AWS Access Keys v/s IAM Roles

AWS Access Keys v/s IAM Roles

AWS Access Keys v/s IAM Roles. AWS Access Key lets you access various AWS services using the command line on your DEV machine. But it comes with a lot of risks. Let's look at what harm it can cause and what are the alternatives like IAM Roles.

AWS Access Key lets you access various AWS services using the command line on your DEV machine. But it comes with a lot of risks. Let's look at what harm it can cause and what are the alternatives like IAM Roles.

How I got hacked

I was a power user of AWS access keys. I use to love the command-line interface of AWS Client. All the EC2 instances, I was running had the keys. Keys were in the code of a few of the services we were running.

I had to travel and I used various public WiFi access points. Not sure how the hackers got my keys from my machine, but they got it. While I was away from work, they created large EC2 instances in our account and started running their code. They were smart, they used to run the instances in the regions we were not using.

When we came to know, we decided to move away from the access keys and start using IAM Roles. It took us quite some time to create IAM roles, provision our code, and change the deployment scripts. We kept twerking these roles for the coming 2–3 weeks.

aws-iam-role cloud aws-lambda aws-access-keys aws

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