Tag Archives: MFA

The 10 Most Viewed Security-Related AWS Knowledge Center Articles and Videos for November 2017

Post Syndicated from Maggie Burke original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/security/the-10-most-viewed-security-related-aws-knowledge-center-articles-and-videos-for-november-2017/

AWS Knowledge Center image

The AWS Knowledge Center helps answer the questions most frequently asked by AWS Support customers. The following 10 Knowledge Center security articles and videos have been the most viewed this month. It’s likely you’ve wondered about a few of these topics yourself, so here’s a chance to learn the answers!

  1. How do I create an AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) policy to restrict access for an IAM user, group, or role to a particular Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC)?
    Learn how to apply a custom IAM policy to restrict IAM user, group, or role permissions for creating and managing Amazon EC2 instances in a specified VPC.
  2. How do I use an MFA token to authenticate access to my AWS resources through the AWS CLI?
    One IAM best practice is to protect your account and its resources by using a multi-factor authentication (MFA) device. If you plan use the AWS Command Line Interface (CLI) while using an MFA device, you must create a temporary session token.
  3. Can I restrict an IAM user’s EC2 access to specific resources?
    This article demonstrates how to link multiple AWS accounts through AWS Organizations and isolate IAM user groups in their own accounts.
  4. I didn’t receive a validation email for the SSL certificate I requested through AWS Certificate Manager (ACM)—where is it?
    Can’t find your ACM validation emails? Be sure to check the email address to which you requested that ACM send validation emails.
  5. How do I create an IAM policy that has a source IP restriction but still allows users to switch roles in the AWS Management Console?
    Learn how to write an IAM policy that not only includes a source IP restriction but also lets your users switch roles in the console.
  6. How do I allow users from another account to access resources in my account through IAM?
    If you have the 12-digit account number and permissions to create and edit IAM roles and users for both accounts, you can permit specific IAM users to access resources in your account.
  7. What are the differences between a service control policy (SCP) and an IAM policy?
    Learn how to distinguish an SCP from an IAM policy.
  8. How do I share my customer master keys (CMKs) across multiple AWS accounts?
    To grant another account access to your CMKs, create an IAM policy on the secondary account that grants access to use your CMKs.
  9. How do I set up AWS Trusted Advisor notifications?
    Learn how to receive free weekly email notifications from Trusted Advisor.
  10. How do I use AWS Key Management Service (AWS KMS) encryption context to protect the integrity of encrypted data?
    Encryption context name-value pairs used with AWS KMS encryption and decryption operations provide a method for checking ciphertext authenticity. Learn how to use encryption context to help protect your encrypted data.

The AWS Security Blog will publish an updated version of this list regularly going forward. You also can subscribe to the AWS Knowledge Center Videos playlist on YouTube.

– Maggie

Visualize AWS Cloudtrail Logs using AWS Glue and Amazon Quicksight

Post Syndicated from Luis Caro Perez original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/big-data/streamline-aws-cloudtrail-log-visualization-using-aws-glue-and-amazon-quicksight/

Being able to easily visualize AWS CloudTrail logs gives you a better understanding of how your AWS infrastructure is being used. It can also help you audit and review AWS API calls and detect security anomalies inside your AWS account. To do this, you must be able to perform analytics based on your CloudTrail logs.

In this post, I walk through using AWS Glue and AWS Lambda to convert AWS CloudTrail logs from JSON to a query-optimized format dataset in Amazon S3. I then use Amazon Athena and Amazon QuickSight to query and visualize the data.

Solution overview

To process CloudTrail logs, you must implement the following architecture:

CloudTrail delivers log files in an Amazon S3 bucket folder. To correctly crawl these logs, you modify the file contents and folder structure using an Amazon S3-triggered Lambda function that stores the transformed files in an S3 bucket single folder. When the files are in a single folder, AWS Glue scans the data, converts it into Apache Parquet format, and catalogs it to allow for querying and visualization using Amazon Athena and Amazon QuickSight.


Let’s look at the steps that are required to build the solution.

Set up CloudTrail logs

First, you need to set up a trail that delivers log files to an S3 bucket. To create a trail in CloudTrail, follow the instructions in Creating a Trail.

When you finish, the trail settings page should look like the following screenshot:

In this example, I set up log files to be delivered to the cloudtraillfcaro bucket.

Consolidate CloudTrail reports into a single folder using Lambda

AWS CloudTrail delivers log files using the following folder structure inside the configured Amazon S3 bucket:


Additionally, log files have the following structure:

    "Records": [{
        "eventVersion": "1.01",
        "userIdentity": {
            "type": "IAMUser",
            "principalId": "AIDAJDPLRKLG7UEXAMPLE",
            "arn": "arn:aws:iam::123456789012:user/Alice",
            "accountId": "123456789012",
            "accessKeyId": "AKIAIOSFODNN7EXAMPLE",
            "userName": "Alice",
            "sessionContext": {
                "attributes": {
                    "mfaAuthenticated": "false",
                    "creationDate": "2014-03-18T14:29:23Z"
        "eventTime": "2014-03-18T14:30:07Z",
        "eventSource": "cloudtrail.amazonaws.com",
        "eventName": "StartLogging",
        "awsRegion": "us-west-2",
        "sourceIPAddress": "",
        "userAgent": "signin.amazonaws.com",
        "requestParameters": {
            "name": "Default"
        "responseElements": null,
        "requestID": "cdc73f9d-aea9-11e3-9d5a-835b769c0d9c",
        "eventID": "3074414d-c626-42aa-984b-68ff152d6ab7"
    ... additional entries ...

If AWS Glue crawlers are used to catalog these files as they are written, the following obstacles arise:

  1. AWS Glue identifies different tables per different folders because they don’t follow a traditional partition format.
  2. Based on the structure of the file content, AWS Glue identifies the tables as having a single column of type array.
  3. CloudTrail logs have JSON attributes that use uppercase letters. According to the Best Practices When Using Athena with AWS Glue, it is recommended that you convert these to lowercase.

To have AWS Glue catalog all log files in a single table with all the columns describing each event, implement the following Lambda function:

from __future__ import print_function
import json
import urllib
import boto3
import gzip

s3 = boto3.resource('s3')
client = boto3.client('s3')

def convertColumntoLowwerCaps(obj):
    for key in obj.keys():
        new_key = key.lower()
        if new_key != key:
            obj[new_key] = obj[key]
            del obj[key]
    return obj

def lambda_handler(event, context):

    bucket = event['Records'][0]['s3']['bucket']['name']
    key = urllib.unquote_plus(event['Records'][0]['s3']['object']['key'].encode('utf8'))
        newKey = 'flatfiles/' + key.replace("/", "")
        client.download_file(bucket, key, '/tmp/file.json.gz')
        with gzip.open('/tmp/out.json.gz', 'w') as output, gzip.open('/tmp/file.json.gz', 'rb') as file:
            i = 0
            for line in file: 
                for record in json.loads(line,object_hook=convertColumntoLowwerCaps)['records']:
            		if i != 0:
            		i += 1
        client.upload_file('/tmp/out.json.gz', bucket,newKey)
        return "success"
    except Exception as e:
        print('Error processing object {} from bucket {}. Make sure they exist and your bucket is in the same region as this function.'.format(key, bucket))
        raise e

The function goes over each element of the records array, changes uppercase letters to lowercase in column names, and inserts each element of the array as a single line of a new file. The new file is saved inside a flatfiles folder created by the function without any subfolders in the S3 bucket.

The function should have a role containing a policy with at least the following permissions:

    "Version": "2012-10-17",
    "Statement": [
            "Action": [
            "Resource": [
            "Effect": "Allow"

In this example, CloudTrail delivers logs to the cloudtraillfcaro bucket. Make sure that you replace this name with your bucket name in the policy. For more information about how to work with inline policies, see Working with Inline Policies.

After the Lambda function is created, you can set up the following trigger using the Triggers tab on the AWS Lambda console.

Choose Add trigger, and choose S3 as a source of the trigger.

After choosing the source, configure the following settings:

In the trigger, any file that is written to the path for the log files—which in this case is AWSLogs/119582755581/CloudTrail/—is processed. Make sure that the Enable trigger check box is selected and that the bucket and prefix parameters match your use case.

After you set up the function and receive log files, the bucket (in this case cloudtraillfcaro) should contain the processed files inside the flatfiles folder.

Catalog source data

Once the files are processed by the Lambda function, set up a crawler named cloudtrail to catalog them.

The crawler must point to the flatfiles folder.

All the crawlers and AWS Glue jobs created for this solution must have a role with the AWSGlueServiceRole managed policy and an inline policy with permissions to modify the S3 buckets used on the Lambda function. For more information, see Working with Managed Policies.

The role should look like the following:

In this example, the inline policy named s3perms contains the permissions to modify the S3 buckets.

After you choose the role, you can schedule the crawler to run on demand.

A new database is created, and the crawler is set to use it. In this case, the cloudtrail database is used for all the tables.

After the crawler runs, a single table should be created in the catalog with the following structure:

The table should contain the following columns:

Create and run the AWS Glue job

To convert all the CloudTrail logs to a columnar store in Parquet, set up an AWS Glue job by following these steps.

Upload the following script into a bucket in Amazon S3:

import sys
from awsglue.transforms import *
from awsglue.utils import getResolvedOptions
from pyspark.context import SparkContext
from awsglue.context import GlueContext
from awsglue.job import Job
import boto3
import time

## @params: [JOB_NAME]
args = getResolvedOptions(sys.argv, ['JOB_NAME'])

sc = SparkContext()
glueContext = GlueContext(sc)
spark = glueContext.spark_session
job = Job(glueContext)
job.init(args['JOB_NAME'], args)

datasource0 = glueContext.create_dynamic_frame.from_catalog(database = "cloudtrail", table_name = "flatfiles", transformation_ctx = "datasource0")
resolvechoice1 = ResolveChoice.apply(frame = datasource0, choice = "make_struct", transformation_ctx = "resolvechoice1")
relationalized1 = resolvechoice1.relationalize("trail", args["TempDir"]).select("trail")
datasink = glueContext.write_dynamic_frame.from_options(frame = relationalized1, connection_type = "s3", connection_options = {"path": "s3://cloudtraillfcaro/parquettrails"}, format = "parquet", transformation_ctx = "datasink4")

In the example, you load the script as a file named cloudtrailtoparquet.py. Make sure that you modify the script and update the “{"path": "s3://cloudtraillfcaro/parquettrails"}” with the destination in which you want to store your results.

