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AWS CLI authenticator via ADFS - small command-line tool to authenticate via ADFS and assume chosen role

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The project provides command line tool - aws-adfs to ease AWS cli authentication against ADFS (multi factor authentication with active directory).

aws-adfs command line tool

  • allows you to re-login to STS without entering credentials for an extended period of time, without having to store the user's actual credentials. It also lets an organization control the period in which a user can re-login to STS without entering credentials, by altering the ADFS session lifetime.

  • supports automation tools like ansible by providing security token in AWS_SESSION_TOKEN/AWS_SECURITY_TOKEN environment variables.

  • supports using Security Support Provider Interface (SSPI) on Windows OS.

MFA integration

aws-adfs integrates with:


  • user local installation with pipx

    pipx install aws-adfs
  • user local installation with pip

    pip install aws-adfs

    Please note, that you need to add $HOME/.local/bin to your PATH

  • system wide installation

    sudo pip install aws-adfs
  • virtualenvs

    virtualenv aws-adfs
    source aws-adfs/bin/activate
    pip install aws-adfs
  • Windows 10

Examples of usage


  • login to your adfs host with disabled ssl verification on aws cli profile: adfs

    aws-adfs login --adfs-host=your-adfs-hostname --no-ssl-verification

    and verification

    aws --profile=adfs s3 ls
  • login to your adfs host with disabled ssl verification on specified aws cli profile: specified-profile

    aws-adfs login --profile=specified-profile --adfs-host=your-adfs-hostname --no-ssl-verification

    and verification

    aws --profile=specified-profile s3 ls
  • login to your adfs host and fetch roles for AWS GovCloud (US)

    aws-adfs login --adfs-host=your-adfs-hostname --provider-id urn:amazon:webservices:govcloud --region us-gov-west-1

    and verification

    aws s3 ls
  • login to your adfs host within ansible playbook

    - name: "Auth sts aws"
      command: "aws-adfs login --adfs-host --env --stdout --role-arn arn:aws:iam::000123456789:role/ADMIN"
      register: sts_result
        - username: "{{ ansible_user }}"
        - password: "{{ ansible_ssh_pass }}"
    - name: "Set sts facts"
        sts: "{{ sts_result.stdout | from_json }}"
    - name: "List s3 Buckets"
        aws_access_key: "{{ sts.AccessKeyId }}"
        aws_secret_key: "{{ sts.SecretAccessKey }}"
        security_token: "{{ sts.SessionToken }}"
        region: "us-east-1"
      register: buckets
    - name: "Print Buckets"
        var: buckets
  • login to your adfs host by passing username and password credentials via a file

    aws-adfs login --adfs-host=your-adfs-hostname --authfile=/path/and/file/name

    Auth file should be in format of

    username = your_username
    password = your_password
  • .aws/config profile for automatically refreshing credentials

    [profile example-role-ue1]
    credential_process=aws-adfs login --region=us-east-1 --role-arn=arn:aws:iam::1234567891234:role/example-role --stdout

    Warning: see AWS documentation about security considerations to take when sourcing credentials with an external process.

  • help, help, help?

