Tag Archives: Amazon Detective

New – Simplify the Investigation of AWS Security Findings with Amazon Detective

Post Syndicated from Danilo Poccia original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/new-simplify-the-investigation-of-aws-security-findings-with-amazon-detective/

With Amazon Detective, you can analyze and visualize security data to investigate potential security issues. Detective collects and analyzes events that describe IP traffic, AWS management operations, and malicious or unauthorized activity from AWS CloudTrail logs, Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC) Flow Logs, Amazon GuardDuty findings, and, since last year, Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) audit logs. Using this data, Detective constructs a graph model that distills log data using machine learning, statistical analysis, and graph theory to build a linked set of data for your security investigations.

Starting today, Detective offers investigation support for findings in AWS Security Hub in addition to those detected by GuardDuty. Security Hub is a service that provides you with a view of your security state in AWS and helps you check your environment against security industry standards and best practices. If you’ve turned on Security Hub and another integrated AWS security services, those services will begin sending findings to Security Hub.

With this new capability, it is easier to use Detective to determine the cause and impact of findings coming from new sources such as AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) Access Analyzer, Amazon Inspector, and Amazon Macie. All AWS services that send findings to Security Hub are now supported.

Let’s see how this works in practice.

Enabling AWS Security Findings in the Amazon Detective Console
When you enable Detective for the first time, Detective now identifies findings coming from both GuardDuty and Security Hub, and automatically starts ingesting them along with other data sources. Note that you don’t need to enable or publish these log sources for Detective to start its analysis because this is managed directly by Detective.

If you are an existing Detective customer, you can enable investigation of AWS Security Findings as a data source with one click in the Detective Management Console. I already have Detective enabled, so I add the source package.

In the Detective console, in the Settings section of the navigation pane, I choose General. There, I choose Edit in the Optional source packages section to enable Detective for AWS Security Findings.

Console screenshot.

Once enabled, Detective starts analyzing all the relevant data to identify connections between disparate events and activities. To start your investigation process, you can get a visualization of these connections, including resource behavior and activities. Historical baselines, which you can use to provide comparisons against recent activity, are established after two weeks.

Investigating AWS Security Findings in the Amazon Detective Console
I start in the Security Hub console and choose Findings in the navigation pane. There, I filter findings to only see those where the Product name is Inspector and Severity label is HIGH.

Console screenshot.

The first one looks suspicious, so I choose its Title (CVE-2020-36223 – openldap). The Security Hub console provides me with information about the corresponding Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) ID and where and how it was found. At the bottom, I have the option to Investigate in Amazon Detective. I follow the Investigate finding link, and the Detective console opens in another browser tab.

Console screenshot.

Here, I see the entities related to this Inspector finding. First, I open the profile of the AWS account to see all the findings associated with this resource, the overall API call volume issued by this resource, and the container clusters in this account.

For example, I look at the successful and failed API calls to have a better understanding of the impact of this finding.

Console screenshot.

Then, I open the profile for the container image. There, I see the images that are related to this image (because they have the same repository or registry as this image), the containers running from this image during the scope time (managed by Amazon EKS), and the findings associated with this resource.

Depending on the finding, Detective helps me correlate information from different sources such as CloudTrail logs, VPC Flow Logs, and EKS audit logs. This information makes it easier to understand the impact of the finding and if the risk has become an incident. For Security Hub, Detective only ingests findings for configuration checks that failed. Because configuration checks that passed have little security value, we’re filtering these outs.

Availability and Pricing
Amazon Detective investigation support for AWS Security Findings is available today for all existing and new Detective customers in all AWS Regions where Detective is available, including the AWS GovCloud (US) Regions. For more information, see the AWS Regional Services List.

Amazon Detective is priced based on the volume of data ingested. By enabling investigation of AWS Security Findings, you can increase the volume of ingested data. For more information, see Amazon Detective pricing.

When GuardDuty and Security Hub provide a finding, they also suggest the remediation. On top of that, Detective helps me investigate if the vulnerability has been exploited, for example, using logs and network traffic as proof.