After uploading the script, add a new AWS Glue job. Choose a name and role for the job, and choose the option of running the job from An existing script that you provide.

To avoid processing the same data twice, enable the Job bookmark setting in the Advanced properties section of the job properties.

Choose Next twice, and then choose Finish.

If logs are already in the flatfiles folder, you can run the job on demand to generate the first set of results.

Once the job starts running, wait for it to complete.

When the job is finished, its Run status should be Succeeded. After that, you can verify that the Parquet files are written to the Amazon S3 location.

Catalog results

To be able to process results from Athena, you can use an AWS Glue crawler to catalog the results of the AWS Glue job.

In this example, the crawler is set to use the same database as the source named cloudtrail.

You can run the crawler using the console. When the crawler finishes running and has processed the Parquet results, a new table should be created in the AWS Glue Data Catalog. In this example, it’s named parquettrails.

The table should have the classification set to parquet.

It should have the same columns as the flatfiles table, with the exception of the struct type columns, which should be relationalized into several columns:

In this example, notice how the requestparameters column, which was a struct in the original table (flatfiles), was transformed to several columns—one for each key value inside it. This is done using a transformation native to AWS Glue called relationalize.

Query results with Athena

After crawling the results, you can query them using Athena. For example, to query what events took place in the time frame between 2017-10-23t12:00:00 and 2017-10-23t13:00, use the following select statement:

select *
from cloudtrail.parquettrails
where eventtime > '2017-10-23T12:00:00Z' AND eventtime < '2017-10-23T13:00:00Z'
order by eventtime asc;

Be sure to replace cloudtrail.parquettrails with the names of your database and table that references the Parquet results. Replace the datetimes with an hour when your account had activity and was processed by the AWS Glue job.

Visualize results using Amazon QuickSight

Once you can query the data using Athena, you can visualize it using Amazon QuickSight. Before connecting Amazon QuickSight to Athena, be sure to grant QuickSight access to Athena and the associated S3 buckets in your account. For more information, see Managing Amazon QuickSight Permissions to AWS Resources. You can then create a new data set in Amazon QuickSight based on the Athena table that you created.

After setting up permissions, you can create a new analysis in Amazon QuickSight by choosing New analysis.

Then add a new data set.

Choose Athena as the source.

Give the data source a name (in this case, I named it cloudtrail).

Choose the name of the database and the table referencing the Parquet results.

Then choose Visualize.

After that, you should see the following screen:

Now you can create some visualizations. First, search for the sourceipaddress column, and drag it to the AutoGraph section.

You can see a list of the IP addresses that you have used to interact with AWS. To review whether these IP addresses have been used from IAM users, internal AWS services, or roles, use the type value that is inside the useridentity field of the original log files. Thanks to the relationalize transformation, this value is available as the useridentity.type column. After the column is added into the Group/Color box, the visualization should look like the following:

You can now see and distinguish the most used IPs and whether they are used from roles, AWS services, or IAM users.

After following all these steps, you can use Amazon QuickSight to add different columns from CloudTrail and perform different types of visualizations. You can build operational dashboards that continuously monitor AWS infrastructure usage and access. You can share those dashboards with others in your organization who might need to see this data.


In this post, you saw how you can use a simple Lambda function and an AWS Glue script to convert text files into Parquet to improve Athena query performance and data compression. The post also demonstrated how to use AWS Lambda to preprocess files in Amazon S3 and transform them into a format that is recognizable by AWS Glue crawlers.

This example, used AWS CloudTrail logs, but you can apply the proposed solution to any set of files that after preprocessing, can be cataloged by AWS Glue.

Additional Reading

Learn how to Harmonize, Query, and Visualize Data from Various Providers using AWS Glue, Amazon Athena, and Amazon QuickSight.

About the Authors

Luis Caro is a Big Data Consultant for AWS Professional Services. He works with our customers to provide guidance and technical assistance on big data projects, helping them improving the value of their solutions when using AWS.




Introducing AWS Directory Service for Microsoft Active Directory (Standard Edition)

Post Syndicated from Peter Pereira original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/security/introducing-aws-directory-service-for-microsoft-active-directory-standard-edition/

Today, AWS introduced AWS Directory Service for Microsoft Active Directory (Standard Edition), also known as AWS Microsoft AD (Standard Edition), which is managed Microsoft Active Directory (AD) that is performance optimized for small and midsize businesses. AWS Microsoft AD (Standard Edition) offers you a highly available and cost-effective primary directory in the AWS Cloud that you can use to manage users, groups, and computers. It enables you to join Amazon EC2 instances to your domain easily and supports many AWS and third-party applications and services. It also can support most of the common use cases of small and midsize businesses. When you use AWS Microsoft AD (Standard Edition) as your primary directory, you can manage access and provide single sign-on (SSO) to cloud applications such as Microsoft Office 365. If you have an existing Microsoft AD directory, you can also use AWS Microsoft AD (Standard Edition) as a resource forest that contains primarily computers and groups, allowing you to migrate your AD-aware applications to the AWS Cloud while using existing on-premises AD credentials.

In this blog post, I help you get started by answering three main questions about AWS Microsoft AD (Standard Edition):

  1. What do I get?
  2. How can I use it?
  3. What are the key features?

After answering these questions, I show how you can get started with creating and using your own AWS Microsoft AD (Standard Edition) directory.

1. What do I get?

When you create an AWS Microsoft AD (Standard Edition) directory, AWS deploys two Microsoft AD domain controllers powered by Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 in your Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC). To help deliver high availability, the domain controllers run in different Availability Zones in the AWS Region of your choice.

As a managed service, AWS Microsoft AD (Standard Edition) configures directory replication, automates daily snapshots, and handles all patching and software updates. In addition, AWS Microsoft AD (Standard Edition) monitors and automatically recovers domain controllers in the event of a failure.

AWS Microsoft AD (Standard Edition) has been optimized as a primary directory for small and midsize businesses with the capacity to support approximately 5,000 employees. With 1 GB of directory object storage, AWS Microsoft AD (Standard Edition) has the capacity to store 30,000 or more total directory objects (users, groups, and computers). AWS Microsoft AD (Standard Edition) also gives you the option to add domain controllers to meet the specific performance demands of your applications. You also can use AWS Microsoft AD (Standard Edition) as a resource forest with a trust relationship to your on-premises directory.

2. How can I use it?

With AWS Microsoft AD (Standard Edition), you can share a single directory for multiple use cases. For example, you can share a directory to authenticate and authorize access for .NET applications, Amazon RDS for SQL Server with Windows Authentication enabled, and Amazon Chime for messaging and video conferencing.

The following diagram shows some of the use cases for your AWS Microsoft AD (Standard Edition) directory, including the ability to grant your users access to external cloud applications and allow your on-premises AD users to manage and have access to resources in the AWS Cloud. Click the diagram to see a larger version.

Diagram showing some ways you can use AWS Microsoft AD (Standard Edition)--click the diagram to see a larger version

Use case 1: Sign in to AWS applications and services with AD credentials

You can enable multiple AWS applications and services such as the AWS Management Console, Amazon WorkSpaces, and Amazon RDS for SQL Server to use your AWS Microsoft AD (Standard Edition) directory. When you enable an AWS application or service in your directory, your users can access the application or service with their AD credentials.

For example, you can enable your users to sign in to the AWS Management Console with their AD credentials. To do this, you enable the AWS Management Console as an application in your directory, and then assign your AD users and groups to IAM roles. When your users sign in to the AWS Management Console, they assume an IAM role to manage AWS resources. This makes it easy for you to grant your users access to the AWS Management Console without needing to configure and manage a separate SAML infrastructure.

Use case 2: Manage Amazon EC2 instances

Using familiar AD administration tools, you can apply AD Group Policy objects (GPOs) to centrally manage your Amazon EC2 for Windows or Linux instances by joining your instances to your AWS Microsoft AD (Standard Edition) domain.

In addition, your users can sign in to your instances with their AD credentials. This eliminates the need to use individual instance credentials or distribute private key (PEM) files. This makes it easier for you to instantly grant or revoke access to users by using AD user administration tools you already use.

Use case 3: Provide directory services to your AD-aware workloads

AWS Microsoft AD (Standard Edition) is an actual Microsoft AD that enables you to run traditional AD-aware workloads such as Remote Desktop Licensing Manager, Microsoft SharePoint, and Microsoft SQL Server Always On in the AWS Cloud. AWS Microsoft AD (Standard Edition) also helps you to simplify and improve the security of AD-integrated .NET applications by using group Managed Service Accounts (gMSAs) and Kerberos constrained delegation (KCD).

Use case 4: SSO to Office 365 and other cloud applications

You can use AWS Microsoft AD (Standard Edition) to provide SSO for cloud applications. You can use Azure AD Connect to synchronize your users into Azure AD, and then use Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS) so that your users can access Microsoft Office 365 and other SAML 2.0 cloud applications by using their AD credentials.

Use case 5: Extend your on-premises AD to the AWS Cloud

If you already have an AD infrastructure and want to use it when migrating AD-aware workloads to the AWS Cloud, AWS Microsoft AD (Standard Edition) can help. You can use AD trusts to connect AWS Microsoft AD (Standard Edition) to your existing AD. This means your users can access AD-aware and AWS applications with their on-premises AD credentials, without needing you to synchronize users, groups, or passwords.

