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HOW TO MAKE SECURE REQUESTS TO AWS (AMAZON WEB SERVICES)?

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The communication across the Internet is susceptible to malicious tampering and eavesdropping. AWS suggests you take proper action in order to protect the API requests that you send. AWS is defined as a secure cloud services platform that provides content delivery, database storage; compute power and various other functionalities to enable the organizations’ growth. AWS has millions of customers worldwide. Due to this amount of craze, IT professionals and job seekers are obtaining AWS training and making their careers in this field due to the job trends and salary structures of current AWS professionals.

Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Image: Berytech

Making secure requests to AWS (Amazon Web Services) incorporates the following topics

  • SSL: The Best Protection

  • Securing the HTTP Requests

  • Communicating with AWS about the issues related to Security

SSL: The Best Protection

The best possible thing you can do to provide security to your requests is to utilize Secure Sockets Layer (SSL e.g., HTTPS). Secure Sockets Layer is defined as a protocol for securing the communication on the Internet. AWS utilizes a normal implementation that delivers both integrity and confidentiality (through encryption and server authentication). This states that:

  • As the client, you can be sure that you are talking to Amazon Web Services (AWS)

  • The communication between AWS and you is encrypted so that it cannot be intercepted by others

  • You have a verification that the message sent is same as the message received

Though the security of your communication is enhanced by SSL, the extra negotiation time needed for the handshake between SSL client/server can enhance latency. You need to utilize a programming library/language that aids SSL in order to use SSL. For the top-level security, HTTPS is recommended for both REST/Query and SOAP requests. Utilizing SOAP over HTTPS is needed, so you must ensure the SOAP toolkit or client you are utilizing is configured in order to use SSL. Most of the AWS services including Amazon SimpleDB, Amazon Mechanical Turk etc. accept the HTTPS requests. AWS libraries like Amazon EC2, Amazon SQS etc aid the use of HTTPS with your requests by default.

Securing the HTTP Requests

For your authenticated requests to AWS, use of SSL is recommended. If you don’t want to utilize SSL, you will then be having various other options for the purpose of securing your requests based on the AWS service. They are described below:

Signature Version 2

If you are utilizing one of the services stated below, you should utilize signature version 2 for your Query/REST requests:

  • Amazon Simple Queue Service

  • Amazon SimpleDB

  • Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud

The version alludes to the specific algorithm for the purpose of signing the request. If you are quite familiar with signature version 1, the ones stated below are the major differences between signature version 1 and 2:

  • You create the string to sign in a distinct way

  • When you sign the request, you can utilize HMAC-SHA256

  • The Signature Version request parameter must be set to 2

The below stated one is the difference that we observe about creating the string in order to sign for signature version 2:

You incorporate extra components of the request inside the string to sign

You incorporate the query string control parameters (ampersands and equals signs) inside the string to sign

You categorize the query string parameters utilizing byte ordering

Replay Attacks

Replay Attacks are described as an attack vector whereby a request gets repeated fraudulently by a malicious user that has been made already or/and delays the delivery of original request. The best possible defensive mechanism against a replay attack is to make sure that you use SSL connection only for making all your requests.

Utilizing HTTP with AWS Libraries

The AWS libraries, which I discussed earlier, also support the signature version 2. By default, AWS libraries utilize HTTPS but you to utilize HTTP for avoiding the appended latency of HTTPS or for the testing purposes can configure them.

Communicating with AWS about the issues related to Security

For any general technical questions pertaining to the request security, you can utilize the support channels of AWS like signing up for the AWS Premium Support or utilizing the Discussion Forums. You can contact the Contact Us page of AWS for all other questions.

Get AWS training and kick start your career as there are many opportunities in IT sector.

About the author

Manmohan Yadav

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