Amazon Web Services (AWS) Penetration Testing Methodology

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RedTeam Security's AWS Penetration Testing Methodology

Are you migrating to AWS, building cloud applications in AWS, or just pen testing for compliance reasons? We know that AWS penetration testing can help find your security gaps to stop exposure and risk before it starts.

At RedTeam Security, our AWS penetration testing methodology, along with our expert pen testers, can make sure your sensitive data is not exposed.

We developed our process and methodology to safeguard our clients.

Information Gathering

Our information gathering process remains the same whether we test your network or your web application in AWS. We will work with you to understand the goals and the scope of the test. Then we will gather the needed information to access your systems; whether that is web app or IAM credentials or setting up access to an internal network Then we will conduct automated and manual reconnaissance to understand the environment.

Uncovering Security Issues Through Threat Modeling

Threat modeling is a multi-step process. Initial threat modeling will be done through discussions with the client to identify their most important assets to protect. For some companies, this could be financial data, for others, Intellectual Property. A nonprofit organization, in contrast, may see the most critical asset as something as fundamental as donor trust. RedTeam Security looks out for ways these “crown jewels” could be compromised and other assets that might get overlooked but are vital to the business.

Then, as additional information is collected, the threat model is continually refined. Security testing can then transition to identifying vulnerabilities affecting i internal-facing systems and those “crown jewels.” This begins with automated scans and is followed by using manual testing techniques to dig deeper, uncover, and validate potential vulnerabilities. During the threat-modeling step, assets are identified and categorized into threat categories.

Because there are more role-based access capabilities in the AWS environment than in a typical Active Directory environment, misconfigured roles and policies for users, groups, and services can become a significant liability. Our knowledgeable testers understand the risks of overly permissive or misconfigured policies and recommend best practices to maintain a secure identity and access management services. This includes checks to ensure that your organization’s IAM policies follow principles of least privilege.

Vulnerability Assessment

The vulnerability analysis step involves documentation and risk analysis of vulnerabilities discovered during the previous stages. This includes analyzing results from the output of various automated and manual security testing techniques.

Categories of vulnerabilities found on-premises and in the cloud infrastructure can be similar. As part of our testing process, we attempt to connect seemingly low-risk vulnerabilities into a more dangerous attack chain to provide better leverage within both the cloud and on-premises networks. Depending on the systems in AWS, some vulnerabilities that may be considered lower risk in on-premises network could be viewed as a high or critical impact. Our team knows how to classify risks appropriately while considering the unique differences between AWS and on-premises environments.

Active Exploitation Pen Testing

Unlike a vulnerability assessment, a pen test dives deeper by seeking to validate and identify vulnerabilities through active exploitation, employing a real-world threat actor’s mindset. Exploitation involves establishing access to a system through the bypassing/exploiting of security controls to determine their real-world risk. During a RedTeam Security penetration test, this phase consists of concerted manual testing efforts that are often quite time intensive.

Within the AWS account, RedTeam Security will evaluate S3 bucket configurations. Since access to S3 buckets can be controlled in many ways, RedTeam Security will carefully review both IAM and S3 bucket policies. When reviewing S3 buckets, we’ll check for listable, world-readable, and world-writable buckets to prevent unintended disclosure of sensitive information.

We will also examine EC2 instances, APIs, and Lambda functions during web application penetration tests, looking for opportunities to exploit vulnerabilities throughout the full stack of offerings in the AWS ecosystem.

AWS Penetration Test Reporting

At RedTeam Security, we consider the reporting phase to be the most important. We take great care to ensure we’ve thoroughly communicated the total value of our AWS penetration testing service and findings to our clients.

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