For example, your users can sign in to the AWS Management Console and Amazon WorkSpaces by using their existing AD user names and passwords. Also, when you use AD-aware applications such as SharePoint with AWS Microsoft AD (Standard Edition), your logged-in Windows users can access these applications without needing to enter credentials again.

3. What are the key features?

AWS Microsoft AD (Standard Edition) includes the features detailed in this section.

Extend your AD schema

With AWS Microsoft AD, you can run customized AD-integrated applications that require changes to your directory schema, which defines the structures of your directory. The schema is composed of object classes such as user objects, which contain attributes such as user names. AWS Microsoft AD lets you extend the schema by adding new AD attributes or object classes that are not present in the core AD attributes and classes.

For example, if you have a human resources application that uses employee badge color to assign specific benefits, you can extend the schema to include a badge color attribute in the user object class of your directory. To learn more, see How to Move More Custom Applications to the AWS Cloud with AWS Directory Service.

Create user-specific password policies

With user-specific password policies, you can apply specific restrictions and account lockout policies to different types of users in your AWS Microsoft AD (Standard Edition) domain. For example, you can enforce strong passwords and frequent password change policies for administrators, and use less-restrictive policies with moderate account lockout policies for general users.

Add domain controllers

You can increase the performance and redundancy of your directory by adding domain controllers. This can help improve application performance by enabling directory clients to load-balance their requests across a larger number of domain controllers.

Encrypt directory traffic

You can use AWS Microsoft AD (Standard Edition) to encrypt Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) communication between your applications and your directory. By enabling LDAP over Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)/Transport Layer Security (TLS), also called LDAPS, you encrypt your LDAP communications end to end. This helps you to protect sensitive information you keep in your directory when it is accessed over untrusted networks.

Improve the security of signing in to AWS services by using multi-factor authentication (MFA)

You can improve the security of signing in to AWS services, such as Amazon WorkSpaces and Amazon QuickSight, by enabling MFA in your AWS Microsoft AD (Standard Edition) directory. With MFA, your users must enter a one-time passcode (OTP) in addition to their AD user names and passwords to access AWS applications and services you enable in AWS Microsoft AD (Standard Edition).

Get started

To get started, use the Directory Service console to create your first directory with just a few clicks. If you have not used Directory Service before, you may be eligible for a 30-day limited free trial.


In this blog post, I explained what AWS Microsoft AD (Standard Edition) is and how you can use it. With a single directory, you can address many use cases for your business, making it easier to migrate and run your AD-aware workloads in the AWS Cloud, provide access to AWS applications and services, and connect to other cloud applications. To learn more about AWS Microsoft AD, see the Directory Service home page.

If you have comments about this post, submit them in the “Comments” section below. If you have questions about this blog post, start a new thread on the Directory Service forum.

– Peter

Greater Transparency into Actions AWS Services Perform on Your Behalf by Using AWS CloudTrail

Post Syndicated from Ujjwal Pugalia original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/security/get-greater-transparency-into-actions-aws-services-perform-on-your-behalf-by-using-aws-cloudtrail/

To make managing your AWS account easier, some AWS services perform actions on your behalf, including the creation and management of AWS resources. For example, AWS Elastic Beanstalk automatically handles the deployment details of capacity provisioning, load balancing, auto-scaling, and application health monitoring. To make these AWS actions more transparent, AWS adds an AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) service-linked roles to your account for each linked service you use. Service-linked roles let you view all actions an AWS service performs on your behalf by using AWS CloudTrail logs. This helps you monitor and audit the actions AWS services perform on your behalf. No additional actions are required from you and you can continue using AWS services the way you do today.

To learn more about which AWS services use service-linked roles and log actions on your behalf to CloudTrail, see AWS Services That Work with IAM. Over time, more AWS services will support service-linked roles. For more information about service-linked roles, see Role Terms and Concepts.

In this blog post, I demonstrate how to view CloudTrail logs so that you can more easily monitor and audit AWS services performing actions on your behalf. First, I show how AWS creates a service-linked role in your account automatically when you configure an AWS service that supports service-linked roles. Next, I show how you can view the policies of a service-linked role that grants an AWS service permission to perform actions on your behalf. Finally, I  use the configured AWS service to perform an action and show you how the action appears in your CloudTrail logs.

How AWS creates a service-linked role in your account automatically

I will use Amazon Lex as the AWS service that performs actions on your behalf for this post. You can use Amazon Lex to create chatbots that allow for highly engaging conversational experiences through voice and text. You also can use chatbots on mobile devices, web browsers, and popular chat platform channels such as Slack. Amazon Lex uses Amazon Polly on your behalf to synthesize speech that sounds like a human voice.

Amazon Lex uses two IAM service-linked roles:

  • AWSServiceRoleForLexBots — Amazon Lex uses this service-linked role to invoke Amazon Polly to synthesize speech responses for your chatbot.
  • AWSServiceRoleForLexChannels — Amazon Lex uses this service-linked role to post text to your chatbot when managing channels such as Slack.

You don’t need to create either of these roles manually. When you create your first chatbot using the Amazon Lex console, Amazon Lex creates the AWSServiceRoleForLexBots role for you. When you first associate a chatbot with a messaging channel, Amazon Lex creates the AWSServiceRoleForLexChannels role in your account.

1. Start configuring the AWS service that supports service-linked roles

Navigate to the Amazon Lex console, and choose Get Started to navigate to the Create your Lex bot page. For this example, I choose a sample chatbot called OrderFlowers. To learn how to create a custom chatbot, see Create a Custom Amazon Lex Bot.

Screenshot of making the choice to create an OrderFlowers chatbot

2. Complete the configuration for the AWS service

When you scroll down, you will see the settings for the OrderFlowers chatbot. Notice the field for the IAM role with the value, AWSServiceRoleForLexBots. This service-linked role is “Automatically created on your behalf.” After you have entered all details, choose Create to build your sample chatbot.

Screenshot of the automatically created service-linked role

AWS has created the AWSServiceRoleForLexBots service-linked role in your account. I will return to using the chatbot later in this post when I discuss how Amazon Lex performs actions on your behalf and how CloudTrail logs these actions. First, I will show how you can view the permissions for the AWSServiceRoleForLexBots service-linked role by using the IAM console.

How to view actions in the IAM console that AWS services perform on your behalf

When you configure an AWS service that supports service-linked roles, AWS creates a service-linked role in your account automatically. You can view the service-linked role by using the IAM console.

1. View the AWSServiceRoleForLexBots service-linked role on the IAM console

Go to the IAM console, and choose AWSServiceRoleForLexBots on the Roles page. You can confirm that this role is a service-linked role by viewing the Trusted entities column.

Screenshot of the service-linked role

2.View the trusted entities that can assume the AWSServiceRoleForLexBots service-linked role

Choose the Trust relationships tab on the AWSServiceRoleForLexBots role page. You can view the trusted entities that can assume the AWSServiceRoleForLexBots service-linked role to perform actions on your behalf. In this example, the trusted entity is lex.amazonaws.com.

Screenshot of the trusted entities that can assume the service-linked role

3. View the policy attached to the AWSServiceRoleForLexBots service-linked role

Choose AmazonLexBotPolicy on the Permissions tab to view the policy attached to the AWSServiceRoleForLexBots service-linked role. You can view the policy summary to see that AmazonLexBotPolicy grants permission to Amazon Lex to use Amazon Polly.

Screenshot showing that AmazonLexBotPolicy grants permission to Amazon Lex to use Amazon Polly

4. View the actions that the service-linked role grants permissions to use

Choose Polly to view the action, SynthesizeSpeech, that the AmazonLexBotPolicy grants permission to Amazon Lex to perform on your behalf. Amazon Lex uses this permission to synthesize speech responses for your chatbot. I show later in this post how you can monitor this SynthesizeSpeech action in your CloudTrail logs.

Screenshot showing the the action, SynthesizeSpeech, that the AmazonLexBotPolicy grants permission to Amazon Lex to perform on your behalf

Now that I know the trusted entity and the policy attached to the service-linked role, let’s go back to the chatbot I created earlier and see how CloudTrail logs the actions that Amazon Lex performs on my behalf.

How to use CloudTrail to view actions that AWS services perform on your behalf

As discussed already, I created an OrderFlowers chatbot on the Amazon Lex console. I will use the chatbot and display how the AWSServiceRoleForLexBots service-linked role helps me track actions in CloudTrail. First, though, I must have an active CloudTrail trail created that stores the logs in an Amazon S3 bucket. I will use a trail called TestTrail and an S3 bucket called account-ids-slr.

1. Use the Amazon Lex chatbot via the Amazon Lex console

In Step 2 in the first section of this post, when I chose Create, Amazon Lex built the OrderFlowers chatbot. After the chatbot was built, the right pane showed that a Test Bot was created. Now, I choose the microphone symbol in the right pane and provide voice input to test the OrderFlowers chatbot. In this example, I tell the chatbot, “I would like to order some flowers.” The bot replies to me by asking, “What type of flowers would you like to order?”

Screenshot of voice input to test the OrderFlowers chatbot

When the chatbot replies using voice, Amazon Lex uses Amazon Polly to synthesize speech from text to voice. Amazon Lex assumes the AWSServiceRoleForLexBots service-linked role to perform the SynthesizeSpeech action.

2. Check CloudTrail to view actions performed on your behalf

Now that I have created the chatbot, let’s see which actions were logged in CloudTrail. Choose CloudTrail from the Services drop-down menu to reach the CloudTrail console. Choose Trails and choose the S3 bucket in which you are storing your CloudTrail logs.

Screenshot of the TestTrail trail

In the S3 bucket, you will find log entries for the SynthesizeSpeech event. This means that CloudTrail logged the action when Amazon Lex assumed the AWSServiceRoleForLexBots service-linked role to invoke Amazon Polly to synthesize speech responses for your chatbot. You can monitor and audit this invocation, and it provides you with transparency into Amazon Polly’s SynthesizeSpeech action that Amazon Lex invoked on your behalf. The applicable CloudTrail log section follows and I have emphasized the key lines.

