Researchers Launch Open Source Tool To Protect Amazon S3 Buckets

Kromtech Security Center released an open-source tool that can be used to detect unencrypted Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) buckets within organizations.
In recent months, reports of unsecured Amazon S3 buckets that exposed sensitive data to the public Internet are alarmingly common. The Republican National Committee, Verizon and Dow Jones & Company, Viacom, the Chicago Election Board, the military contractor TigerSwan, Viacom, and Accenture, all have been found to have misconfigured Amazon S3 buckets to allow public accessibility. This exposes personal data of hundreds, millions of people, as well as information about their IT infrastructures.
This problem has become so widespread that Amazon Web Services (AWS), a company that provides Amazon S3 services, issued a clear reminder to its users to make sure their Amazon S3 buckets were properly configured. Misconfigurations in Amazon S3 are almost always due to human error. Access to Amazon S3 buckets is set to private by default.
However, there are signs that Amazon S3 security issues are on the rise and are often not detected by organizations that use the service to store or manage their data in the cloud.
Kromtech researchers have created the Kromtech S3 inspector to help stem the tide of Amazon S3-related data breaches. The Kromtech S3 inspector is available at GitHub here. It scans AWS environments to find Amazon S3 buckets that have been configured for public access.
[Click on the image to see a larger view.] The Kromtech S3 Inspector scans a company’s AWS environment, and alerts users when it detects an unsecured Amazon S3 account. Kromtech: “The tool provides users with a report that can be used to block any unwanted public access to S3 buckets and the valuable information they contain,” Kromtech researchers wrote last week in a blog post announcing the tool’s launch.
The company plans to update the tool with additional security and scanning features.
Researchers claimed that the tool was developed after spending years researching “thousands” of S3 services that were not available to the public. Kromtech has published a detailed guide for organizations on how to secure Amazon S3 buckets.
Researchers stated that despite numerous warnings and a never-ending cycle of data breaches, it seemed that those who store sensitive data online weren’t getting the message or were unaware of the dangers.
Kromtech stated that it hopes that the combination of an easy to use tool and its ongoing effort to raise awareness about Amazon S3 data exposures will encourage more organizations take stock of their AWS environments to identify security weaknesses.