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My AWS Key leaked! What should I do?

What is a AWS Key and how it is used?

An AWS Key is a unique security credential that allows access to AWS services and resources, typically in the form of an access key and a secret key.

Here are the main use cases for AWS Key:

  • Authentication: AWS Key is used to authenticate users and services to access AWS resources securely.
  • Authorization: AWS Key is used to control and manage permissions for accessing different AWS services and resources.
  • Encryption: AWS Key is used to encrypt and decrypt data to ensure data security and confidentiality.

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1. Code snippets to prevent AWS Key hardcoding using environment variables

Using environment variables for storing AWS keys in your code is considered a secure practice for the following reasons:

  • Environment variables are not hard-coded in the codebase, reducing the risk of accidental exposure through version control systems or code sharing.
  • Environment variables are stored outside of the codebase, making it more difficult for attackers to access the keys directly from the source code.
  • Environment variables can be easily managed and rotated without the need to modify the code, providing a more dynamic and secure way to handle sensitive information.

How to secure your secrets using environment variables

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2. Code snippet to prevent AWS Key hardcoding using AWS Secrets Manager

Using AWS Secrets Manager to manage AWS Keys is a secure way to handle sensitive data. Here are code snippets in five different programming languages that demonstrate how to retrieve the AWS Key from AWS Secrets Manager.

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3. Code snippet to prevent AWS Key hardcoding using HashiCorp Vault

Using HashiCorp Vault for managing AWS Keys is a great way to enhance security. Here are code snippets in five different programming languages for securely handling a AWS Key using HashiCorp Vault.

Remember to replace the VAULT_ADDR and VAULT_TOKEN with your Vault server address and authentication token. The snippets assume that the AWS Key is stored under the api_key field within Vault. The specifics of the Vault path and field names should be adjusted to match your Vault setup.

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4. Code snippet to prevent AWS Key hardcoding using CyberArk Conjur

Using CyberArk Conjur to manage AWS Key is a secure way to handle sensitive data. Here are code snippets in five different programming languages that demonstrate how to retrieve the AWS Key from CyberArk Conjur.

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How to generate a AWS Key?

To generate an AWS Key, follow these steps:

  1. Sign in to your AWS Management Console.
  2. Open the IAM console.
  3. In the navigation pane, choose "Users".
  4. Select the user name that you want to generate the access key for.
  5. Choose the "Security credentials" tab.
  6. Under "Access keys", choose "Create access key".
  7. Download the access key file, as it will not be available again.

For more information and detailed instructions, you can refer to the official AWS documentation on generating access keys: AWS Documentation - Access Keys

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My AWS Key leaked, what are the possible reasons?

There are several reasons why an AWS Key might have been leaked:

  • Improper storage: Storing AWS Keys in an insecure location, such as in a public repository or in plain text files, can lead to leaks.
  • Accidental exposure: Developers may inadvertently expose AWS Keys in code, configuration files, or logs, especially during debugging or testing.
  • Compromised systems: If a developer's system or the infrastructure where the keys are stored is compromised, attackers may gain access to the keys.
  • Insufficient access controls: Inadequate access controls on repositories, servers, or other systems can allow unauthorized users to access and misuse AWS Keys.
  • Phishing attacks: Developers may fall victim to phishing attacks that trick them into revealing their AWS Keys to malicious actors.

What are the risks of leaking a AWS Key

When it comes to AWS Key security, it is crucial for developers to understand the risks associated with leaking such sensitive information. Here are some specific risks related to leaking an AWS Key:

  • Unauthorized Access: Leaking an AWS Key can provide unauthorized users with access to your AWS resources, allowing them to potentially compromise your system and data.
  • Data Breaches: If an AWS Key is leaked, it can lead to data breaches where sensitive information stored on AWS services can be accessed and stolen.
  • Financial Loss: Unauthorized access to AWS resources due to a leaked key can result in financial loss through misuse of resources, unexpected charges, or even ransom demands.
  • Reputation Damage: A data breach or security incident caused by a leaked AWS Key can severely damage the reputation of your organization, leading to loss of trust from customers and partners.

It is important for developers to follow best practices for secret management and detection to prevent the leakage of sensitive information like AWS Keys and mitigate the risks associated with such incidents.

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AWS Key security best practices

  • Avoid embedding the secret directly in your code. Instead, use environment variables or secrets managers
  • Secure storage: store the AWS Key in a secure location, such as a password manager or a secrets management service.
  • Regular rotation: periodically rotate the API key to minimize the risk of long-term exposure.
  • Restrict permissions: apply the principle of least privilege by only granting the key the minimum necessary permissions.
  • Monitor usage: regularly check the usage logs for any unusual activity or unauthorized access attempts.
  • Implement access controls: limit the number of users who have access to the secret and enforce strong authentication measures.
  • Use a secrets manager: utilize secret management tools like CyberArk or AWS Secrets Manager for enhanced security.