                  "arn":"arn:aws:iam:: {account-id}:role/aws-service-role/lex.amazonaws.com/AWSServiceRoleForLexBots",


Service-linked roles make it easier for you to track and view actions that linked AWS services perform on your behalf by using CloudTrail. When an AWS service supports service-linked roles to enable this additional logging, you will see a service-linked role added to your account.

If you have comments about this post, submit a comment in the “Comments” section below. If you have questions about working with service-linked roles, start a new thread on the IAM forum or contact AWS Support.

– Ujjwal

Драмата по вадене на паспорт в чужбина

Post Syndicated from Боян Юруков original https://yurukov.net/blog/2017/dramata-pasport-v-chujbina/

През май се усетих, че ми изтича паспорта. До сега винаги съм го обновявал в България, но този път пропуснах. Изчетох изискванията на сайта на Външно, направих си час през online системата и зачаках. Беше за след два месеца, но имах време.

На 10-ти юни в 8:50 бях пред консулството във Франкфурт. Часът ми беше за 9:00, когато отваря и консулството. Вече имаше опашка от към 40-тина души. Поне 5-6 бяха бебета, за които родителите се опитваха да извадят документи. Тъй като сградата е малка и никога не е била строена за консулство, опашката беше отвън и преливаше на тротоара. Естествено, минаващите на път за работа негодуваха.

Пробих си път през тълпата, тъй като бях един от малкото с час и се качих горе. Имаше две гишета. Тогава осъзнах, че съм забравил заявлението попълнено на сайта и го попълних наново за няколко минути. Когато го предадох на консулския служител, последва спор за детайли по заявлението, както защо не си нося стария паспорт. Оказа се, че въпреки практиката в България, написаното на сайта на Външно и на новия консулски портал, МВР изисквали паспортът да се предаде в консулството при подаването на заявлението. Абсурдно е, но „така искали и може да върнат заявлението, вие си знаете“. Като посочих, че в портала пише друго, последва отговор „Ако можеше през интернет, щяха всички да го правят там, нали?“ Отговорих, че по принцип може, ама…

Тогава ми светна, че всъщност има един друг портал, за който Външно похарчи стотици хиляди. Бях забравил за него (въобще много забравяне в тази история). Идеята му е да си подадеш заявлението изцяло online и така да олекоти работата на консулствата. Уловката е, че изисква електронен подпис, което е доста рядко все още.

Е, аз имам електронен подпис. Вече бях доста изнервен на служителката, събрах си документите и си тръгнах. Вечерта седнах и отворих e-services.mfa.bg. Прие електронния ми подпис и започнах да попълвам детайлите. Любопитно е, че ми показа снимката съхранявана от МВР, но се наложи на ръка да въведа почти всичко останало.

Пуснах заявлението и съвсем очаквано сайтът се счупи. Това всъщност е известно отдавана. Пробвах в случай, че имам някакъв късмет. Само един човек е успял да подаде заявление така малко след пускането на проекта. От тогава насам прескъпият портал просто не работи. Опитах се на няколко различни конфигурации, но резултатът беше същия.

Върнах се към консулския портал consulatebg.eu, попълних отново електронното заявление и си направих нов час за след месец и половина. Толкова се чака. Ако днес се опитате да си направите час във Франкфурт, най-скорошният е на 14-ти септември. Може да се пробвате в съседните консулства, но и там чакането не е по-малко. След като подадете заявлението, може да се наложи да чакате между един и шест месеца за самия паспорт. Зависи от натоварването и бързината на чиновниците в България.

Иронията тук е, че ако подам заявление за немско гражданство, процедурата може да мине дори по-бързо от обновяването на българския. Това, както и лошите консулски услуги са сред основните причини толкова българи да взимат немски паспорт. Аз съм решил, че просто не ми трябва. Същото, впрочем, важи и за децата на български родители родени в чужбина – процедурата е сравнително лесна, но трябва да се върнеш в България. Има разписан в закона вариант български акт за раждане да се вади и през консулствата. Според отговора, който получих от Външно, няма данни някой някога да го е правил. Консулите дори имат задължение да вадят служебно български акт за българчета, за които знаят, че са родени в региона им. Нямат обаче капацитета и също не се е случвало.

За нищо от това не виня хората работещи в консулството. Колкото и да ме изнерви отношението на служителката тогава, разбирам я напълно предвид наплива пред сградата и ѝ го казах. Истината е, че точно консулството във Франкфурт работи с 2-3-ма консулски служители. Още няколко помагат с възспирането на тълпата и организацията, макар да не им е това работата. Консулството отговаря вече за близо 120 хиляди българи в съседните провинции. Това е все едно град като Плевен или Стара Загора да бъде обслужван от кметството на малко родопско село.

За проблемите на консулствата ни и недостига на служители и материално осигуряване съм писал вече. Министерството на външните работи отказа да ми предостави данните за финансовите отчети на всяко от тях. Съдих ги, спечелих на първа инстанция, но те обжалваха пред ВАС. Делото е насрочено за средата на февруари. Опърничавостта им ме кара да мисля, че явно има резон в неофициалната информация, която имам от познати във Външно, че от такси и услуги министерството излиза на печалба, а не се инвестира почти нищо. Само данните ще покажат дали емиграцията ни не издържа дипломацията ни.

Целият процес е изнервящ за всички участници. Нищо ново за бюрокрацията ни, ще кажете. Интернет платформите, електронната идентичност, електронните услуги и гласуване ще олекотят много нещата, но няма да изместят нуждата от адекватни консулства. Дори да не подаваме ухо на фалшивите бомбастични твърдения за броя на българите в чужбина, емиграцията ни е доста голяма. Всички говорят как ще бъдат върнати с една или друга мярка, но никой не се сеща, че често допирът до държавата България са именно тези консулства. През тях всички виждат, че малко от причините да напуснат да се подобрили – бюрокрация, неясни изисквания, липса на обучен персонал, изнервени служители и опашки. Ако искаме да променим нещо, това е добро място да започнем.

А иначе, аз паспорт ще си изкарам. Ще ми излезе по-евтино и по-бързо да се вдигна на самолета и да изкарам по бързата процедура в Пловдив. Ще загубя ден-два отпуска, но не ми е проблем. За доста обаче това не е вариант. Особено, когато са с дете.

New Information in the AWS IAM Console Helps You Follow IAM Best Practices

Post Syndicated from Rob Moncur original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/security/newly-updated-features-in-the-aws-iam-console-help-you-adhere-to-iam-best-practices/

Today, we added new information to the Users section of the AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) console to make it easier for you to follow IAM best practices. With this new information, you can more easily monitor users’ activity in your AWS account and identify access keys and passwords that you should rotate regularly. You can also better audit users’ MFA device usage and keep track of their group memberships. In this post, I show how you can use this new information to help you follow IAM best practices.

Monitor activity in your AWS account

The IAM best practice, monitor activity in your AWS account, encourages you to monitor user activity in your AWS account by using services such as AWS CloudTrail and AWS Config. In addition to monitoring usage in your AWS account, you should be aware of inactive users so that you can remove them from your account. By only retaining necessary users, you can help maintain the security of your AWS account.

To help you find users that are inactive, we added three new columns to the IAM user table: Last activity, Console last sign-in, and Access key last used.
Screenshot showing three new columns in the IAM user table

  1. Last activity – This column tells you how long it has been since the user has either signed in to the AWS Management Console or accessed AWS programmatically with their access keys. Use this column to find users who might be inactive, and consider removing them from your AWS account.
  2. Console last sign-in – This column displays the time since the user’s most recent console sign-in. Consider removing passwords from users who are not signing in to the console.
  3. Access key last used – This column displays the time since a user last used access keys. Use this column to find any access keys that are not being used, and deactivate or remove them.

Rotate credentials regularly

The IAM best practice, rotate credentials regularly, recommends that all users in your AWS account change passwords and access keys regularly. With this practice, if a password or access key is compromised without your knowledge, you can limit how long the credentials can be used to access your resources. To help your management efforts, we added three new columns to the IAM user table: Access key age, Password age, and Access key ID.

Screenshot showing three new columns in the IAM user table

  1. Access key age – This column shows how many days it has been since the oldest active access key was created for a user. With this information, you can audit access keys easily across all your users and identify the access keys that may need to be rotated.

Based on the number of days since the access key has been rotated, a green, yellow, or red icon is displayed. To see the corresponding time frame for each icon, pause your mouse pointer on the Access key age column heading to see the tooltip, as shown in the following screenshot.

Icons showing days since the oldest active access key was created

  1. Password age – This column shows the number of days since a user last changed their password. With this information, you can audit password rotation and identify users who have not changed their password recently. The easiest way to make sure that your users are rotating their password often is to establish an account password policy that requires users to change their password after a specified time period.
  2. Access key ID – This column displays the access key IDs for users and the current status (Active/Inactive) of those access key IDs. This column makes it easier for you to locate and see the state of access keys for each user, which is useful for auditing. To find a specific access key ID, use the search box above the table.

Enable MFA for privileged users

Another IAM best practice is to enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) for privileged IAM users. With MFA, users have a device that generates a unique authentication code (a one-time password [OTP]). Users must provide both their normal credentials (such as their user name and password) and the OTP when signing in.

To help you see if MFA has been enabled for your users, we’ve improved the MFA column to show you if MFA is enabled and which type of MFA (hardware, virtual, or SMS) is enabled for each user, where applicable.

Screenshot showing the improved "MFA" column

Use groups to assign permissions to IAM users

Instead of defining permissions for individual IAM users, it’s usually more convenient to create groups that relate to job functions (such as administrators, developers, and accountants), define the relevant permissions for each group, and then assign IAM users to those groups. All the users in an IAM group inherit the permissions assigned to the group. This way, if you need to modify permissions, you can make the change once for everyone in a group instead of making the change one time for each user. As people move around in your company, you can change the group membership of the IAM user.

