Using the AWS SDK to login with MFA and Assume Role

A new-ish thing to me is having my IAM account on a centralized AWS account then switching roles to a role in another AWS account. It’s a good way to manage users across a lot of accounts: Cross-Account Access in the AWS Management Console

What is definitely is having to do this programmatically for a script. I’m using C# for this but the guts are the same for any language I’m sure.


1) Load main credentials – either hard-coded or from ~/.aws/credentials
2) Get a Session Token from STS
3) Setup MFA callback
4) Use Session Token creds and MFA call back on an AssumeRole credential set then to do work.


//needed info from target account
var targetRoleAccount = "<account id>";
var targetRoleName = "<role name>";
//needed info from main account about my user
var mainAccount = "<account id>";
var mainAccountUser = "<my user name>";
//my user creds
var mainAccountUserAccessToken = "<aws access token>";
var mainAccountUserSecretToken = "<aws secret token>";
//make some ARNs
var roleArn = $"arn:aws:iam::{targetRoleAccount}:role/{targetRoleName}";
var mfaArn = $"arn:aws:iam::{mainAccount}:mfa/{mainAccountUser}";

var basicCreds = new BasicAWSCredentials(mainAccountUserAccessToken, mainAccountUserSecretToken);

var stsClient = new AmazonSecurityTokenServiceClient(basicCreds);
var sessionResponse = await stsClient.GetSessionTokenAsync();

var sessionCreds = new SessionAWSCredentials(sessionResponse.Credentials.AccessKeyId,
    sessionResponse.Credentials.SecretAccessKey, sessionResponse.Credentials.SessionToken);

var options = new AssumeRoleAWSCredentialsOptions()
    MfaSerialNumber = mfaArn,
    MfaTokenCodeCallback = () =>
        Console.WriteLine("Enter MFA");
        return Console.ReadLine();

var assumeRoleCredentials = new AssumeRoleAWSCredentials(sessionCreds, roleArn, targetRoleName, options);

//time to work!
var client = new AmazonEC2Client(assumeRoleCredentials, RegionEndpoint.EUWest1);

The code roughly follows the steps I listed before. The trick is getting your MFA code in.

Here, I just have a console app so I can just ReadLine() and enter the numbers from my phone which I use for the two-factor code.

Took some figuring out as I didn’t know the AWS termology and had to dig the into the AWS SDK integration tests for STS to get it right. Wasn’t too bad.

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