By adhering to the best practices, you can significantly reduce the risk associated with AWS Key usage and improve the overall security of your AWS Key implementations.

Exposing secrets on GitHub: What to do after leaking Credential and API keys

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AWS Key leak remediation: what to do

What to do if you expose a secret: How to stay calm and respond to an incident [cheat sheet included]

How to check if AWS Key was used by malicious actors

  • Review Access Logs: Check the access logs of your AWS Key account for any unauthorized access or unusual activity. Pay particular attention to access from unfamiliar IP addresses (if you haven’t set up a specific allow list) or at odd hours.
  • Monitor Usage Patterns: Look for anomalies in the usage patterns, such as unexpected spikes in data access or transfer.
  • Check Active Connections and Operations: Review the list of active connections and recent operations on your database. Unusual or unauthorized operations might indicate malicious use.
  • Audit API Usage: If possible, audit the usage of your API key through any logging or monitoring services you have integrated with AWS Key. This can give insights into any unauthorized use of your key.

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Steps to revoke the AWS Key

Generate a new AWS Key:

  • Log into your AWS Key account.
  • Navigate to the API section and generate a new API key.

Update Services with the new key:

  • Replace the compromised key with the new key in all your services that use this API key.
  • Ensure all your applications and services are updated with the new key before deactivating the old one.

Deactivate the old AWS Key:

  • Once the new key is in place and everything is functioning correctly, deactivate the old API key.
  • This can typically be done from the same section where you generated the new key.

Monitor after key rotation:

  • After deactivating the old key, monitor your systems closely to ensure that all services are running smoothly and that there are no unauthorized access attempts.

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How to understand which services will stop working

  • Inventory of services: keep an inventory of all services and applications that utilize your AWS Key.
  • Communication and documentation: Ensure that your team is aware of which services are dependent on the key. Maintain documentation for quick reference.
  • Testing: before deactivating the old key, test your services with the new key in a staging environment. This helps in identifying any services that might face issues post rotation.
  • Fallback strategies: Have a fallback or emergency plan in case a critical service fails after the key rotation. This might include temporary measures or quick rollback procedures.

In summary, the remediation process involves identifying potential misuse, carefully rotating the key, and ensuring minimal disruption to services. Being proactive and having a well-documented process can greatly reduce the risks associated with a compromised API key.

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What about other secrets?

GitGuardian helps developers keep 350+ types of secrets out of source code. GitGuardian’s automated secrets detection and remediation solution secure every step of the development lifecycle, from code to cloud:

  • On developer workstations with git hooks (pre-commit and pre-push);
  • On code sharing platforms like GitHub, GitLab, and Bitbucket;
  • In CI environments (Circle CI, Travis CI, Jenkins CI, GitHub Actions, and many more);
  • In Docker images.

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Environment Variables
Environment Variables
Environment Variables

charge

nullable string

For card errors, the ID of the failed charge.

payment_method_type

nullable string

If the error is specific to the type of payment method, the payment method type that had a problem. This field is only populated for invoice-related errors.

doc_url

nullable string

A URL to more information about the error code reported.

request_log_url

nullable string

A URL to the request log entry in your dashboard.

charge

nullable string

If the error is specific to the type of payment method, the payment method type that had a problem. This field is only populated for invoice-related errors.

Hide
Show
child attributes

type

enum

For some errors that could be handled programmatically, a short string indicating the error code reported.

charge

nullable string

If the error is specific to the type of payment method, the payment method type that had a problem. This field is only populated for invoice-related errors.

Hide
Show
child attributes

type

enum

For some errors that could be handled programmatically, a short string indicating the error code reported.

payment_intent

nullable object

The PaymentIntent object for errors returned on a request involving a PaymentIntent.

setup_intent

nullable object

The SetupIntent object for errors returned on a request involving a SetupIntent.

Hide
Show
child attributes

type

enum

For some errors that could be handled programmatically, a short string indicating the error code reported.

Hide
Show
child attributes

type

enum

For some errors that could be handled programmatically, a short string indicating the error code reported.

CLIENT LIBRARIES

$ gem install stripe
$ pip install stripe
$ composer require stripe/stripe-php
MAVEN
<dependency>
  <groupId>com.stripe</groupId>
  <artifactId>stripe-java</artifactId>
  <version>24.16.0</version>
</dependency>

GRADLE
compile "com.stripe:stripe-java:24.16.0"
$ npm install --save stripe
$ go get github.com/stripe/stripe-go/v76
$ nuget install Stripe.net
SHOW
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