To better understand which groups your users belong to, we’ve made updates:

  1. Groups – This column now lists the groups of which a user is a member. This information makes it easier to understand and compare multiple users’ permissions at once.
  2. Group count – This column shows the number of groups to which each user belongs.Screenshot showing the updated "Groups" and "Group count" columns

Customize your view

Choosing which columns you see in the User table is easy to do. When you click the button with the gear icon in the upper right corner of the table, you can choose the columns you want to see, as shown in the following screenshots.

Screenshot showing gear icon  Screenshot of "Manage columns" dialog box


We made these improvements to the Users section of the IAM console to make it easier for you to follow IAM best practices in your AWS account. Following these best practices can help you improve the security of your AWS resources and make your account easier to manage.

If you have comments about this post, submit them in the “Comments” section below. If you have questions or suggestions, please start a new thread on the IAM forum.

– Rob

Announcing the Availability of Hardware Multi-Factor Authentication in the AWS GovCloud (US) Region

Post Syndicated from Craig Liebendorfer original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/security/announcing-the-availability-of-hardware-multi-factor-authentication-in-the-aws-govcloud-us-region/

AWS GovCloud (US) Region image

Hardware multi-factor authentication (MFA) is now available in the AWS GovCloud (US) Region to help strengthen data security while giving you control over token keys that have access to your data. MFA is a best practice that adds an extra layer of protection on top of users’ user names and passwords.

These token keys that are specific to the AWS GovCloud (US) Region are distributed by SurePassID, a third-party digital security company, and implement the Initiative for Open Authentication Time-Based One-Time Password (OATH TOTP) standard. SurePassID tokens are available for purchase on Amazon.com.

For more information about hardware MFA in the AWS GovCloud (US) Region, see the AWS Public Sector Blog post.

– Craig

Amazon QuickSight Spring Announcement: KPI Charts, Export to CSV, AD Connector, and More!

Post Syndicated from Jose Kunnackal original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/big-data/amazon-quicksight-spring-announcement-kpi-charts-export-to-csv-ad-connector-and-more/

Today I’m excited to share with you a number of exciting new features and enhancements in Amazon QuickSight. You can now create key performance indicator (KPI) charts, define custom ranges when importing Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, export data to comma separated value (CSV) format, and create aggregate filters for SPICE data sets. In the Enterprise Edition, we added an additional option to connect to your on-premises Active Directory using AD Connector.

KPI charts

With KPI charts, you can present a single aggregated value from a measure, and also comparisons against another measure or over a time period. These values are ideal for building dashboards and surfacing key business metrics. For example, the following KPI chart shows the sales of the current month and the difference compared to the previous month.

To get started with this new chart type, simply select a measure and QuickSight’s AutoGraph capability automatically generates a KPI chart based on the measure. You can then choose to add another measure for a target value, or a dimension for the trend group to add comparisons. Alternatively, you can select the KPI chart type icon on the Visual Types panel to create the chart manually. 

Custom ranges for Microsoft Excel spreadsheets

In this release, we also added some enhancements to our Microsoft Excel support. When you upload an Excel spreadsheet, QuickSight now automatically detects the cell range of your table in the sheet. This approach makes it even easier to analyze your Excel data. Also, if you have a specific area in the sheet that you want to focus on, you can now define a custom range in QuickSight. 

Export to CSV

One of the most frequent feature requests we receive from customers is the ability to export visualizations in CSV format. This export format makes it possible for insights derived in QuickSight to be consumed by other means. You can now export your data to CSV by selecting the visual you want to export, clicking on the top-right menu icon, and choosing Export to CSV. 

Aggregate filters for SPICE data sets

With aggregate filters for SPICE data sets, you can now define filter conditions after aggregations have been applied on a metric. For example, in the Business Review sample analysis, you can now filter on customers who have been billed more than $2 million, in total, over time.

AD Connector

With the announcement of Enterprise Edition last December, we added support for user authentication using AWS Managed Microsoft Active Directory (AD). This support allows you to provision and authenticate your users by connecting to an AWS hosted Microsoft AD, or a trusted on-premises AD. Using Managed Microsoft AD, you can easily provision users across multiple cloud and on-premises domains using trust relationships provisioned with the respective ADs.

With this new announcement, we are adding an additional option to connect QuickSight to your on-premises AD using AD Connector. AD Connector doesn’t require provisioning and maintenance of trust relationships with ADs. Instead, AD Connector acts as a proxy that forwards sign-in requests to your on-premises AD for validation. As with Managed Microsoft AD, users log in to QuickSight using their existing AD credentials. Security policies related to password expiration, password history, RADIUS-based multifactor authentication (MFA), and account lockouts are enforced by the AD as usual. QuickSight Enterprise Edition supports the AD Connector in US East (N. Virginia). You have the option to provision SPICE capacity in all supported regions. 

Learn more

To learn more about these capabilities and start using them in your dashboards, check out the QuickSight User Guide.

Stay engaged

If you have questions and suggestions, you can post them on the QuickSight Discussion Forum.

Not a QuickSight user?

Click here to get started for FREE.

New Amazon AppStream 2.0 Features – Fleet Auto Scaling, Image Builder, SAML, Metrics, and Fleet Management

Post Syndicated from Jeff Barr original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/new-amazon-appstream-2-0-features-fleet-auto-scaling-image-builder-saml-metrics-and-fleet-management/

My colleague Gene Farrell introduced you to Amazon AppStream 2.0 late last year. In his guest post, Gene explained how AppStream 2.0 lets you run desktop applications securely on any device, from within the comfort of an HTML5 web browser (read the entire post to learn more). For example, I used the AppStream 2.0 Try it Now page to launch and then immediately start using Siemens Solid Edge. I simply chose the desired application from the Try it Now page:

I was running Solid Edge a few seconds later, no installation or setup needed:

By Popular Request – New Features for Enterprises, SMBs, and ISVs
Since that re:Invent launch, we have been fine-tuning AppStream 2.0, adding in some features that our customers have been asking for. These features will allow our customers to more easily deploy, access, manage and track the applications that they make available for use through AppStream. We’ve rolled most of these out without individual blog posts, and today I’d like to let you know what we’ve been up to. Here are the newest features:

Fleet Auto Scaling – This brand-new feature allows you to use the CloudWatch metrics to scale your fleet up and down in response to changes in demand. This allows you to deliver applications as economically as possible, while still providing instant access.

Image Builder – You can build your own AppStream 2.0 images that contain your choice of applications.

SAML 2.0 Authentication – You can use your existing SAML 2.0 compliant directory with AppStream 2.0. Your users can use their existing credentials to log in.

Fleet Management – You have additional management options for the instances that run your applications.

CloudWatch Metrics – You can observe and monitor seven Amazon CloudWatch metrics, including the size and overall utilization of your fleets.

Let’s take a look at each one!

Fleet Auto Scaling
This feature is brand new, and is powered by the new CloudWatch metrics! You can now associate scaling policies with each of your fleets and use them to meet varying levels of user demand and to control costs. If you are using AppStream 2.0 to deliver productivity applications to your users, you can use the scaling policies to ensure that capacity comes online as needed during office hours, and goes away in the evening when your users are done for the day. Here is a fleet with scale out (add capacity) and scale in (remove capacity) policies:

In order to take advantage of this feature, you set the minimum and maximum capacity when you create the fleet:

This will create the default policies, which you can later edit, add, or remove (you can have up to 50 policies per fleet). To learn more, read about AppStream Fleet Auto Scaling.

Image Builder
This feature allows you to create custom images that contain your choice of commercial or proprietary applications. In order to do this, you launch an instance called an image builder. Then you log in to the instance, install and configure the applications as desired, and capture the state of the instance as an image. The entire login and customization process takes place within your web browser; you don’t have to download any keys or remember any passwords. The application appears in the Image Registry and is available to your users.

I can launch an image builder from the AppStream 2.0 Console:

Next, I choose the starting point (an existing image):

Then I configure the builder by giving it a name, choosing an instance size, and setting up the VPC:

I click on Review, confirm my settings, and then wait for the builder to launch:

Then I can connect to the image builder, set up the apps, and create an image. I have my choice of two identities when I connect, Admin and Test:

I select ImageBuildAdmin and (when prompted for a password), click on Log me in in the Admin Commands menu:

After logging in, I launch the Image Assistant app and use it to install and test my apps:

To learn more, read about Image Builders and follow the Using an AppStream 2.0 Image Builder Tutorial.

SAML 2.0 Authentication
This feature allows you to use any external identity provider that supports SAML 2.0 including Active Directory Federation Services, PingFederate Server, Okta, or Shibboleth:

After you follow the directions in Setting Up SAML, your users can log in to AppStream 2.0 using their existing identity and credentials. You can manage users and groups, control access to applications based on the identity or location of the user, and use Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). To learn more, read Enabling Single Sign-on Access to AppStream 2.0 Using SAML 2.0. If you have already set up federated access to the AWS Management Console, much of what you already know will apply.

Fleet Management
This feature gives me additional control over my fleets (groups of instances that are running applications for users). I can see all of my fleets on a single screen:

I can select a fleet and then act on it:

Some properties of a fleet can be edited at any time. Others, including the VPC properties, can only be edited after the fleet has been stopped. To learn more, read about Stacks and Fleets.

CloudWatch Metrics
AppStream publishes eight metrics to CloudWatch for each fleet:

  • RunningCapacity – Number of instances running.
  • InUseCapacity – Number of instances in use.
  • DesiredCapacity – Number of instances that are either running or pending.
  • AvailableCapacity – Number of idle instances available for use.
  • PendingCapacity – Number of instances being provisioned.
  • CapacityUtilization – Percentage of fleet being used.
  • InsufficientCapacityError – Number of sessions rejected due to lack of capacity.

You can see these metrics from within the AppStream 2.0 Console:

These metrics will help you to measure overall usage to to fine tune the size of your fleet. As is the case with every CloudWatch metric, you can generate alerts and raise alarms when a metric is outside of the desired range. You could also use AWS Lambda functions to make changes to your environment or to generate specialized notifications. To learn more, read about Monitoring Amazon AppStream 2.0 Resources.