    $ aws-adfs --help
    Usage: aws-adfs [OPTIONS] COMMAND [ARGS]...
      --version  Show current tool version
      --help  Show this message and exit.
      list   lists available profiles
      login  Authenticates an user with active directory...
      reset  removes stored profile
    $ aws-adfs list --help
    Usage: aws-adfs list [OPTIONS]
      lists available profiles
      --version  Show current tool version
      --help  Show this message and exit.
    $ aws-adfs login --help
    Usage: aws-adfs login [OPTIONS]
      Authenticates an user with active directory credentials
      --profile TEXT                  AWS cli profile that will be authenticated.
                                      After successful authentication just use:
                                      aws --profile <authenticated profile>
                                      <service> ...
      --region TEXT                   The default AWS region that this script will
                                      connect to for all API calls
      --ssl-verification / --no-ssl-verification
                                      SSL certificate verification: Whether or not
                                      strict certificate verification is done,
                                      False should only be used for dev/test
      --adfs-ca-bundle TEXT           Override CA bundle for SSL certificate
                                      verification for ADFS server only.
      --adfs-host TEXT                For the first time for a profile it has to
                                      be provided, next time for the same profile
                                      it will be loaded from the stored
      --output-format [json|text|table]
                                      Output format used by aws cli
      --provider-id TEXT              Provider ID, e.g urn:amazon:webservices
      --s3-signature-version [s3v4]   s3 signature version: Identifies the version
                                      of AWS Signature to support for
                                      authenticated requests. Valid values: s3v4
      --username-password-command TEXT
                                      Read username and password from the output
                                      of a shell command (expected JSON format:
                                      `{"username": "myusername", "password":
      --env                           Read username, password from environment
                                      variables (username and password).
      --stdin                         Read username, password from standard input
                                      separated by a newline.
      --authfile TEXT                 Read username, password from a local file
      --stdout                        Print aws_session_token in json on stdout.
      --printenv                      Output commands to set AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID,
                                      AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY, AWS_SESSION_TOKEN,
                                      AWS_DEFAULT_REGION environmental variables
                                      instead of saving them to the aws
                                      configuration file.
      --print-console-signin-url      Output a URL that lets users who sign in to
                                      your organization's network securely access
                                      the AWS Management Console.
      --console-role-arn TEXT         Role to assume for use in conjunction with
      --console-external-id TEXT      External ID to pass in assume role for use
                                      in conjunction with --print-console-signin-
      --role-arn TEXT                 Predefined role arn to selects, e.g. aws-
                                      adfs login --role-arn arn:aws:iam::123456789
      --session-duration INTEGER      Define the amount of seconds you want to
                                      establish your STS session, e.g. aws-adfs
                                      login --session-duration 3600
      --no-session-cache              Do not use AWS session cache in
                                      ~/.aws/adfs_cache/ directory.
      --assertfile TEXT               Use SAML assertion response from a local
      --sspi / --no-sspi              Whether or not to use Kerberos SSO
                                      authentication via SSPI (Windows only,
                                      defaults to True).
      --help                          Show this message and exit.
    $ aws-adfs reset --help                                                                                                                                              13:39
    Usage: aws-adfs reset [OPTIONS]
      removes stored profile
      --profile TEXT  AWS cli profile that will be removed
      --help          Show this message and exit.

Known issues

  • duo-security

    Error: Cannot begin authentication process. The error response: {"message": "Unknown authentication method.", "stat": "FAIL"}

    Please setup preferred auth method in duo-security settings (settings' -> 'My Settings & Devices').

  • USB FIDO2 does not work in Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL)

    OSError: [Errno 2] No such file or directory: '/sys/class/hidraw'

    USB devices are not accessible in WSL, please install and run aws-adfs on the Windows 10 host and then access the credentials in WSL from the filesystem. Example:

    export AWS_CONFIG_FILE=/mnt/c/Users/username/.aws/config
    export AWS_SHARED_CREDENTIALS_FILE=/mnt/c/Users/username/.aws/credentials
  • FIDO2 devices are not detected on Windows 10 build 1903 or newer

    Running aws-adfs as Administrator is required since Windows 10 build 1903 to access FIDO2 devices, cf.

  • in cases of trouble with lxml please install

    sudo apt-get install python-dev libxml2-dev libxslt1-dev zlib1g-dev
  • in cases of trouble with pykerberos please install

    sudo apt-get install python-dev libkrb5-dev
  • in cases of trouble with OSX Sierra (obsolete OpenSSL), upgrade OpenSSL. Example:

    brew upgrade openssl

    AND add explicit directive to .bash_profile:

    export PATH=$(brew --prefix openssl)/bin:$PATH
  • only python >= 3.6 to <4.0 are supported:

    • python 2.6 is not supported
    • python 2.7 is not supported
    • python 3.2 is not supported
    • python 3.3 is not supported
    • python 3.4 is not supported
    • python 3.5 is not supported


  • update dependencies:
poetry update
  • run unit tests:
poetry run pytest
  • release:
poetry version patch # or minor, major, prepatch, preminor, premajor, prerelease
export CHANGELOG_GITHUB_TOKEN=$(gopass show -o pins/Github/github-changelog-generator)
docker run -it --rm -v "$(pwd)":/usr/local/src/your-app -e CHANGELOG_GITHUB_TOKEN githubchangeloggenerator/github-changelog-generator -u venth -p aws-adfs --future-release=$(poetry version -s)
git add .
git commit -m "Release $(poetry version -s)"
git tag --annotate -m "Release $(poetry version -s)" $(poetry version -s)
git push && git push --tags


See the file, which is generated using github-changelog-generator.

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