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Difference Between AWS WAF and AWS Shield

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Introduction

AWS Web Application Firewall (WAF) and AWS Shield are two critical services offered by Amazon Web Services (AWS) to improve the security and protection of your cloud-based applications and resources. They are intended to aid in the prevention of many forms of web-based attacks and other security issues. This article covers detailed knowledge of AWS WAF and AWS Shield and their differences.

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AWS Web Application Firewall (WAF)

AWS WAF is an Amazon Web Services (AWS) managed web application firewall solution that helps protect your online applications from various web-based threats such as SQL injection, cross-site scripting (XSS), and other application layer attacks.

Here are some critical points about AWS WAF:

 

  • Web Application Protection: AWS WAF is designed to safeguard web applications and APIs from malicious traffic and attacks. It allows you to filter and control the traffic that reaches your web applications.

 

  • Rule-Based Filtering: AWS WAF enables you to create rules and conditions to specify which requests should be allowed or blocked based on various criteria, such as IP addresses, HTTP headers, URI strings, and request payloads.

 

  • Managed Rules: AWS WAF provides a set of managed rules to address common threats. You can use these rules to protect your applications without creating custom rules from scratch.

 

  • Custom Rules: You can also write rules specific to your application’s requirements. This adaptability enables you to create complex security policies.

 

  • Rate Limiting: AWS WAF supports rate restriction, which can assist in avoiding brute force attacks by restricting the number of requests from a single IP address over a given period.

 

  • Integration with Other AWS Services: AWS WAF can be integrated with other AWS services like Amazon CloudFront (Content Delivery Network), Application Load Balancers, and API Gateway to protect the edge of your network.

 

  • Logging and Monitoring: AWS WAF has logging and monitoring features that enable you to observe and analyze web traffic, spot anomalies, and respond to potential attacks.

 

  • AWS Marketplace: In addition to the built-in rules and capabilities, you can also explore and purchase additional security solutions and rule sets from the AWS Marketplace to enhance your protection.

 

  • Cost-Efficient: AWS WAF offers a pay-as-you-go pricing model, which means you pay only for the resources you use.

 

AWS WAF Benefits

AWS WAF provides various advantages for organizations wishing to safeguard their Amazon Web Services (AWS) online applications and APIs.

Here are some of the key benefits of using AWS WAF:

 

  • Protection Against Web-Based Threats: AWS WAF helps safeguard your web applications from various web-based threats, including SQL injection, Cross-Site Scripting (XSS), and other application layer attacks. It allows you to create rules to filter out malicious or unwanted traffic before it reaches your application.

 

  • Customizable Security Policies: You can create custom rules and security policies to meet the specific needs of your applications. This flexibility allows you to tailor the protection to your application’s unique requirements.

 

AWS Shield

AWS Shield is an Amazon Web Services (AWS) managed Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) protection solution.

Its primary purpose is to protect AWS resources and applications from various DDoS attacks, which can disrupt the availability and performance of online services.

 

Features of AWS Sheild

AWS Shield is a managed Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) protection service offered by Amazon Web Services (AWS). It is designed to protect your applications and resources from DDoS attacks, ensuring their availability and performance. AWS Shield provides a range of features to defend against different types of DDoS attacks. The specific features may vary between AWS Shield Standard and AWS Shield Advanced. Here are some of the key features of AWS Shield:

 

  1. AWS Shield Standard

  • Automatic Protection: AWS Shield Standard is automatically enabled for all AWS customers at no additional cost for resources deployed in the AWS infrastructure. It protects against the most prevalent DDoS attacks.

 

  • Network and Transport Layer Protection: It defends against network and transport layer DDoS attacks, such as SYN/ACK floods and UDP reflection attacks.

 

  • Always-On Monitoring: AWS Shield Standard continuously monitors network traffic for signs of DDoS attacks and automatically mitigates them.

 

  1. AWS Shield Advanced

AWS Shield Advanced (Includes all Shield Standard features and additional advanced features):

 

  • Enhanced DDoS Protection: Shield Advanced protects against more extensive and sophisticated DDoS attacks, including application layer attacks.