Available Now
All of these features are available now and you can start using them today!


In Case You Missed These: AWS Security Blog Posts from January, February, and March

Post Syndicated from Craig Liebendorfer original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/security/in-case-you-missed-these-aws-security-blog-posts-from-january-february-and-march/

Image of lock and key

In case you missed any AWS Security Blog posts published so far in 2017, they are summarized and linked to below. The posts are shown in reverse chronological order (most recent first), and the subject matter ranges from protecting dynamic web applications against DDoS attacks to monitoring AWS account configuration changes and API calls to Amazon EC2 security groups.


March 22: How to Help Protect Dynamic Web Applications Against DDoS Attacks by Using Amazon CloudFront and Amazon Route 53
Using a content delivery network (CDN) such as Amazon CloudFront to cache and serve static text and images or downloadable objects such as media files and documents is a common strategy to improve webpage load times, reduce network bandwidth costs, lessen the load on web servers, and mitigate distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. AWS WAF is a web application firewall that can be deployed on CloudFront to help protect your application against DDoS attacks by giving you control over which traffic to allow or block by defining security rules. When users access your application, the Domain Name System (DNS) translates human-readable domain names (for example, www.example.com) to machine-readable IP addresses (for example, A DNS service, such as Amazon Route 53, can effectively connect users’ requests to a CloudFront distribution that proxies requests for dynamic content to the infrastructure hosting your application’s endpoints. In this blog post, I show you how to deploy CloudFront with AWS WAF and Route 53 to help protect dynamic web applications (with dynamic content such as a response to user input) against DDoS attacks. The steps shown in this post are key to implementing the overall approach described in AWS Best Practices for DDoS Resiliency and enable the built-in, managed DDoS protection service, AWS Shield.

March 21: New AWS Encryption SDK for Python Simplifies Multiple Master Key Encryption
The AWS Cryptography team is happy to announce a Python implementation of the AWS Encryption SDK. This new SDK helps manage data keys for you, and it simplifies the process of encrypting data under multiple master keys. As a result, this new SDK allows you to focus on the code that drives your business forward. It also provides a framework you can easily extend to ensure that you have a cryptographic library that is configured to match and enforce your standards. The SDK also includes ready-to-use examples. If you are a Java developer, you can refer to this blog post to see specific Java examples for the SDK. In this blog post, I show you how you can use the AWS Encryption SDK to simplify the process of encrypting data and how to protect your encryption keys in ways that help improve application availability by not tying you to a single region or key management solution.

March 21: Updated CJIS Workbook Now Available by Request
The need for guidance when implementing Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS)–compliant solutions has become of paramount importance as more law enforcement customers and technology partners move to store and process criminal justice data in the cloud. AWS services allow these customers to easily and securely architect a CJIS-compliant solution when handling criminal justice data, creating a durable, cost-effective, and secure IT infrastructure that better supports local, state, and federal law enforcement in carrying out their public safety missions. AWS has created several documents (collectively referred to as the CJIS Workbook) to assist you in aligning with the FBI’s CJIS Security Policy. You can use the workbook as a framework for developing CJIS-compliant architecture in the AWS Cloud. The workbook helps you define and test the controls you operate, and document the dependence on the controls that AWS operates (compute, storage, database, networking, regions, Availability Zones, and edge locations).

March 9: New Cloud Directory API Makes It Easier to Query Data Along Multiple Dimensions
Today, we made available a new Cloud Directory API, ListObjectParentPaths, that enables you to retrieve all available parent paths for any directory object across multiple hierarchies. Use this API when you want to fetch all parent objects for a specific child object. The order of the paths and objects returned is consistent across iterative calls to the API, unless objects are moved or deleted. In case an object has multiple parents, the API allows you to control the number of paths returned by using a paginated call pattern. In this blog post, I use an example directory to demonstrate how this new API enables you to retrieve data across multiple dimensions to implement powerful applications quickly.

March 8: How to Access the AWS Management Console Using AWS Microsoft AD and Your On-Premises Credentials
AWS Directory Service for Microsoft Active Directory, also known as AWS Microsoft AD, is a managed Microsoft Active Directory (AD) hosted in the AWS Cloud. Now, AWS Microsoft AD makes it easy for you to give your users permission to manage AWS resources by using on-premises AD administrative tools. With AWS Microsoft AD, you can grant your on-premises users permissions to resources such as the AWS Management Console instead of adding AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) user accounts or configuring AD Federation Services (AD FS) with Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML). In this blog post, I show how to use AWS Microsoft AD to enable your on-premises AD users to sign in to the AWS Management Console with their on-premises AD user credentials to access and manage AWS resources through IAM roles.

March 7: How to Protect Your Web Application Against DDoS Attacks by Using Amazon Route 53 and an External Content Delivery Network
Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are attempts by a malicious actor to flood a network, system, or application with more traffic, connections, or requests than it is able to handle. To protect your web application against DDoS attacks, you can use AWS Shield, a DDoS protection service that AWS provides automatically to all AWS customers at no additional charge. You can use AWS Shield in conjunction with DDoS-resilient web services such as Amazon CloudFront and Amazon Route 53 to improve your ability to defend against DDoS attacks. Learn more about architecting for DDoS resiliency by reading the AWS Best Practices for DDoS Resiliency whitepaper. You also have the option of using Route 53 with an externally hosted content delivery network (CDN). In this blog post, I show how you can help protect the zone apex (also known as the root domain) of your web application by using Route 53 to perform a secure redirect to prevent discovery of your application origin.

Image of lock and key


February 27: Now Generally Available – AWS Organizations: Policy-Based Management for Multiple AWS Accounts
Today, AWS Organizations moves from Preview to General Availability. You can use Organizations to centrally manage multiple AWS accounts, with the ability to create a hierarchy of organizational units (OUs). You can assign each account to an OU, define policies, and then apply those policies to an entire hierarchy, specific OUs, or specific accounts. You can invite existing AWS accounts to join your organization, and you can also create new accounts. All of these functions are available from the AWS Management Console, the AWS Command Line Interface (CLI), and through the AWS Organizations API.To read the full AWS Blog post about today’s launch, see AWS Organizations – Policy-Based Management for Multiple AWS Accounts.

February 23: s2n Is Now Handling 100 Percent of SSL Traffic for Amazon S3
Today, we’ve achieved another important milestone for securing customer data: we have replaced OpenSSL with s2n for all internal and external SSL traffic in Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) commercial regions. This was implemented with minimal impact to customers, and multiple means of error checking were used to ensure a smooth transition, including client integration tests, catching potential interoperability conflicts, and identifying memory leaks through fuzz testing.

February 22: Easily Replace or Attach an IAM Role to an Existing EC2 Instance by Using the EC2 Console
AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) roles enable your applications running on Amazon EC2 to use temporary security credentials. IAM roles for EC2 make it easier for your applications to make API requests securely from an instance because they do not require you to manage AWS security credentials that the applications use. Recently, we enabled you to use temporary security credentials for your applications by attaching an IAM role to an existing EC2 instance by using the AWS CLI and SDK. To learn more, see New! Attach an AWS IAM Role to an Existing Amazon EC2 Instance by Using the AWS CLI. Starting today, you can attach an IAM role to an existing EC2 instance from the EC2 console. You can also use the EC2 console to replace an IAM role attached to an existing instance. In this blog post, I will show how to attach an IAM role to an existing EC2 instance from the EC2 console.

February 22: How to Audit Your AWS Resources for Security Compliance by Using Custom AWS Config Rules
AWS Config Rules enables you to implement security policies as code for your organization and evaluate configuration changes to AWS resources against these policies. You can use Config rules to audit your use of AWS resources for compliance with external compliance frameworks such as CIS AWS Foundations Benchmark and with your internal security policies related to the US Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP), and other regimes. AWS provides some predefined, managed Config rules. You also can create custom Config rules based on criteria you define within an AWS Lambda function. In this post, I show how to create a custom rule that audits AWS resources for security compliance by enabling VPC Flow Logs for an Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC). The custom rule meets requirement 4.3 of the CIS AWS Foundations Benchmark: “Ensure VPC flow logging is enabled in all VPCs.”

February 13: AWS Announces CISPE Membership and Compliance with First-Ever Code of Conduct for Data Protection in the Cloud
I have two exciting announcements today, both showing AWS’s continued commitment to ensuring that customers can comply with EU Data Protection requirements when using our services.

February 13: How to Enable Multi-Factor Authentication for AWS Services by Using AWS Microsoft AD and On-Premises Credentials
You can now enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) for users of AWS services such as Amazon WorkSpaces and Amazon QuickSight and their on-premises credentials by using your AWS Directory Service for Microsoft Active Directory (Enterprise Edition) directory, also known as AWS Microsoft AD. MFA adds an extra layer of protection to a user name and password (the first “factor”) by requiring users to enter an authentication code (the second factor), which has been provided by your virtual or hardware MFA solution. These factors together provide additional security by preventing access to AWS services, unless users supply a valid MFA code.

February 13: How to Create an Organizational Chart with Separate Hierarchies by Using Amazon Cloud Directory
Amazon Cloud Directory enables you to create directories for a variety of use cases, such as organizational charts, course catalogs, and device registries. Cloud Directory offers you the flexibility to create directories with hierarchies that span multiple dimensions. For example, you can create an organizational chart that you can navigate through separate hierarchies for reporting structure, location, and cost center. In this blog post, I show how to use Cloud Directory APIs to create an organizational chart with two separate hierarchies in a single directory. I also show how to navigate the hierarchies and retrieve data. I use the Java SDK for all the sample code in this post, but you can use other language SDKs or the AWS CLI.

