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Amazon Simple Storage Service
Console User Guide

Identifying Public Buckets Using Bucket Permissions Check

Bucket permissions check in the Amazon S3 console checks bucket policies and bucket access control lists (ACLs) to identify publicly accessible buckets. Publicly accessible is defined as accessible by either everyone in the world or by any authenticated AWS user.

Access is defined as the ability to either read or write objects to the buckets, edit bucket permissions, or perform other Amazon S3 operations. Reading a bucket means listing the objects that are stored in the bucket, and writing means being able to upload/PUT objects into the bucket.

There are two ways that S3 buckets can be made publicly accessible: through bucket policies and ACLs. For more information about bucket policies, ACLs, and permissions, see Managing Access Permissions to Your Amazon S3 Resources in the Amazon Simple Storage Service Developer Guide.

Bucket permissions check does not check object ACLs, which can allow everyone in the world or any authenticated AWS user to access the object and its permissions. An object can also be publicly accessible through the object's ACLs. When an object is publicly accessible through the READ ACL, it allows access to the contents of the object. With READ_ACP and WRITE_ACP ACLs, grantees can also read and modify the object ACLs respectively.

Bucket permissions check makes it easier to identify S3 buckets that provide public read and write access. You can also view whether the source for the public access is a bucket policy, a bucket ACL, or both. If you change a bucket policy or a bucket ACL, the Amazon S3 console analyzes them in real time and alerts you if those changes enable public read and write access on the bucket.

Listing Public Buckets

The List buckets view now shows whether your bucket is publicly accessible. Amazon S3 labels the permissions for a bucket as follows:

  • Public – Publicly accessible by either everyone in the world or by any authenticated AWS user.

  • Not public* – The bucket is not publicly accessible. However, objects in the bucket might be publicly accessible due to object ACLs.

  • Access denied – Locked out of the bucket.

  • Error – A service-related error occurred.

  • Undetermined– Amazon S3 cannot determine whether the bucket is publicly accessible.

To get a list of the public buckets with public read and write access, choose the orange Public button next to the number of buckets.


        List buckets view with Public button highlighted at the top.

You can also get a list with more specific access information. In the Search for buckets bar drop-down list, choose Buckets with any public access (read/write), Buckets with public read access, or Buckets with public write access.


        List buckets view with search bar and three options to choose from.

If you choose either the orange Public button or Buckets with any public access (read/write), you see a list of the public buckets with information about Read and Write access permissions.

To change this list to show only Read or only Write access permissions, choose the X on the Public:Read or Public:Write buttons that are located above the list. If you choose the X on both, you return to the List all buckets page.

The Source column shows whether the bucket is marked as public because of an ACL or a Bucket policy, or both. ACL and Bucket policy are links—choose the link to view the permissions page, which shows why the bucket is marked public. You can then change the permission if needed. For more information on changing ACL and bucket policy permission, see How Do I Set ACL Bucket Permissions? and How Do I Add an S3 Bucket Policy?.


        Bucket list showing Public:write and Public: read options, and the ACL and bucket
          policy links.

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