 

  • Real-Time Attack Visibility: It offers real-time visibility into ongoing attacks, allowing you to monitor and understand the nature and scope of the attack as it happens.

 

  • Advanced Threat Detection: Shield Advanced uses advanced techniques to identify and mitigate complex and evolving DDoS attack patterns.

 

  • Access to AWS DDoS Response Team (DRT): Customers with Shield Advanced have access to the AWS DDoS Response Team, a team of security experts who can provide guidance and support during active attacks.

 

AWS Shield Benefits

AWS Shield, Amazon Web Services’ managed Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) protection service, offers several benefits to organizations looking to secure their cloud resources and applications from DDoS attacks and maintain the availability of their services. Here are the key benefits of AWS Shield:

 

  • Automatic Protection: AWS Shield Standard is automatically enabled for all AWS customers at no extra cost for resources deployed in the AWS infrastructure. This means you get essential DDoS protection by default.

 

  • DDoS Attack Mitigation: AWS Shield protects against various DDoS attacks, including network and application layer attacks. It helps ensure your applications remain accessible and responsive even during active DDoS attacks.

 

  • Network and Application Layer Protection: AWS Shield offers defense against network and application layer DDoS attacks, making it versatile and effective in protecting your applications.

 

  • Global Network Protection: AWS Shield leverages AWS’s vast global network infrastructure to protect your applications and resources, reducing the risk of DDoS attacks overwhelming your systems.

 

Difference between AWS WAF and AWS Shield

AWS WAF (Web Application Firewall) and AWS Shield are both AWS services that focus on enhancing the security of your applications and resources. Still, they serve different purposes and address different types of threats. Here are the critical differences between AWS WAF and AWS Shield:

 

AWS WAF

 

Purpose

AWS WAF is primarily designed to protect web applications from application-layer attacks, such as SQL injection, Cross-Site Scripting (XSS), and Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF).

 

Type of Threats

AWS WAF is focused on protecting against web application vulnerabilities and attacks that target the application layer, making it more application-specific.

 

Control and Filtering

AWS WAF allows you to create custom rules that control and filter incoming web traffic based on specific criteria like IP addresses, request headers, query parameters, and more.

 

Customization

It offers a high level of customization, allowing you to tailor your security rules to meet the specific needs of your web applications.

 

Integration

AWS WAF can be integrated with other AWS services like Amazon CloudFront, AWS Application Load Balancers, and AWS API Gateway to protect web applications and content distribution.

 

AWS Shield

 

Purpose

AWS Shield is focused on protecting against Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks, often aimed at overwhelming a network or web service with a flood of traffic to disrupt its availability.

 

Type of Threats

AWS Shield safeguards your applications and resources from network-layer and application-layer DDoS attacks, making it more network-centric.

 

Automatic Protection

AWS Shield Standard automatically includes AWS services and provides essential DDoS protection for resources deployed within the AWS infrastructure.

 

Enhanced Protection

AWS Shield Advanced, the premium tier, offers more advanced protection against more extensive and more complex DDoS attacks and access to the AWS DDoS Response Team (DRT) for support during attacks.

 

Real-Time Mitigation

AWS Shield can detect and mitigate DDoS attacks in real time, helping to keep your applications available and responsive even during an active attack.

 

Optimal Combination for Security

The requirement for more advanced security for corporate systems using public cloud computing is increasing along with security concerns. Fortunately, AWS provides a comprehensive suite of managed services that significantly streamline the setup and administration of these security procedures. AWS WAF employs various security rules to fortify the cloud firewall in front of your apps and guarantee their availability in the case of a malicious attack. AWS Shield offers specialized DDoS defense designed to thwart server and network intrusions.

 

Conclusion

You can use AWS WAF to filter and control incoming web traffic, while AWS Shield ensures the availability and protection of the underlying infrastructure from large-scale attacks. Together, these services offer a comprehensive solution to enhance the security of your AWS-hosted applications and services, effectively mitigating various online threats.

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