February 10: How to Easily Log On to AWS Services by Using Your On-Premises Active Directory
AWS Directory Service for Microsoft Active Directory (Enterprise Edition), also known as Microsoft AD, now enables your users to log on with just their on-premises Active Directory (AD) user name—no domain name is required. This new domainless logon feature makes it easier to set up connections to your on-premises AD for use with applications such as Amazon WorkSpaces and Amazon QuickSight, and it keeps the user logon experience free from network naming. This new interforest trusts capability is now available when using Microsoft AD with Amazon WorkSpaces and Amazon QuickSight Enterprise Edition. In this blog post, I explain how Microsoft AD domainless logon works with AD interforest trusts, and I show an example of setting up Amazon WorkSpaces to use this capability.

February 9: New! Attach an AWS IAM Role to an Existing Amazon EC2 Instance by Using the AWS CLI
AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) roles enable your applications running on Amazon EC2 to use temporary security credentials that AWS creates, distributes, and rotates automatically. Using temporary credentials is an IAM best practice because you do not need to maintain long-term keys on your instance. Using IAM roles for EC2 also eliminates the need to use long-term AWS access keys that you have to manage manually or programmatically. Starting today, you can enable your applications to use temporary security credentials provided by AWS by attaching an IAM role to an existing EC2 instance. You can also replace the IAM role attached to an existing EC2 instance. In this blog post, I show how you can attach an IAM role to an existing EC2 instance by using the AWS CLI.

February 8: How to Remediate Amazon Inspector Security Findings Automatically
The Amazon Inspector security assessment service can evaluate the operating environments and applications you have deployed on AWS for common and emerging security vulnerabilities automatically. As an AWS-built service, Amazon Inspector is designed to exchange data and interact with other core AWS services not only to identify potential security findings but also to automate addressing those findings. Previous related blog posts showed how you can deliver Amazon Inspector security findings automatically to third-party ticketing systems and automate the installation of the Amazon Inspector agent on new Amazon EC2 instances. In this post, I show how you can automatically remediate findings generated by Amazon Inspector. To get started, you must first run an assessment and publish any security findings to an Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS) topic. Then, you create an AWS Lambda function that is triggered by those notifications. Finally, the Lambda function examines the findings and then implements the appropriate remediation based on the type of issue.

February 6: How to Simplify Security Assessment Setup Using Amazon EC2 Systems Manager and Amazon Inspector
In a July 2016 AWS Blog post, I discussed how to integrate Amazon Inspector with third-party ticketing systems by using Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS) and AWS Lambda. This AWS Security Blog post continues in the same vein, describing how to use Amazon Inspector to automate various aspects of security management. In this post, I show you how to install the Amazon Inspector agent automatically through the Amazon EC2 Systems Manager when a new Amazon EC2 instance is launched. In a subsequent post, I will show you how to update EC2 instances automatically that run Linux when Amazon Inspector discovers a missing security patch.

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January 30: How to Protect Data at Rest with Amazon EC2 Instance Store Encryption
Encrypting data at rest is vital for regulatory compliance to ensure that sensitive data saved on disks is not readable by any user or application without a valid key. Some compliance regulations such as PCI DSS and HIPAA require that data at rest be encrypted throughout the data lifecycle. To this end, AWS provides data-at-rest options and key management to support the encryption process. For example, you can encrypt Amazon EBS volumes and configure Amazon S3 buckets for server-side encryption (SSE) using AES-256 encryption. Additionally, Amazon RDS supports Transparent Data Encryption (TDE). Instance storage provides temporary block-level storage for Amazon EC2 instances. This storage is located on disks attached physically to a host computer. Instance storage is ideal for temporary storage of information that frequently changes, such as buffers, caches, and scratch data. By default, files stored on these disks are not encrypted. In this blog post, I show a method for encrypting data on Linux EC2 instance stores by using Linux built-in libraries. This method encrypts files transparently, which protects confidential data. As a result, applications that process the data are unaware of the disk-level encryption.

January 27: How to Detect and Automatically Remediate Unintended Permissions in Amazon S3 Object ACLs with CloudWatch Events
Amazon S3 Access Control Lists (ACLs) enable you to specify permissions that grant access to S3 buckets and objects. When S3 receives a request for an object, it verifies whether the requester has the necessary access permissions in the associated ACL. For example, you could set up an ACL for an object so that only the users in your account can access it, or you could make an object public so that it can be accessed by anyone. If the number of objects and users in your AWS account is large, ensuring that you have attached correctly configured ACLs to your objects can be a challenge. For example, what if a user were to call the PutObjectAcl API call on an object that is supposed to be private and make it public? Or, what if a user were to call the PutObject with the optional Acl parameter set to public-read, therefore uploading a confidential file as publicly readable? In this blog post, I show a solution that uses Amazon CloudWatch Events to detect PutObject and PutObjectAcl API calls in near-real time and helps ensure that the objects remain private by making automatic PutObjectAcl calls, when necessary.

January 26: Now Available: Amazon Cloud Directory—A Cloud-Native Directory for Hierarchical Data
Today we are launching Amazon Cloud Directory. This service is purpose-built for storing large amounts of strongly typed hierarchical data. With the ability to scale to hundreds of millions of objects while remaining cost-effective, Cloud Directory is a great fit for all sorts of cloud and mobile applications.

January 24: New SOC 2 Report Available: Confidentiality
As with everything at Amazon, the success of our security and compliance program is primarily measured by one thing: our customers’ success. Our customers drive our portfolio of compliance reports, attestations, and certifications that support their efforts in running a secure and compliant cloud environment. As a result of our engagement with key customers across the globe, we are happy to announce the publication of our new SOC 2 Confidentiality report. This report is available now through AWS Artifact in the AWS Management Console.

January 18: Compliance in the Cloud for New Financial Services Cybersecurity Regulations
Financial regulatory agencies are focused more than ever on ensuring responsible innovation. Consequently, if you want to achieve compliance with financial services regulations, you must be increasingly agile and employ dynamic security capabilities. AWS enables you to achieve this by providing you with the tools you need to scale your security and compliance capabilities on AWS. The following breakdown of the most recent cybersecurity regulations, NY DFS Rule 23 NYCRR 500, demonstrates how AWS continues to focus on your regulatory needs in the financial services sector.

January 9: New Amazon GameDev Blog Post: Protect Multiplayer Game Servers from DDoS Attacks by Using Amazon GameLift
In online gaming, distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks target a game’s network layer, flooding servers with requests until performance degrades considerably. These attacks can limit a game’s availability to players and limit the player experience for those who can connect. Today’s new Amazon GameDev Blog post uses a typical game server architecture to highlight DDoS attack vulnerabilities and discusses how to stay protected by using built-in AWS Cloud security, AWS security best practices, and the security features of Amazon GameLift. Read the post to learn more.

January 6: The Top 10 Most Downloaded AWS Security and Compliance Documents in 2016
The following list includes the 10 most downloaded AWS security and compliance documents in 2016. Using this list, you can learn about what other people found most interesting about security and compliance last year.

January 6: FedRAMP Compliance Update: AWS GovCloud (US) Region Receives a JAB-Issued FedRAMP High Baseline P-ATO for Three New Services
Three new services in the AWS GovCloud (US) region have received a Provisional Authority to Operate (P-ATO) from the Joint Authorization Board (JAB) under the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP). JAB issued the authorization at the High baseline, which enables US government agencies and their service providers the capability to use these services to process the government’s most sensitive unclassified data, including Personal Identifiable Information (PII), Protected Health Information (PHI), Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI), criminal justice information (CJI), and financial data.

January 4: The Top 20 Most Viewed AWS IAM Documentation Pages in 2016
The following 20 pages were the most viewed AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) documentation pages in 2016. I have included a brief description with each link to give you a clearer idea of what each page covers. Use this list to see what other people have been viewing and perhaps to pique your own interest about a topic you’ve been meaning to research.

January 3: The Most Viewed AWS Security Blog Posts in 2016
The following 10 posts were the most viewed AWS Security Blog posts that we published during 2016. You can use this list as a guide to catch up on your blog reading or even read a post again that you found particularly useful.

January 3: How to Monitor AWS Account Configuration Changes and API Calls to Amazon EC2 Security Groups
You can use AWS security controls to detect and mitigate risks to your AWS resources. The purpose of each security control is defined by its control objective. For example, the control objective of an Amazon VPC security group is to permit only designated traffic to enter or leave a network interface. Let’s say you have an Internet-facing e-commerce website, and your security administrator has determined that only HTTP (TCP port 80) and HTTPS (TCP 443) traffic should be allowed access to the public subnet. As a result, your administrator configures a security group to meet this control objective. What if, though, someone were to inadvertently change this security group’s rules and enable FTP or other protocols to access the public subnet from any location on the Internet? That expanded access could weaken the security posture of your assets. Consequently, your administrator might need to monitor the integrity of your company’s security controls so that the controls maintain their desired effectiveness. In this blog post, I explore two methods for detecting unintended changes to VPC security groups. The two methods address not only control objectives but also control failures.

If you have questions about or issues with implementing the solutions in any of these posts, please start a new thread on the forum identified near the end of each post.

– Craig

How to Access the AWS Management Console Using AWS Microsoft AD and Your On-Premises Credentials

Post Syndicated from Vijay Sharma original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/security/how-to-access-the-aws-management-console-using-aws-microsoft-ad-and-your-on-premises-credentials/

AWS Directory Service for Microsoft Active Directory, also known as AWS Microsoft AD, is a managed Microsoft Active Directory (AD) hosted in the AWS Cloud. Now, AWS Microsoft AD makes it easy for you to give your users permission to manage AWS resources by using on-premises AD administrative tools. With AWS Microsoft AD, you can grant your on-premises users permissions to resources such as the AWS Management Console instead of adding AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) user accounts or configuring AD Federation Services (AD FS) with Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML).

In this blog post, I show how to use AWS Microsoft AD to enable your on-premises AD users to sign in to the AWS Management Console with their on-premises AD user credentials to access and manage AWS resources through IAM roles.


AWS customers use on-premises AD to administer user accounts, manage group memberships, and control access to on-premises resources. If you are like many AWS Microsoft AD customers, you also might want to enable your users to sign in to the AWS Management Console using on-premises AD credentials to manage AWS resources such as Amazon EC2, Amazon RDS, and Amazon S3.

Enabling such sign-in permissions has four key benefits:

  1. Your on-premises AD group administrators can now manage access to AWS resources with standard AD administration tools instead of IAM.
  2. Your users need to remember only one identity to sign in to AD and the AWS Management Console.
  3. Because users sign in with their on-premises AD credentials, access to the AWS Management Console benefits from your AD-enforced password policies.
  4. When you remove a user from AD, AWS Microsoft AD and IAM automatically revoke their access to AWS resources.

IAM roles provide a convenient way to define permissions to manage AWS resources. By using an AD trust between AWS Microsoft AD and your on-premises AD, you can assign your on-premises AD users and groups to IAM roles. This gives the assigned users and groups the IAM roles’ permissions to manage AWS resources. By assigning on-premises AD groups to IAM roles, you can now manage AWS access through standard AD administrative tools such as AD Users and Computers (ADUC).

After you assign your on-premises users or groups to IAM roles, your users can sign in to the AWS Management Console with their on-premises AD credentials. From there, they can select from a list of their assigned IAM roles. After they select a role, they can perform the management functions that you assigned to the IAM role.

In the rest of this post, I show you how to accomplish this in four steps:

  1. Create an access URL.
  2. Enable AWS Management Console access.
  3. Assign on-premises users and groups to IAM roles.
  4. Connect to the AWS Management Console.


The instructions in this blog post require you to have the following components running:

Note: You can assign IAM roles to user identities stored in AWS Microsoft AD. For this post, I focus on assigning IAM roles to user identities stored in your on-premises AD. This requires a forest trust relationship between your on-premises Active Directory and your AWS Microsoft AD directory.

Solution overview

For the purposes of this post, I am the administrator who manages both AD and IAM roles in my company. My company wants to enable all employees to use on-premises credentials to sign in to the AWS Management Console to access and manage their AWS resources. My company uses EC2, RDS, and S3. To manage administrative permissions to these resources, I created a role for each service that gives full access to the service. I named these roles EC2FullAccess, RDSFullAccess, and S3FullAccess.

My company has two teams with different responsibilities, and we manage users in AD security groups. Mary is a member of the DevOps security group and is responsible for creating and managing our RDS databases, running data collection applications on EC2, and archiving information in S3. John and Richard are members of the BIMgrs security group and use EC2 to run analytics programs against the database. Though John and Richard need access to the database and archived information, they do not need to operate those systems. They do need permission to administer their own EC2 instances.

To grant appropriate access to the AWS resources, I need to assign the BIMgrs security group in AD to the EC2FullAccess role in IAM, and I need to assign the DevOps group to all three roles (EC2FullAccess, RDSFullAccess, and S3FullAccess). Also, I want to make sure all our employees have adequate time to complete administrative actions after signing in to the AWS Management Console, so I increase the console session timeout from 60 minutes to 240 minutes (4 hours).

The following diagram illustrates the relationships between my company’s AD users and groups and my company’s AWS roles and services. The left side of the diagram represents my on-premises AD that contains users and groups. The right side represents the AWS Cloud that contains the AWS Management Console, AWS resources, IAM roles, and our AWS Microsoft AD directory connected to our on-premises AD via a forest trust relationship.


Let’s get started with the steps for this scenario. For this post, I have already created an AWS Microsoft AD directory and established a two-way forest trust from AWS Microsoft AD to my on-premises AD. To manage access to AWS resources, I have also created the following IAM roles:

  • EC2FullAccess: Provides full access to EC2 and has the AmazonEC2FullAccess AWS managed policy attached.
  • RDSFullAccess: Provides full access to RDS via the AWS Management Console and has the AmazonRDSFullAccess managed policy attached.
  • S3FullAccess: Provides full access to S3 via the AWS Management Console and has the AmazonS3FullAccess managed policy attached.

To learn more about how to create IAM roles and attach managed policies, see Attaching Managed Policies.

Note: You must include a Directory Service trust policy on all roles that require access by users who sign in to the AWS Management Console using Microsoft AD. To learn more, see Editing the Trust Relationship for an Existing Role.

Step 1 – Create an access URL

The first step to enabling access to the AWS Management Console is to create a unique Access URL for your AWS Microsoft AD directory. An Access URL is a globally unique URL. AWS applications, such as the AWS Management Console, use the URL to connect to the AWS sign-in page that is linked to your AWS Microsoft AD directory. The Access URL does not provide any other access to your directory. To learn more about Access URLs, see Creating an Access URL.

Follow these steps to create an Access URL:

  1. Navigate to the Directory Service Console and choose your AWS Microsoft AD Directory ID.
  2. On the Directory Details page, choose the Apps & Services tab, type a unique access alias in the Access URL box, and then choose Create Access URL to create an Access URL for your directory.
    Screenshot of creating an Access URL

Your directory Access URL should be in the following format: <access-alias>.awsapps.com. In this example, I am using https://example-corp.awsapps.com.

Step 2 – Enable AWS Management Console access

To allow users to sign in to AWS Management Console with their on-premises credentials, you must enable AWS Management Console access for your AWS Microsoft AD directory:

  1. From the Directory Service console, choose your AWS Microsoft AD Directory ID. Choose the AWS Management Console link in the AWS apps & services section.
    Screenshot of choosing the AWS Management Console link
  2. In the Enable AWS Management Console dialog box, choose Enable Access to enable console access for your directory.
    Screenshot of choosing Enable Access

This enables AWS Management Console access for your AWS Microsoft AD directory and provides you a URL that you can use to connect to the console. The URL is generated by appending “/console” to the end of the access URL that you created in Step 1: <access-alias>.awsapps.com/console. In this example, the AWS Management Console URL is https://example-corp.awsapps.com/console.
Screenshot of the URL to connect to the console

Step 3 – Assign on-premises users and groups to IAM roles

Before you users can use your Access URL to sign in to the AWS Management Console, you need to assign on-premises users or groups to IAM roles. This critical step enables you to control which AWS resources your on-premises users and groups can access from the AWS Management Console.

In my on-premises Active Directory, Mary is already a member of the DevOps group, and John and Richard are members of the BIMgrs group. I already set up the trust from AWS Microsoft AD to my on-premises AD, and I already created the EC2FullAccess, RDSFullAccess, and S3FullAccess roles that I will use.

I am now ready to assign on-premises groups to IAM roles. I do this by assigning the DevOps group to the EC2FullAccess, RDSFullAccess, and S3FullAccess IAM roles, and the BIMgrs group to the EC2FullAccess IAM role. Follow these steps to assign on-premises groups to IAM roles:

  1. Open the Directory Service details page of your AWS Microsoft AD directory and choose the AWS Management Console link on the Apps & services tab. Choose Continue to navigate to the Add Users and Groups to Roles page.
    Screenshot of Manage access to AWS Resources dialog box
  2. On the Add Users and Groups to Roles page, I see the three IAM roles that I have already configured (shown in the following screenshot). If you do not have any IAM roles with a Directory Service trust policy enabled, you can create new roles or enable Directory Service for existing roles.
  3. I will now assign the on-premises DevOps and BIMgrs groups to the EC2FullAccess role. To do so, I choose the EC2FullAccess IAM role link to navigate to the Role Detail page. Next, I choose the Add button to assign users or groups to the role, as shown in the following screenshot.
  4. In the Add Users and Groups to Role pop-up window, I select the on-premises Active Directory forest that contains the users and groups to assign. In this example, that forest is amazondomains.comNote: If you do not use a trust to an on-premises AD and you create users and groups in your AWS Microsoft AD directory, you can choose the default this forest to search for users in Microsoft AD.
  5. To assign an Active Directory group, choose the Group filter above the Search for field. Type the name of the Active Directory group in the search box and choose the search button (the magnifying glass). You can see that I was able to search for the DevOps group from my on-premises Active Directory.
  6. In this case, I added the on-premises groups, DevOps and BIMgrs, to the EC2FullAccess role. When finished, choose the Add button to assign users and groups to the IAM role. You have now successfully granted DevOps and BIMgrs on-premises AD groups full access to EC2. Users in these AD groups can now sign in to AWS Management Console using their on-premises credentials and manage EC2 instances.

From the Add Users and Groups to Roles page, I repeat the process to assign the remaining groups to the IAM roles. In the following screenshot, you can see that I have assigned the DevOps group to three roles and the BIMgrs group to only one role.

With my AD security groups assigned to my IAM roles, I can now add and delete on-premises users to the security groups to grant or revoke permissions to the IAM roles. Users in these security groups have access to all of their assigned roles.

  1. You can optionally set the login session length for your AWS Microsoft AD directory. The default length is 1 hour, but you can increase it up to 12 hours. In my example, I set the console session time to 240 minutes (4 hours).

Step 4 – Connect to the AWS Management Console

I am now ready for my users to sign in to the AWS Management Console with their on-premises credentials. I emailed my users the access URL I created in Step 2: https://example-corp.awsapps.com/console. Now my users can go to the URL to sign in to the AWS Management Console.

When Mary, who is a member of DevOps group, goes to the access URL, she sees a sign-in page to connect to the AWS Management Console. In the Username box, she can enter her sign-in name in three different ways:

Because the DevOps group is associated with three IAM roles, and because Mary is in the DevOps group, she can choose the role she wants from the list presented after she successfully logs in. The following screenshot shows this step.

If you also would like to secure the AWS Management Console with multi-factor authentication (MFA), you can add MFA to your AWS Microsoft AD configuration. To learn more about enabling MFA on Microsoft AD, see How to Enable Multi-Factor Authentication for AWS Services by Using AWS Microsoft AD and On-Premises Credentials.


AWS Microsoft AD makes it easier for you to connect to the AWS Management Console by using your on-premises credentials. It also enables you to reuse your on-premises AD security policies such as password expiration, password history, and account lockout policies while still controlling access to AWS resources.

To learn more about Directory Service, see the AWS Directory Service home page. If you have questions about this blog post, please start a new thread on the Directory Service forum.

– Vijay