IAM user can execute a Privilege Escalation by using AssumeRole

Security & Compliance
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IAM User can execute a privilege escalation by using the AssumeRole function to obtain permissions and access to resources that they don't have directly assigned. This allows them to elevate their privileges and access sensitive data or perform actions that they are not authorized to do. If an IAM user gains access to an AssumeRole permission, they can potentially elevate their privileges and gain access to resources that they would not have had access to otherwise. A common attack scenario involves an IAM user with lower-level permissions gaining access to AssumeRole permission and then assuming a role with higher privileges, which can be used to access sensitive resources or data. Therefore, it is important to monitor and prevent unauthorized access to AssumeRole permission.‍


Here are the remediation steps for this issue:

  1. Review the IAM policy attached to the user or group that allows them to assume roles. Make sure that the policy only allows them to assume roles that are necessary for their job function.
  2. Limit the number of roles that can be assumed by a user. You can set this limit in the IAM policy or by using AWS Organizations Service Control Policies (SCPs).
  3. Enable AWS CloudTrail for logging and monitoring all API activity related to AssumeRole. You can also set up an AWS CloudWatch alarm to notify you of any unauthorized attempts to assume roles.
  4. Use AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) Access Analyzer to review the access policy of the role and ensure it is configured to allow only authorized actions.
  5. Implement Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) for users who have the ability to assume roles with elevated privileges.
  6. Periodically review the IAM policies, roles, and users to ensure that they are still necessary and that permissions are granted on a least-privilege basis.

By following these steps, you can help prevent unauthorized privilege escalation and ensure that users are only able to perform actions that are necessary for their job function.

Enforced Resources
Note: Remediation steps provided by Lightlytics are meant to be suggestions and guidelines only. It is crucial to thoroughly verify and test any remediation steps before applying them to production environments. Each organization's infrastructure and security needs may differ, and blindly applying suggested remediation steps without proper testing could potentially cause unforeseen issues or vulnerabilities. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that you validate and customize any remediation steps to meet your organization's specific requirements and ensure that they align with your security policies and best practices.