Move hardcoded secrets to AWS Secrets Manager - AWS Secrets Manager

Move hardcoded secrets to AWS Secrets Manager

If you have plaintext secrets in your code, we recommend that you rotate them and store them in Secrets Manager. Moving the secret to Secrets Manager solves the problem of the secret being visible to anyone who sees the code, because going forward, your code retrieves the secret directly from Secrets Manager. Rotating the secret revokes the current hardcoded secret so that it is no longer valid.

For database credential secrets, see Move hardcoded database credentials to AWS Secrets Manager.

Before you begin, you need to determine who needs access to the secret. We recommend using two IAM roles to manage permission to your secret:

  • A role that manages the secrets in your organization. For more information, see Secrets Manager administrator permissions. You'll create and rotate the secret using this role.

  • A role that can use the secret at runtime, for example in this tutorial you use RoleToRetrieveSecretAtRuntime. Your code assumes this role to retrieve the secret. In this tutorial, you grant the role only the permission to retrieve one secret value, and you grant permission by using the secret's resource policy. For other alternatives, see Next steps.

Step 1: Create the secret

The first step is to copy the existing hardcoded secret into Secrets Manager. If the secret is related to an AWS resource, store it in the same Region as the resource. Otherwise, store it in the Region that has lowest latency for your use case.

To create a secret (console)

  1. Open the Secrets Manager console at

  2. Choose Store a new secret.

  3. On the Choose secret type page, do the following:

    1. For Secret type, choose Other type of secret.

    2. Enter your secret as Key/value pairs or in Plaintext. Some examples:

      API key key/value pairs:

      ClientID : my_client_id

      ClientSecret : wJalrXUtnFEMI/K7MDENG/bPxRfiCYEXAMPLEKEY

      Credentials key/value pairs:

      Username : saanvis

      Password : EXAMPLE-PASSWORD

      OAuth token plaintext:


      Digital certificate plaintext:
      Private key plaintext:
    3. For Encryption key, choose aws/secretsmanager to use the AWS managed key for Secrets Manager. There is no cost for using this key. You can also use your own customer managed key, for example to access the secret from another AWS account.

    4. Choose Next.

  4. On the Choose secret type page, do the following:

    1. Enter a descriptive Secret name and Description.

    2. In Resource permissions, choose Edit permissions. Paste the following policy, which allows RoleToRetrieveSecretAtRuntime to retrieve the secret, and then choose Save.

      { "Version": "2012-10-17", "Statement": [ { "Effect": "Allow", "Principal": { "AWS": "arn:aws:iam::AccountId:role/RoleToRetrieveSecretAtRuntime" }, "Action": "secretsmanager:GetSecretValue", "Resource": "*" } ] }
    3. At the bottom of the page, choose Next.

  5. On the Configure rotation page, keep rotation off. Choose Next.

  6. On the Review page, review your secret details, and then choose Store.

Step 2: Update your code

Your code must assume the IAM role RoleToRetrieveSecretAtRuntime to be able to retrieve the secret. For more information, see Switching to an IAM role (AWS API).

Next, you update your code to retrieve the secret from Secrets Manager using the sample code provided by Secrets Manager.

To find the sample code

  1. Open the Secrets Manager console at

  2. On the Secrets page, choose your secret.

  3. Scroll down to Sample code. Choose your programming language, and then copy the code snippet.

In your application, remove the hardcoded secret and paste the code snippet. Depending on your code language, you might need to add a call to the function or method in the snippet.

Test that your application works as expected with the secret in place of the hardcoded secret.

Step 3: Update the secret

The last step is to revoke and update the hardcoded secret. Refer to the source of the secret to find instructions to revoke and update the secret. For example, you might need to deactivate the current secret and generate a new secret.

To update the secret with the new value

  1. Open the Secrets Manager console at

  2. Choose Secrets, and then choose the secret.

  3. On the Secret details page, scroll down and choose Retrieve secret value, and then choose Edit.

  4. Update the secret and then choose Save.

Next, test that your application works as expected with the new secret.

Next steps

After you remove a hardcoded secret from your code, some ideas to consider next: