This is Day 1 of Butter Days, from Darwin’s Ltd. on Mass Ave. in Cambridge, MA.

First of all if you haven’t read “You Can Negotiate a 3-Day Weekend”, I’d highly recommend it. That blog is also just great in general.

For the first time, I’ve worked out an agreement where I’m working 4/5 of full time at my current job. This means that in theory I can spend Fridays working on my own projects, at least when there’s not something urgent going on.

I’m going to try to write about what I end up doing each week, because I realized I’m going to be writing it down anyway to keep my thoughts straight. Might as well turn it into a post while I’m at it.

IAM and Open Policy Agent

I recently learned about Open Policy Agent, which is a tool that takes a set of policies, a set of examples, and tells you whether your examples violate any of your policies. It seems pretty straighforward and self contained.

I’ve also spend a lot of time dealing with AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM), and it’s not always clear that all my policies are configured correctly.

So the idea is, why not make something that exports from IAM and feeds that into Open Policy Agent. Then you could write high level policy definitions that alert you if something is misconfigured.

To give some examples of questions I might want to know the answers to:

  • Are any of my s3 buckets publicly accessible?
  • Am I giving admin permissions to any of my ec2 instances?
  • Do too many people have full admin access?

How would you answer those now? I can’t think of an easy way, so this seems like it could be useful. If I do it right it could probably work on multiple clouds too.

Exporting IAM Information

I could export this information in any number of ways. I could use the AWS Command Line Tool an AWS specific library for whatever language I’m using, or some kind of cross cloud library.

Those would all technically work, but I’m going to try using the underlying REST API all those tools are based on. I’m hoping that by using the openapi definitions directly (which some awesome open source people put up on github) I can automatically generate the “schema” of the objects I’m exporting and applying the policies to. I also hope that if I get the machinery for generating a client based on those definitions right it will make it easier to support other cloud providers.

AWS API Authentication

Amazon has a product for creating REST APIs in front of things, so it’s difficult to search for this stuff (for example “openapi aws authentication” doesn’t return anything useful, just a bunch of results on that specific product).

Since there are already libraries in most languages that can dynamically generate a client based on an openapi specification, I think the difficulty in getting this working will be authentication.

To authenticate with AWS, you must calculate a signature and send that signature in a specific header. The OpenAPI specification includes an authentication section and there seems to be an X-Amz-Signature parameter in the OpenAPI definition, but I think the actual signature generation is specific to AWS and not something that will just work using standard OpenAPI clients.

Fortunately, someone has already made a “curl for AWS” tool called “awscurl” that generates the signature and properly sets it in your request. I tried it out and it works! So now we have some working code that uses the AWS rest API, which is a great situation.

Hooking It Together

What I ultimately want is a library that can read an OpenAPI specification and generate a client that I can use with AWS. It seems like such a thing should exist, but I couldn’t find anything.

To do this, I think I need two things:

  1. A library that can read OpenAPI specifications and return a client.
  2. Something to generate the right headers for this library.

I’m going to try using Rust for this, mostly because I want to learn Rust, but also because I’ve heard good things about it and I think it might be a good choice here.

The Rust AWS library is rusoto, and it looks like the rusoto_credential library that loads AWS credentials is in a separate package.

Rust has a library that can read and write OpenAPI specifications, and I might be able to use this OpenAPI code generator to generate the Rust client. I’m not sure yet if that library can only generate the server code though, so there might still be more work there.

I couldn’t find anything like pyswagger for Rust unfortunately. That library just reads the specification and returns a client object that works with the api defined by the spec, instead of requiring you to generate a bunch of code.

Rust has a rest client though, so if I end up doing this I might end up using that client. At the very least I can use it to test whether I’ve generated my signature correctly.

Next Time

That’s all I have time for today, but next time hopefully I can get a basic client working. This will probably involve:

  • Trying out the Rust rest client and connecting to a simple unauthenticated API to get a sense of how to use it.
  • Porting the parts of “awscurl” that generate the correct headers to Rust.
  • Trying the Rust rest client with the right headers to see if I can get even one request working.
  • Using the Rust openapi library to read the IAM OpenAPI Spec.
  • Trying the OpenAPI code generator to see if it can generate a Rust client.
  • Trying to make a Rust object that is dynamically generated based on the OpenAPI definition. I don’t know if this is possible in Rust, and this may not be a very Rust thing to do even if it is.