Currently, findings coming from Security Hub are not included in the Finding groups section of the Detective console. Our plan is to expand Finding groups to cover the newly integrated AWS security services. Stay tuned!

Start using Amazon Detective to investigate potential security issues.


Reduce triage time for security investigations with Amazon Detective visualizations and export data

Post Syndicated from Alex Waddell original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/security/reduce-triage-time-for-security-investigations-with-detective-visualizations-and-export-data/

To respond to emerging threats, you will often need to sort through large datasets rapidly to prioritize security findings. Amazon Detective recently released two new features to help you do this. New visualizations in Detective show the connections between entities related to multiple Amazon GuardDuty findings, and a new export data feature helps you use the data from Detective in your other tools and automated workflows.

By using these new features, you can quickly analyze, correlate, and visualize the large amounts of data generated by sources like Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC) Flow Logs, AWS CloudTrail, Amazon GuardDuty findings, and Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS) audit logs.

In this post, we’ll show you how you can use these new features to help reduce the time it takes to assess, investigate, and prioritize a security incident.

A security finding is raised

The workflow starts with GuardDuty. GuardDuty continuously monitors AWS accounts, Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances, EKS clusters, and data stored in Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) for malicious activity without the use of security software or agents.

If GuardDuty detects potential malicious activity, such as anomalous behavior, credential exfiltration, or command and control (C2) infrastructure communication, it generates detailed security incidents called findings.

Depending on the severity and complexity of the GuardDuty finding, the resolution might require deep investigation. Consider an example that involves cryptocurrency mining. If you frequently see a cryptocurrency finding on your EC2 instances, you might have a recurring malware issue that has enabled a backdoor. If a threat actor is attempting to compromise your AWS environment, they typically perform a sequence of actions that lead to multiple findings and unusual behavior. When security findings are investigated in isolation, it can lead to a misinterpretation of their significance and difficulty in finding the root cause. When you need more context around a finding, Detective can help.

Detective automatically collects log data and events from sources like CloudTrail logs, Amazon VPC Flow Logs, GuardDuty findings, and Amazon EKS audit logs and maintains up to a year of aggregated data for analysis. Detective uses machine learning to create a behavioral graph for these data sources that helps show how security issues have evolved. It highlights what AWS resources might be compromised and flags unusual activity like new API calls, new user agents, and new AWS Regions.

The search capabilities work across AWS workloads, providing the information required to show the potential impact of an incident. Detective helps you answer questions like: How did this security incident happen? What AWS resources were affected? How can we prevent this from happening again?

Finding groups help connect the dots of an incident

You can use finding groups, a recent feature of Detective, to help with your investigations. A finding group is a collection of entities related to a single potential security incident that should be investigated together. An entity can be an AWS resource like an EC2 instance, IAM role, or GuardDuty finding, but it can also be an IP address or user agent. For a full list of entities collected, see Searching for a finding or entity in the Detective User Guide.

Grouping these entities together helps provide context and a more complete understanding of the threat landscape. This makes it simpler for you to identify relationships between different events and to assess the overall impact of a potential threat.

In the cryptocurrency mining example described previously, finding groups could show the relationship between the cryptocurrency mining finding and a C2 finding so that you know the two are related and the AWS resources affected. To learn more about working with Detective finding groups, see How to improve security incident investigations using Amazon Detective finding groups.

Figure 1 shows the finding groups overview page on the Detective console, with a list of finding groups filtered by status. The dashboard also shows the severity, title, observed tactics, accounts, entities, and the total number of findings for each finding group. For more information about the attributes of finding groups, see Analyzing finding groups.

Figure 1: Finding groups overview

Figure 1: Finding groups overview

To see details about the finding group, select the title of the finding group to access the details page, which includes Details, Visualization, Involved entities, and Involved findings. On this panel, you can view entities and findings included in a finding group and interact with them. The information presented is the same in the Visualization panel, the Involved entities panel, and the Involved findings panel. The different views allow you to view the information in the way that is helpful for you. Figure 2 shows an example of the Details and Visualization for a specific finding group.

