UPDATE 2019-01-15: I have released a much-improved v2.0 of the awscli-mfa.sh script. Its location has also changed; it can now be found at https://github.com/vwal/awscli-mfa
An updated blog entry is forthcoming; the article below discusses version 1.0 which was completely rewritten in this new iteration.
As I alluded in the previous post, I have released another AWS script that works in conjunction with the AWS CLI Key Rotation script. This one is for easily activating an MFA session while on the command line. It also makes it easy to switch between the different configured AWS profiles.
While MFA is perhaps more frequently used with the web console sessions, in some ways the API keys are even more of a security risk. Whereas people usually memorize the console password, or keep it in a password manager, the API keys sit in plaintext in
~/.aws/credentials file. All it takes is a malware that dumps the content of that known file location to a hacker, or perhaps a stolen laptop, or a stolen unencrypted flash drive (that you used to transfer the API keys to your new laptop, say), and a third party will have access to as much of your AWS assets as the IAM policy associated with the key allows. Admin keys? Full access! For this reason, I advocate the use of MFA especially for the keys with wide access, and that are intended for interactive use. Of course roles should be used as much as possible, and as much as possible should be automated, but still, in most environments people use the API keys for various command line tasks and to run utility scripts from the admins’ laptops.
Enter awscli-mfa.sh! This script makes it easy to select a profile that has MFA configured, to initialize an MFA session, and to make the MFA session default for the current console session (via an environment variable). The script is obviously interactive since it’ll prompt for an MFA one-time passcode. When you run it, it’ll query the AWS profiles configured in
~/.aws/credentials, and list them out, along with the actual IAM username associated with each profile (since the profile names are arbitrary, and as such can be set to anything). The script will also indicate whether a virtual MFA has been configured for the profile. You can select to activate a profile that doesn’t have MFA configured, but obviously then an MFA code is not prompted for, and MFA is not used. When the chosen profile does have MFA configured, the script will prompt for the one-time passcode (e.g. from Authy or Google Authenticator), initialize the session, and output the environment export variable for easy cut-and-paste to the console (when ran on a Mac, or in a Linux GUI that has
xclip installed, the export string is automatically copied on the clipboard). Paste on the command line, hit Enter, and the MFA profile is active!
Once an MFA session has been activated and you run the script again, you’ll see the newly initialized MFA profile under its base profile. You can switch away from it to another profile, and then back again. The MFA profile is indicated either in “OK” or “LIMITED” status. The latter may suggest that the IAM policy session duration has been set to a shorter period than what was configured in this script (you can adjust the token lifetime duration in the script on line 16. It should be set to match the session duration set in the MFA enforcement policy (if the policy duration times out first, the key appears still valid, but it’s no longer authorized for any transaction on the AWS). Note that if the IAM policy for the profile is limited so that it isn’t allowed to query
aws iam get-user for itself, you’ll see the “LIMITED” status even when the MFA session is valid. Once the session token expires, the MFA profile disappears from the session list (even though you can see it still if you
cat ~/.aws/credentials file.
A good write-up and an example MFA enforcement policy can be found here. I used their policy with a slight modification: I set the maximum MFA session duration to six hours by altering the Condition for the last two Sids in the policy, like so:
As I mentioned in the previous post (“AWS CLI Key Rotation Script for IAM Users revisited“), you can use an MFA session initialized with this script to rotate the keys of the MFA session’s base profile that doesn’t have permissions for anything without an active associated MFA session. As long as you have an MFA session initialized for the profile whose keys you want to rotate, the key rotation script will detect the presence of the MFA session, and ask if you would like to use it to execute the key rotation for the base profile. The MFA sessions are not visible in the key rotation session list because their keys are transient, only valid for the length of an MFA session.
The script was written for macOS, but portability for Ubuntu (and so, probably most/all Linux distros) was added.
The awscli-mfa.sh script is available from its GitHub repository.
As always, comments or improvement suggestions are welcome (either as comments to this post, or as PRs to the repository)!
UPDATE 2018-02-19: I’ve updated the script, fixed some minor bugs for some edge cases, cleaned up its formatting, clarified the output, and added a companion script (source-to-clear-AWS-envvars.sh) that can be used to clear any AWS secrets/variables that may be set in the environment through the use of the awscli-mfa.sh script.