iSEC Research Labs

Introducing opinel: Scout2's favorite tool

03 Aug 2015 - Loïc Simon

With boto3 being stable and generally available1, NCC took the opportunity to migrate Scout2 and AWS-recipes to boto3. As part of that migration effort, we decided to publish the formerly-known-as AWSUtils repository – used by Scout2 and AWS-recipes – as a python package required by these tools, rather than requiring users to work with Git submodules. We’ve also added more flexibility when working with MFA-protected API calls and improved versioning across the project.


To avoid name conflicts, we decided to rename the shared AWSUtils code to a less misleading name: opinel. The opinel package is published on PyPI, and thus can be installed using pip and easy_install. The corresponding source code is still open-sourced on Github at As a result, Scout2 and AWS-recipes have been modified to list opinel as a requirement, which significantly simplifies installation and management of this shared code.

Support for Python 2.7 and 3.x

Because boto3 supports both Python2 and Python3, we decided to make sure that the code we build on top of that package has similar properties. As a result, the latest versions of Scout2 and AWS-recipes support Python 2.7 and 3.x. Note that opinel will NOT work with Python 2.6.

Modification of the MFA workflow

As requested by a user of AWS-recipes2, we modified the workflow when using MFA-protected API access to no longer store the long-lived credentials in a separate file. As a result, the .aws/ file is no longer supported and all credentials are stored in the standard AWS credentials file under .aws/credentials. Usage of the existing tools remains unchanged, but the long-lived credentials are now accessible via a new profile name: profile_name-nomfa. This allows users to work with both STS and long-lived credentials if need be.

If you already had configured your environment to work with MFA-protected API access, you will need to copy your long-lived credentials back to the .aws/credentials file. This can be done with a simple command such as the following:

cat ~/.aws/ | sed -e 's/]$/-nomfa]/g' >> ~/.aws/credentials

Support to use assumed-role credentials

With this new workflow implemented, we created a new recipe that allows configuration of role-credentials in the .aws/credentials file. When the following command is run, it uses the credentials associated with the isecpartners profile to request role credentials for the IAM-Scout2 role. The role credentials are then written in the .aws/credentials file in a new profile named isecpartners-Scout2, which is the profile name appended by the role session name.

$ ./ --profile isecpartners --role-arn arn:aws:iam::AWS_ACCOUNT_ID:role/IAM-Scout2 --role-session-name Scout2

Users can then use their favorite tools that support profiles. For example, Scout2 could be run with the following command line:

$ ./ --profile isecpartners-Scout2

Note that this recipe supports MFA if the assumed role requires it:

  • If you never configured your environment to work with MFA, you can provide your MFA serial number (ARN) and current token code as arguments.
  • If you already configured your environment to work with MFA and stored your MFA serial in the .aws/credentials file, you just need to pass your token code as an additional argument.
  • Finally, if you already initiated an STS session, you do not need to provide a new token code and can run the command as above.


With the release of opinel, we hope to simplify distribution and management of the code shared between Scout2 and AWS-recipes. Additionally, we significantly modified the workflow and credentials storage when working with MFA-protected API calls, which allows users to use both their long-lived and STS credentials.