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AWS WAF

AWS WAF (Web Application Firewall) is an online application firewall that helps protect your web applications or APIs against typical web exploits and bots that can cause availability issues, security compromises, or resource consumption issues.

Why AWS WAF?

DDoS attacks are among the most common and disruptive forms of web attacks. Attackers flood web servers with bulk requests, causing applications to slow down and become inaccessible to genuine users. This not only impacts brand reputation but can also have serious implications for business operations.

Another critical threat is SQL injections, where attackers exploit vulnerabilities in SQL databases to run malicious queries on websites or applications. Without proper security measures, attackers can access confidential account and business information, posing a significant risk to data integrity.

AWS WAF, or Amazon Web Services Web Application Firewall, is a formidable protective barrier for web applications. It shields these applications from widely known cyber threats that can disrupt their availability, breach security protocols, or overburden resources.

The primary function of AWS WAF is to allow developers to create customized rules that dictate how incoming web requests should be handled. These rules can be set to allow, block, or monitor traffic based on specific conditions set by the developer. Some of the key criteria used to evaluate these requests include:

  • IP addresses
  • HTTP headers
  • URI strings
  • Body of the HTTP request
  • SQL injection attacks
  • Cross-site scripting (XSS) incidents

AWS WAF can implement new rules within minutes. This swift responsiveness is crucial for adapting to and mitigating emergent threats and evolving traffic patterns. It seamlessly integrates with other AWS services, including Amazon CloudFront and the Application Load Balancer (ALB). 

AWS WAF operates across all AWS Edge Locations. This widespread operation ensures that security measures are enforced consistently and effectively around the globe, blocking potentially damaging requests before they even reach your servers.

How it Works

 

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Features

 

  • Filtering of web traffic

AWS WAF’s web traffic filtering criteria include custom URIs and IP addresses. HTTP headers and body and HTTP headers and body are among the other criteria. This functionality serves as a second tier of defence against web attacks that try to exploit weaknesses in bespoke or third-party web applications. The AWS WAF also simplifies the process of enforcing rules to guard against common web vulnerabilities like SQL injection and cross-site scripting.
It is possible to apply rules to multiple websites at the same time using the AWS WAF. Rather of having to build new rules for every web application, you can construct a single set of security rules that can be applied to all of the websites and web applications in the environment.

  • AWS WAF Bot Control

Managed rule groups in AWS WAF allow for visibility and control over bot activity that may consume excessive resources, distort data or create disruption. A few mouse clicks allow you to block or prevent common bots, such as crawler and scraper programmes or status monitors and search engine crawlers, from operating on your website. The Bot Control managed rule group, when used with other Managed Rules for WAF or custom WAF rules, can help secure your applications even further.

  • Preventing account takeover fraud is important.

In the AWS WAF Fraud Control service, a financial fraud prevention managed rule team assesses your application’s login page for login attempts and user accounts using compromising credentials. By working with the government, it is possible to avoid credential stuffing attacks, conventional warfare login attempts, and any other suspicious login activity. With the optional JavaScript and iOS/Android SDKs, you may collect more information about user devices that attempt to connect into your application and use it to further protect your application against automated login attempts by bots. Controlled Rules for AWS DevOps includes a feature called Account Takeover Prevention, which may be used in combination with Bot Control to prevent bots from seizing over your account.

  • Feature-length API

AWS WAF may be completely controlled via APIs. An organization’s competitive advantage comes from having the ability to standardise and integrate rules into the development and design process. For instance, a developer who is intimately familiar with the web application can create a security rule that would be applied to it before deployment. To prevent the need for complex handoffs between application and security teams to guarantee that rules are up to date, incorporate security into your development process.
CloudFormation sample templates allow you to describe all of the security rules you want to implement for your web applications provided over Amazon CloudFront, which can then be automatically generated and provisioned by AWS.

  • Real-time visibility is essential.

Real-time data and raw requests can be collected using AWS WAF, including data about IP addresses and geographical areas as well as info about URIs, User-Agent, and Referrers. AWS WAF is linked with Amazon CloudWatch, making it possible to generate custom alarms when limits are exceeded or specific attacks occur, making it simple to observe and respond to attacks. As a result of this information, new rules can be developed that will better protect apps because of this information.

AWS WAF provides detailed, real-time metrics that enhance visibility into your web traffic. This integration with Amazon CloudWatch allows for the easy setup of tailored alerts, ensuring that you’re quickly informed of any security incidents. By capturing comprehensive raw request details, including geographic locations and specific request headers, AWS WAF offers an in-depth view that aids in the proactive management of web application threats. This wealth of data is instrumental in refining security measures, continuously improving the safeguarding of your applications.

  • Integration with Amazon Web Services Firewall Manager

Using a single AWS account, you can centrally manage multiple AWS WAF deployments with AWS Firewall Manager. In addition, new resources can be checked to see if they adhere to a defined set of security criteria. In the event of a policy violation on your network, Firewall Manager alerts your security team so they can respond promptly and take appropriate action.

Benefits

 

  • Protection against web-based threats that are flexible

In less than a minute, AWS WAF rules may be propagated and updated across your whole environment, allowing you to quickly address security issues as they arise. Web application firewalls (WAFs) have hundreds of rules that can examine any part of a web request while imposing the least amount of latency on incoming data. AWS WAF protects web applications from attack by filtering traffic according to rules you specify. Everything from Proxy servers to HTTP protocols to the HTTP body and URI strings can be included in web request filtering. Typical attack patterns like SQL injection and cross-site scripting can no longer exploit your system as a result of this.

  • Managed rules let you save time.

When you use Managed Rules for AWS WAF, your systems can be shielded from a range of common threats within minutes of deployment. These threats include OWASP’s Top 10 Security Risks, Content Management System (CMS) Threats, and vulnerabilities identified in developing Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVEs). Additionally, the automatic updates of these controlled rules ensure that your defenses stay up-to-date without requiring manual intervention. By leveraging these pre-configured rules, you can focus more on developing your applications while ensuring robust security measures are in place.

  • Enhancement in the amount of online traffic

With the near-real-time visibility provided by AWS WAF, Amazon CloudWatch can produce new rules or warnings based on your web traffic. Individual rules or the entire inbound traffic stream can be monitored with precise control over the metrics that are emitted. The whole header data of each evaluated web request is also captured for use in security automation, analytics, and audits with thorough logging.

  • Implementation and maintenance are made simple.

If you’re using Amazon CloudFront as part of a CDN solution, the Application Load Balancer, Amazon API Gateway (for REST) or AWS AppSync (for GraphQL) as part of a cloud computing architecture, you can use AWS WAF to protect and secure your apps. The use of a reverse proxy, additional software or DNS configuration or SSL/TLS certificate management is not necessary. Neither is a reverse proxy required. By integrating AWS Firewall Manager, you can define and administer your rules from a single location while also reusing them across all web apps you need to protect.

  • Easy-to-use bot monitoring and control, including blocking and rate-limiting

Amazon Web Services’ AWS WAF Bot Control service can help you monitor and control bot traffic that is aimed towards your apps and services. Typical bots like status monitors and search engines can be monitored using the AWS WAF panel. Insights regarding bot traffic, such as its category, identity, and other pertinent features, can be obtained precisely and in real-time. Setting a rate limit on traffic can also prohibit or limit traffic from common bots like scrapers, scanners, and crawlers. Additionally, the AWS Firewall Manager service can be used to implement the Bot Control controlled rule group across several clients in your AWS Organization.

  • Applications should be constructed with security in mind from the start.

The AWS WAF API or the AWS Management Console can be used to configure all of the AWS WAF’s features. This gives your DevOps team the ability to implement rules that are specific to the applications they are building, thereby improving online security for your firm as a whole. As an additional benefit, this allows you to incorporate web security into the growth process chain at numerous points, from developers writing code to DevOps engineers deploying software to security administrators who enforce a set of rules across an entire organisation. This is a significant advantage.

AWS WAF enables users to defend their web applications by setting up customizable rules for handling web requests. Users can configure these rules to either allow, block or merely count the web requests based on specific criteria set by the user. These criteria can range from the origin IP addresses of the requests to the content found within the HTTP headers or body. The protection features extend to identifying and controlling requests that involve potentially harmful content such as SQL injection or cross-site scripting. Rules can also be tailored to respond to particular strings within the requests, providing a robust framework to safeguard web applications against various types of online threats.

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Use Cases

 

  • With a firewall at the network’s edge, unwanted bot traffic can be blocked.

At the network’s edge, AWS WAF and CloudFront’s Bot Control collaborate to limit the traffic of malicious bots. By leveraging Bot Control in AWS WAF, users can effectively reduce operational and infrastructure costs associated with scrapers, scanners, and crawlers. Bot Control is crucial in eliminating deceptive bot traffic that could skew traffic and conversion metrics, ultimately enhancing the user experience.

The creation of customized rules that filter web traffic based on specific conditions such as IP addresses, HTTP headers, and body or custom URIs. This sophisticated capability provides an essential layer of defense against web attacks that exploit vulnerabilities in both custom and third-party applications.

  • Ensure the safety of your proprietary information.

Crawlers and scrapers are tools that websites utilize to index their content, extract files from their APIs, or otherwise make unlawful use of these resources. Controlling individual bots or a group of bots, such as search engine crawlers and scrapers, can be done via Bot Control. Search engine web crawlers can’t be prevented since Bot Control can’t be turned off by default.

  • Content that doesn’t appeal to bots should be created in response.

With WAF features like Bot Control and unique answers, you can tailor application operations for bot traffic and make them more user friendly. In terms of SEO, “scraping” bots may bring visitors to your site, but they may also cause your real-time pricing database to fail. To ensure that bots aren’t sent to out-of-date price pages, AWS WAF can direct them to a cached endpoint instead.

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Pricing

This includes the amount of web access control lists (web Basic input / output system), the number of rules you apply to each one, as well as the volume of web requests. It’s not necessary to make any commitments right now. AWS WAF is not included in the prices of Amazon CloudFront, Application Load Balancer (ALB), Amazon API Gateway, and AWS AppSync. If you create several web ACLs or rules for multiple web ACLs, you will be paid separately. Depending on how many web requests the web ACL handles, more fees will be incurred. The pricing structure for AWS services is the same across all regions. Each hour of use is charged at a prorated monthly rate. Subscribing to a controlled rule group offered by an AWS Marketplace vendor will come at an additional cost. AWS WAF fees aren’t the only costs to consider.

Costs are determined by three main variables:

Number of Web ACLs: Each Web ACL (Web Access Control List) is priced at a flat rate of $5 per month. Customers will incur charges based on the quantity of Web ACLs they utilize.

Number of Rules: The pricing structure includes a charge of $1.00 for every rule implemented within a Web ACL on a per month basis. This cost factor is directly proportional to the number of rules configured by the customer.

Request Count: Customers will be charged at $0.60 per million web requests processed by the AWS WAF service. This component of the pricing model is based on the volume of incoming web traffic and requests handled by the Web Application Firewall.

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