Figure 2: Details and Visualization

Figure 2: Details and Visualization

Note: Finding groups with over 100 nodes (findings and entities) do not include a graph visualization.

Visualizations to show you the situation

The new visualizations in Detective provide three layouts that display the same information from finding groups, but allow you to choose and arrange the different entities so that you can focus on the highest priority finding or resources.

To determine what each visual element represents, choose the Legend in the bottom left corner of the panel. You can change the placement of findings in the Visualization panel by selecting a different layout from the Select layout dropdown menu. Figure 2 in the preceding section shows the Force-directed layout, where the positioning of entities and findings presents an even distribution of links with minimal overlap, while maintaining consistent distance between items.

Figure 3 shows the Visualization panel with the Circle layout, where nodes are displayed in a circular layout. You can use the Legend to understand the different categories of Findings, Compute, Network, Identity, Storage, or Other.

If you’re unfamiliar with these terms, see Amazon Detective terms and concepts to learn more.

Figure 3: Visualization panel with Circle layout and Legend

Figure 3: Visualization panel with Circle layout and Legend

Figure 4 shows the Visualization panel with the Grid layout, where nodes are divided into four different columns: evidence, identity entities, GuardDuty findings, and other entities (compute, network, and storage).

Figure 4: Visualization panel with Grid layout

Figure 4: Visualization panel with Grid layout

In the Visualization panel, you can select one or more (using ctrl/cmd+click) nodes. Selected nodes are listed next to the graph, and you can select each node’s title for more information. Selecting an entity’s title opens a new page that displays detailed information about that entity, whereas selecting a finding or evidence expands the right sidebar to show details on the selected finding or evidence.

You can rearrange chosen entities and findings as needed to help improve your understanding of their connections. This can help speed up your assessment of findings. Figure 5 shows the Visualization panel with four nodes selected and the sidebar displaying information relevant to the selected finding.

Figure 5: Visualization panel with evidence selected

Figure 5: Visualization panel with evidence selected

Finding groups and visualizations provide an overview of the entities and resources related to a security activity. Presenting the information in this way highlights the interconnections between various activities. This means that you no longer have to use multiple tools or query different services to collect information or investigate entities and resources. This can help you reduce triage and scoping times and make your investigations faster and more comprehensive.

Increased flexibility for investigation with simpler data access

To expand the scope of your investigation or confirm if a security incident has taken place, you might want to combine data from Detective with your own tools or different services. This is where export data comes into play.

Detective has several Summary page panels that you can use as a starting point for your investigations because they highlight potentially suspicious activity. The panels include roles and users with the most API call volume, EC2 instances with the most traffic volume, and EKS clusters with the most Kubernetes pods created.

With export data, you can now export these panels as common-separated values (CSV) files and import the data into other AWS services or third-party applications, or manipulate the data with spreadsheet programs.

Export from the Detective console Summary screen

In the Detective console, on the Summary page, you will see an Export option on several summary panes. This is enabled and available for anyone with access to Detective. Figure 6 shows summary information for the roles and users with the most API call volume.

Figure 6: Detective console Summary screen

Figure 6: Detective console Summary screen

Choose Export to download a CSV file containing the data for the summary information. The file is downloaded to your browser’s default download folder on your local device. When you view the data, it will look something like the spreadsheet in Figure 7:

Figure 7: Example CSV data export from Detective console Summary

Figure 7: Example CSV data export from Detective console Summary

Export from the Detective console Search screen

You can also export data using the Search capability of Detective. After you apply specific filters to search for findings or entities based on your use case, an Export button appears at the top of the search results in Detective. Figure 8 shows an example of filtering for a particular CIDR range. Choose Export to download the CSV file containing the filtered data.

