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Adds MFA Support to AWS CLI and Ruby SDKs for normal IAM user



 Project Readme

AWS MFA Secure

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Surprisingly, the aws cli does not yet support MFA for normal IAM users. See: boto/botocore/pull/1399 The aws-mfa-secure tool decorates the AWS CLI or API to handle MFA authentication. The MFA prompt only activates if mfa_serial is configured.

An advantage of the aws-mfa-secure is that it caches the temporary credentials ~/.aws/aws-mfa-secure-sessions and reuses them until they expire. The expiration is 8 hours by default. This means that when you open a new terminal tab, you won’t have to re-enter the MFA code.


gem install aws-mfa-secure

Prerequisite: The AWS CLI is required. You can install the AWS CLI via pip.

pip install awscli --upgrade --user



  1. Configure ~/.aws/credentials with mfa_serial
  2. Set up bash alias
  3. Use aws cli like you normally would

Configure ~/.aws/credentials with mfa_serial

Set up mfa_serial in credentials file for the profile section that requires it. Example:


aws_access_key_id = BKCAXZ6ODJLQ1EXAMPLE
aws_secret_access_key = ABCDl4hXikfOHTvNqFAnb2Ea62bUuu/eUEXAMPLE
mfa_serial = arn:aws:iam::112233445566:mfa/MFAUser

Note: AWS already supports mfa_serial for assumed roles: AWS Configuration and Credential File Settings. The aws-mfa-secure tool does not decorate for assumed roles and lets the AWS CLI or SDK handle it. The aws-mfa-secure tool adds support for standard IAM users, which is not currently supported. See: boto/botocore/pull/1399

Set up bash alias

alias aws="aws-mfa-secure session"

The alias allows us to intercept the normal aws cli command and decorate it. The aws-mfa-secure session only activates if mfa_serial is configured in your ~/.aws/credentials file. Otherwise, it will pass the command through to the normal aws cli. You may want to add the alias to your ~/.bash_profile do you don't have to alias it every time you open a new terminal.

Autocompletion still works with the alias.

Use aws cli like usual

Call aws command like you usually would:

aws s3 ls

Example with Output

$ export AWS_PROFILE=mfa
$ aws s3 ls
Please provide your MFA code: 751888
2019-09-21 15:53:34 my-example-test-bucket
$ aws s3 ls
2019-09-21 15:53:34 my-example-test-bucket

Expiration: You get prompted for the MFA token once, and the MFA secure session lasts for 12 hours. You can override the default expiration time with AWS_MFA_TTL. For example, AWS_MFA_TTL=3600 means the session expires in 1 hour instead.

Calling Directly

You can also call aws-mfa-secure session directly.

aws-mfa-secure session --version
aws-mfa-secure session s3 ls

The arguments of aws-mfa-secure session are delegated to the aws command. So:

aws-mfa-secure session s3 ls

Is the same as:

aws s3 ls

Except aws-mfa-secure session will use the temporary session environment AWS_* variables values.


You can also generate an exports script. The exports technique is useful for tools that do not yet support MFA. Using AWS_* env variables for credentials should allow those tools to work. Though, it may depend on the tool as they sometimes hardcode a credentials configuration. Example:

$ aws-mfa-secure exports
Please provide your MFA code: 147280
export AWS_SESSION_TOKEN=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

You can eval it to set the environment variables in one go. Note, the MFA code prompt is written to standard error so it won't affect the eval.

$ eval `aws-mfa-secure exports`

If you're using the aws-mfa-secure exports command, the aws-mfa-secure unsets command is useful to unset the AWS_* env variables quickly. For more info: aws-mfa-secure unsets -h.

Ruby AWS SDK Extension

You can also use aws-mfa-secure to add MFA support to Ruby libraries. Do so by requiring the aws_mfa_secure/ext/aws.

require "aws_mfa_secure/ext/aws" # add MFA support

This patches the aws-sdk-ruby library and adds MFA support.

Setting MFA Info with Env Variables

You can also set the MFA info with env variables. They take the highest precedence and override what's in ~/.aws/credentials. Example:

AWS_MFA_TOKEN=112233 AWS_MFA_SERIAL=arn:aws:iam::112233445566:mfa/MFAUser aws s3 ls

How It Works

Docs: How It Works

Linux Support

This tool only supports Linux. For Windows, you'll have to set the AWS_* env variables manually. Refer to these resources:


You may also be interested in tongueroo/aws-rotate. It's an easy way to rotate all your AWS keys in your ~/.aws/credentials.


  1. Fork it
  2. Create your feature branch (git checkout -b my-new-feature)
  3. Commit your changes (git commit -am "Add some feature")
  4. Push to the branch (git push origin my-new-feature)
  5. Create new Pull Request