AWS adds default encryption to leaky S3 buckets

Amazon addresses spate of data breaches affecting S3 customers

Leaky bucket

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has finally addressed multiple data breaches resulting from unencrypted S3 buckets, adding basic protections to its cloud storage service.

The AA, Accenture, Verizon, Dow Jones and even the WWE are among a spate of companies that have suffered data leaks because they haven't secured their S3 storage, which AWS didn't encrypt by default.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Yet when Cloud Pro asked AWS what steps customers could take to mitigate the threat last week, it offered no comment.

The cloud giant's blog post this week did, however, with chief evangelist Jeff Barr outlining some new features customers can use to secure S3 buckets that are available now free of charge.

Amazon cloud customers can finally choose to encrypt their buckets by default, mandating that any objects entering a bucket must be stored in encrypted form, instead of having to adopt AWS's former policy that meant the bucket simply rejects unencrypted objects.

"While this helps them to meet their requirements, simply rejecting the storage of unencrypted objects is an imperfect solution," admitted Barr.

Instead, "if an unencrypted object is presented to S3 and the configuration indicates that encryption must be used, the object will be encrypted using [the] encryption option specified for the bucket," he explained.

Advertisement - Article continues below

There are three server-side encryption options available; SSE-S3, where the bucket manages the encryption keys; SSE-KMS, where AWS's Key Management Service looks after them; and SSE-C, where the user holds the keys.

Advertisement - Article continues below

AWS appears to have made it simple to enable encryption, too, with users wishing to create a new bucket on the S3 console just having to type the bucket's name, then hit 'Next', before selecting 'Default encryption' and choosing what kind they require.

The ribbed back of the Toshiba Tablet

Customers can secure existing buckets via a call to the PUT Bucket Encryption function, via an SSL connection and signing it off using AWS Signature Version 4.

Those who copy some mission-critical objects across to buckets in separate AWS accounts can toggle the destination buckets' encryption policies too, to ensure the data remains encrypted.

Bright orange icons reading 'Public' also denote any buckets that aren't encrypted in the S3 Console.

AWS has also included a warning sign when users click on a public-facing bucket's permissions to say "we highly recommend that you never grant any kind of public access to your S3 bucket".

The Toshiba Tablet

While the changes are now live and available today, AWS will charge customers as normal for any data transfers and calls to the Key Management Service and S3.

Main image credit: Bigstock

Body copy images credit: AWS

Featured Resources

The case for a marketing content hub

Transform your digital marketing to deliver customer expectations

Download now

Fast, flexible and compliant e-signatures for global businesses

Be at the forefront of digital transformation with electronic signatures

Download now

Why CEOS should care about the move to SAP S/4HANA

And how they can accelerate business value

Download now

IT faces new security challenges in the wake of COVID-19

Beat the crisis by learning how to secure your network

Download now


mobile security

Parachute's Superlock feature keeps your phone recording in an emergency

2 Jun 2020

K2View innovates in data management with new encryption patent

28 May 2020
video conferencing

Zoom 5.0 adds 256-bit encryption to address security concerns

23 Apr 2020

WhatsApp flaw leaves users open to 'shoulder surfing' attacks

21 Apr 2020

Most Popular


Apple confirms serious bugs in iOS 13.5

4 Jun 2020

The UK looks to Japan and South Korea for 5G equipment

4 Jun 2020

Tycoon ransomware discovered using Java image files to target software firms

5 Jun 2020