AWS Inspector: First Line of Defense Against Security Vulnerabilities

Security breaches are more common than ever before, and it’s no secret that the root cause of these incidents often stems from vulnerabilities in software code not being identified or fixed in time by the developer. There are many security platforms available to businesses and individuals that can assist in identifying and fixing such vulnerabilities before they can be exploited. Still, AWS Inspector stands out from the crowd as one of the most comprehensive and feature-rich platforms currently available on the market today. This article provides an overview of AWS Inspector and its features so you can start using it to identify and mitigate vulnerabilities affecting your AWS environment without any delays.

What is AWS Inspector?

AWS Inspector is a new AWS service that provides deep learning-based analysis of your EC2 instances, giving you an extra line of defense against known security vulnerabilities. AWS knows that these vulnerabilities pose a risk to all users, regardless of their industry or size. Amazon has made it their mission to reduce them to provide a safer cloud experience for everyone.

AWS Inspector can perform both a network and host level assessment. The installation of the AWS Inspector Agent on the EC2 instances is required for host-level assessment.

How does it work?

AWS Inspector acts as a defense against security vulnerabilities. It runs inside your application, automatically and continuously monitoring and assessing applications, helping you understand any potential issues. By using AWS best practices as baselines, it will review your EC2 instance configurations with best practice checks, such as user permissions and encryption strength.

Suppose a particular configuration is missing an AWS best practice (such as putting a firewall between users and servers). In that case, it becomes highlighted in orange so that you can be aware at all times if there are any possible security holes. Along with finding issues, AWS also offers suggestions to help fix these problems before they become worse. You can schedule automatic assessments or run them manually whenever it fits into your work schedule.

Working Of AWS Inspector - Thinkcloudly

Benefits You Get

  1. It integrates security testing as a part of your development, deployment, and production process.
  2. It Identifies any security issues and threats that need attention and recommends the solutions.
  3. It can automatically solve problems without human interference.
  4. You can define best practices and standards for your applications. You can improve your association’s security guidelines and best practices by proactively monitoring security issues before impacting your creation application.
  5. One of its best features is that it uses AWS’s Security Expertise, where AWS continually updates best practices and rules in security.

Important terms that you should know

Amazon Inspector agent: EC2 instances are installed with Inspector agents. Data collected by these agents (telemetry) is forwarded to AWS Inspector services.

Assessment target: An EC2 set of instances would normally be the ones you would like to determine if they are vulnerable. Targets are uniquely identified using tags.

Rules and Rules package: Several rules govern how IT resources are checked. Rules packages are collections of rules.

Telemetry: An inspector agent collects telemetry from EC2 instances. Telemetry is the data related to instance behavior or configuration.

Finding: A finding refers to an issue that the inspector has found.

Assessment Targets and Templates

An assessment target defines specific situations when an assessment should be carried out. For example, you can create an assessment target that’s all internet-facing machines and a template to perform against them. The template sets the specific guidelines for the assessment.

The AWS Inspector Dashboard

AWS inspector can be enabled by searching for it in the AWS console and clicking Enable Inspector.

Enabling AWS Inspector - Thinkcloudly

The AWS Inspector Dashboard allows you to create new assessments, targets, and templates and view the results of previous evaluations.

AWS Inspector Dashboard - Thinkcloudly

Inspector Findings

Click on the “Findings” link on the AWS Inspector Dashboard to view the findings for your assessment.

AWS Inspector Findings - Thinkcloudly

The Findings view provides information about the severity and date of the finding. To get finding details click on the triangle next to it.

AWS Inspector Details Finding - Thinkcloudly

Each detail line in the assessment contains a lot of information. As seen above, this includes the specific findings and the assessment itself.

It explains the reason for this finding, the rules used to create this finding, the VPC, and instance details, as well as what you should do about this finding.

Pricing

As with most AWS services, AWS Inspector is a “pay as you go” model. Assessments are priced based on the type and number of instances examined.

Final Thoughts

The compromise of workloads and unauthorized access to data can result from security gaps created by software vulnerabilities and unintended network access. The AWS management console makes it easy to enable Amazon Inspector across your entire organization. AWS Inspector continuously scans instances and containers owned by Amazon EC2 for software vulnerabilities. Using CVE information and factors like network accessibility and exploitability, you can prioritize your response based on accurate and understandable risk scores. By automating and integrating with partner solutions, the inspector helps reduce the time it takes to resolve vulnerabilities.

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