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My AWS SES Key leaked! What should I do?

What is a AWS SES Key and how it is used?

An AWS SES Key is a unique identifier used to authenticate and authorize access to the Amazon Simple Email Service (SES), allowing developers to send and receive emails securely through the AWS platform.

Here are the main use cases for the AWS SES Key:

  • Securely authenticate email sending: The AWS SES Key is used to authenticate and authorize the sending of emails through the Amazon Simple Email Service (SES). This helps ensure that only authorized users can send emails from your application or service.
  • Protect sensitive information: The AWS SES Key is used to encrypt and secure sensitive information, such as email content and recipient lists, to prevent unauthorized access or interception of emails.
  • Monitor and track email delivery: The AWS SES Key allows developers to monitor and track the delivery of emails sent through the SES service. This helps in analyzing email performance, identifying issues, and improving email delivery rates.

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

Using environment variables for storing sensitive information like AWS SES Key in your code can be a secure practice for the following reasons:

  • Environment variables are not hard-coded in the codebase, reducing the risk of accidental exposure through code repositories or logs.
  • Environment variables are typically stored outside of the codebase, making it harder for attackers to access them directly.
  • Environment variables can be managed securely on the server or deployment platform, allowing for easier rotation and access control.
  • Properly configured environment variables can help in separating sensitive information from the code logic, enhancing the overall security posture of the application.

How to secure your secrets using environment variables

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

Using AWS Secrets Manager to manage AWS SES 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 SES Key from AWS Secrets Manager.

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

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

Using CyberArk Conjur to manage AWS SES 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 SES Key from CyberArk Conjur.

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How to generate a AWS SES Key?

To generate an AWS SES key, you can follow these steps:

  1. Sign in to the AWS Management Console.
  2. Go to the SES console.
  3. Click on "Email Addresses" in the navigation pane.
  4. Click on "Verify a New Email Address" to verify your email address if you haven't already.
  5. Once your email address is verified, click on "SMTP Settings" in the navigation pane.
  6. Under "Create My SMTP Credentials," click on "Create SMTP Credentials."
  7. Follow the on-screen instructions to create your SMTP credentials.

After following these steps, you will have successfully generated your AWS SES key. For more detailed information, you can refer to the AWS SES documentation on generating SMTP credentials.

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My AWS SES Key leaked, what are the possible reasons?

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

  • Improper storage: If the key is stored in a plaintext file or hard-coded in the source code, it can be easily accessed by unauthorized users.
  • Weak access controls: If the key is shared with individuals who do not need access to it or if it is not properly protected with strong access controls, it can be leaked.
  • Phishing attacks: If developers fall victim to phishing attacks and unknowingly provide their AWS SES key to malicious actors, it can lead to a leak.
  • Third-party services: If the key is used in third-party services that are not secure or if those services are compromised, the key can be exposed.

What are the risks of leaking a AWS SES Key

When it comes to AWS SES keys, it is crucial for developers to understand the risks associated with leaking such sensitive information. Here are some specific risks that developers should be aware of:

  • Email Spoofing: If an attacker gains access to your AWS SES key, they can send emails that appear to be from your domain, leading to phishing attacks and other malicious activities.
  • Unauthorized Email Sending: With the AWS SES key, an attacker can send a large volume of emails from your account, leading to potential blacklisting and reputation damage.
  • Data Breach: If the AWS SES key is leaked, it could lead to unauthorized access to sensitive data stored in your emails, compromising the confidentiality of your communications.
  • Financial Loss: Unauthorized use of your AWS SES key could result in significant charges for sending emails, leading to unexpected financial costs.

It is essential for developers to implement strong security practices to protect AWS SES keys and other sensitive information to prevent these risks from occurring.

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AWS SES Key security best practices

  • Avoid embedding the secret directly in your code. Instead, use environment variables or secrets managers
  • Secure storage: store the AWS SES 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 SES Key usage and improve the overall security of your AWS SES Key implementations.

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

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AWS SES 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 SES Key was used by malicious actors

  • Review Access Logs: Check the access logs of your AWS SES 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 SES Key. This can give insights into any unauthorized use of your key.

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Steps to revoke the AWS SES Key

Generate a new AWS SES Key:

  • Log into your AWS SES 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 SES 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 SES 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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