homepage News DataDog Publishes AWS Security Report

DataDog Publishes AWS Security Report

DataDog has published their State of AWS Security report, an overview of practices based on data analysis from over 600 organizations. The report compares intersection and divergence between actual usage against industry best practices and the cause of breaches/data leaks.

The first set of analysis covers Identity and Access Management (IAM) including credential age/rotation, Multi-Factor Authentication, and key loss. Over its analysis the survey revealed challenges of managing IAM at scale across many users and systems. Key rotation and usage is a particular issue with 75% of IAM users' keys being older than 90 days and a portion of those exceeding a year without actual usage.

The report does not cite the level of permissions associated with keys, as the AWS IAM Access Analyzer provides a capability for identifying over-permissions IAM policies. Brigid Johnson, AWS director of identity, explains the connection that helps align IAM policies against CloudTrail logs to identify permissions that go unused for a particular account and can be removed:

"This is how policy generation works: You ask Access Analyzer for a policy based on your role. We go and review your CloudTrail logs and identify all the activity your role used. Then we convert it into a pretty IAM policy"

DataDog’s report reveals the scope of other causes for data loss. Particularly revealing is that 15% of organizations have a publicly exposes SQS topic that would enable remove users to retrieve and/or send publish notifications, either with no credentials or with easily identifiable shared credentials. Additionally, over a third of respondents had one or more publicly exposed S3 buckets. While there are valid uses for exposed S3 buckets such as web hosting, these exposed buckets are often the source of large data leaks. In January 2022, Sega exposed their S3 bucket revealing a leakage of many API keys, internal messages, and user-related data. In another S3 bucket incident from 2020, unauthorized users were able to modify Twilio’s JavaScript SDK for TaskRouter, allowing their modified code to be served to Twilio’s users.

The report revealed several positive trends where good AWS security was the default. Across the recorded users, 77% of organizations did not use root user credentials in a 30 day period (only 23% did). Beyond that scope, only 10% of organizations had an active root user key at all. AWS maintains documentation describing the root user best practices,

"We strongly recommend that you do not use the root user for your everyday tasks, even the administrative ones. Instead, adhere to the best practice of using the root user only to create your first IAM user. Then securely lock away the root user credentials and use them to perform only a few account and service management tasks."

Developers and Architects of cloud applications can consult the AWS Well Architected Tool, a suite of tools that helps compare systems and policies against good AWS practices to product more secure and reliable applications that would put their work on the good-end of DataDog's report.

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