Testing Amazon S3 Bucket for Public Write Permissions

September 9, 2019

Recently I needed to confirm if an s3 bucket was indeed publicly writable (by trying to write to it from a different account). I decided to document how to confirm this for your organization.


  1. AWS CLI installed
  2. Two AWS accounts
    • Account A – Has a bucket you suspect may be publicly writable
    • Account B – You will test if you can write to a bucket hosted in Account A using credentials from a user in account B

Account A

For this example we will say our bucket is at:


The following is what to look for from the account hosting the suspect bucket

Access Control List

Public Access Group “Everyone” – List Objects “Yes”

Bucket Policy

    "Version": "2008-10-17",
    "Statement": [
            "Sid": "",
            "Effect": "Allow",
            "Principal": "*",
            "Action": [
            "Resource": "arn:aws:s3:::REDACTED/*"

CORS configuration

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<CORSConfiguration xmlns="http://s3.amazonaws.com/doc/2006-03-01/">

Account B

Set up the aws cli for a user in Account B. This account and user should have nothing to do with account A.

Create a test file

echo "this is a test file to see if we can write to this s3 bucket" > testwrite.txt

Attempt to write to the bucket

aws s3 cp testwrite.txt s3://foo

Successful Write

The response looks like this:

upload: ./testwrite.txt to s3://foo/testwrite.txt

Failed Write

If you do not have permission to write to the bucket the response will look like this:

upload failed: ./testwrite.txt to s3://foo/testwrite.txt An error occurred (AccessDenied) when calling the PutObject operation: Access Denied

If you didn’t set up the aws cli with an API key and password than you will see this message

upload failed: ./testwrite.txt to s3://foo/testwrite.txt Unable to locate credentials