DEF CON Cloud Village 2021: Cloud Security Orienteering

Aug 08, 21

On August 8th, 2021, I gave a 40-minute talk at DEF CON Cloud Village. The details are recorded here for posterity.


Most of us are not lucky enough to have architected the perfect cloud environment, according to this month’s best practices, and without any legacy elements or “surprise assets. Over the course of a career in cloud security, you’ll likely find yourself walking into a new environment and needing to rapidly orient yourself to both mitigate the biggest risks and also develop a roadmap towards a sustainable, secure future. As a security consultant, I had the challenge and opportunity to enter blind into a variety of cloud environments. They were across Azure, GCP, and AWS, some well-architected and others organically sprawling, containing a single account/project and hundreds. This gave me a rapid education in how to find the information necessary to familiarize myself with the environment, dig in to identify the risks that matter, and put together remediation plans that address short, medium, and long term goals. This talk will present a cloud and environment agnostic methodology for getting your bearings if tasked with securing a novel cloud environment. We’ll learn by applying this to a sample AWS environment in order to cover:

  • An archeological guide for where and how to find organizational context
  • How to quickly find and kill the most common attack vectors at the perimeter (both network and identity)
  • Common architectural and deployment patterns, how to spot them, and their security implications
  • What you need to know, what you need to prioritize, and what “best practices aren’t worth the squeeze when you’re in a crunch.


The slide deck is available on SpeakerDeck.

A recording of will be available on Youtube.