(more) securely storing my AWS credentials

This is an update to my previous post, AWS/Boto Credentials and my prompt.

In that post I started storing my AWS credentials in my .bash_profile. It’s worked great for a while, but there’s been one thing that’s bothered me about it: my credentials were stored in plain text in my .bash_profile. Not awesome.

So I set out to fix it. The first step was to remove all the aws credential functions and instead move them to their own file. I named it .bash_aws_profiles. I then encrypted it with openssl using the aes-256 cipher with the following command:

openssl aes-256-cbc -a -salt -in .bash_aws_profiles -out .bash_aws_profiles.enc

It will ask for a password - pick a secure one, and don’t share it.

Next you need a way to get those functions back into your shell. I tried to do this by having source or eval read in the output from openssl unencrypting the file, but neither of them worked for me for various reasons. In the end I had to use a temporary file, which I’m not super excited about, but it only exists for a very short period of time, which is better than what we had before.

As my buddy Tim would say: “Don’t let best be the enemy of good!”

So I added these functions to my .bash_profile:

function load_aws () {
    TEMPFILE=`mktemp $HOME/.bash_aws_profiles.XXXXXXXXXXX`
    [ ! -f $AWSKEYFILE ] && echo "Error: Amazon key file ($AWSKEYFILE) not found." && return
    openssl aes-256-cbc -d -a -in $AWSKEYFILE -out $TEMPFILE
    source $TEMPFILE
    rm $TEMPFILE
    echo "! AWS keys loaded."

function unload_aws () {
    KEYFUNCS=`set | awk '/aws_[^ ]+ \(\)/ {print $1}'`
    for k in $KEYFUNCS
        echo "! Unloading $k"
        unset $k

Now whenever I want to use my AWS credentials I first have to type load_aws. It asks me for my password, then loads them into the environment. When I’m finished I can run unload_aws to delete them.

I’d really like it if there was a sort of boto-agent that would store the keys instead of the shell, and then expire them after a given amount of time. I’ll work on that someday.

Let me know if you have any questions, or any ideas for improvements. Thanks!