Using Dynamic References to AWS Systems Manager Parameter Store Secure Strings with Elastic Beanstalk

Dynamic references in CloudFormation to secure strings are very handy, providing a simple way to keep secrets (such as passwords) secure. However, SSM Secure String Parameters are only supported in a limited set of places and Elastic Beanstalk environment variables are not one of them (feature request for adding support). Therefore, if you want to … Continue reading Using Dynamic References to AWS Systems Manager Parameter Store Secure Strings with Elastic Beanstalk

Improve Security and Reduce Costs with AWS SSM Session Manager

AWS recently enhanced its Systems Manager offering with shell access to EC2 instances and then they enhanced it further with SSH tunnel support. With these improvements, it’s now possible to improve your application’s security posture while reducing it’s operational costs and simplifying setup/maintenance. Systems Manager vs Bastion Hosts Minimizing the attack surface, simplifying as much … Continue reading Improve Security and Reduce Costs with AWS SSM Session Manager

Improve Security with Mount Options

“Defense in Depth” is a key concept of information security; if an attacker can get through one security control, there should be others waiting to thwart him. Mount options are an oftentimes overlooked way to implement defense in depth which are easy to implement, simple to understand, and widely applicable to many situations. The directory … Continue reading Improve Security with Mount Options

Trusting AWS RDS Certificates in Docker and Beanstalk

To connect to AWS RDS databases using TLS/SSL, the client must trust the certificate provided by RDS; RDS doesn’t use certificates trusted by the CAs (Certificate Authorities) included by operating systems. Without TLS/SSL, the connection to the database isn’t secure, meaning an attacker on the network between the client (running in EC2) and the database … Continue reading Trusting AWS RDS Certificates in Docker and Beanstalk

Performance Testing WebDAV Clients

Part of migrating applications from on-premises hosting to cloud hosting (AWS, Azure, etc) involves re-evaluating how users access their data. A recent migration involved users running Windows 10 accessing a Windows file share using the SMB protocol. Since SMB isn’t safe to run directly over the Internet (it’s usually not encrypted and it has a … Continue reading Performance Testing WebDAV Clients

Trusting DoD Certificates in Docker and Beanstalk

The US DoD (Department of Defense) uses its own root certificate when signing https certificates for its domains. For example, https://www.my.af.mil/ uses such a certificate. These root certificates are not trusted by any (commercial/public) operating system, browser, or other client. Therefore, in order to access these sites and not get an error, the DoD certificates … Continue reading Trusting DoD Certificates in Docker and Beanstalk

One instance at a time with PID file in Bash

Often times, I only want a script to run one instance at a time. For example, if the the script is copying files, or rsync’ing between systems, it can be disastrous to have two instances running concurrently, and this situation is definitely possible if you run the script from cron. I figured out a simple … Continue reading One instance at a time with PID file in Bash