Figure 8: Detective search results filtering for a CIDR range

Figure 8: Detective search results filtering for a CIDR range


In this blog post, you learned how to use the two new features of Detective to visualize findings and export data. By using these new features, you and your teams can investigate an incident in the way that best fits your workflow. New visualizations show the entities involved in an issue and surface nuanced connections that can be difficult to find when you’re faced with line after line of log data. The new data export feature makes it simpler to integrate the insights discovered in Detective with the tools and automations that your team is already using.

These features are automatically enabled for both existing and new customers in AWS Regions that support Detective. There is no additional charge for finding groups. If you don’t currently use Detective, you can start a free 30-day trial. For more information on finding groups, see Analyzing finding groups in the Amazon Detective User Guide.

If you have feedback about this post, submit comments in the Comments section below. You can also start a new thread on Amazon Detective re:Post or contact AWS Support.

Want more AWS Security news? Follow us on Twitter.

Alex Waddell

Alex Waddell

Alex is a Senior Security Specialist Solutions Architect at AWS based in Scotland. Alex provides security architectural guidance and operational best practices to customers of all sizes, helping them to implement AWS security services in the best way possible to keep their AWS workloads secure. Alex has been working in the security domain since 1999 and joined AWS in 2021. When he is not working, Alex enjoys spending time sampling rum from around the world (Alex is one of those rarely found Scottish people that doesn’t like whisky), walking his dogs in the local forest trails and traveling.

Nima Fotouhi

Nima Fotouhi

Nima is a Security Consultant. He’s a builder with passion for infrastructure as code (IaC) and policy as code (PaC), helping customer building secure infrastructure on AWS. In my spare time I love to hit the slopes and go snowboarding.

Rich Vorwaller

Rich Vorwaller

Rich is a Principal Product Manager of Amazon Detective. He boomerang to AWS with a passion for walking backwards from customer security problems. AWS is a great place for innovation and Rich is excited to dive deep on how customers are using AWS to strengthen their security posture in the cloud. In his spare time, Rich loves to read, travel, and perform a little bit of amateur stand up comedy.

AWS Week in Review – February 27, 2023

Post Syndicated from Antje Barth original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/aws-week-in-review-february-27-2023/

A couple days ago, I had the honor of doing a live stream on generative AI, discussing recent innovations and concepts behind the current generation of large language and vision models and how we got there. In today’s roundup of news and announcements, I will share some additional information—including an expanded partnership to make generative AI more accessible, a blog post about diffusion models, and our weekly Twitch show on Generative AI. Let’s dive right into it!

Last Week’s Launches
Here are some launches that got my attention during the previous week:

Integrated Private Wireless on AWS – The Integrated Private Wireless on AWS program is designed to provide enterprises with managed and validated private wireless offerings from leading communications service providers (CSPs). The offerings integrate CSPs’ private 5G and 4G LTE wireless networks with AWS services across AWS Regions, AWS Local Zones, AWS Outposts, and AWS Snow Family. For more details, read this Industries Blog post and check out this eBook. And, if you’re attending the Mobile World Congress Barcelona this week, stop by the AWS booth at the Upper Walkway, South Entrance, at the Fira Barcelona Gran Via, to learn more.

AWS Glue Crawlers – Now integrate with Lake Formation. AWS Glue Crawlers are used to discover datasets, extract schema information, and populate the AWS Glue Data Catalog. With this Glue Crawler and Lake Formation integration, you can configure a crawler to use Lake Formation permissions to access an S3 data store or a Data Catalog table with an underlying S3 location within the same AWS account or another AWS account. You can configure an existing Data Catalog table as a crawler’s target if the crawler and the Data Catalog table reside in the same account. To learn more, check out this Big Data Blog post.

AWS Glue Crawlers now support integration with AWS Lake Formation

Amazon SageMaker Model Monitor – You can now launch and configure Amazon SageMaker Model Monitor from the SageMaker Model Dashboard using a code-free point-and-click setup experience. SageMaker Model Dashboard gives you unified monitoring across all your models by providing insights into deviations from expected behavior, automated alerts, and troubleshooting to improve model performance. Model Monitor can detect drift in data quality, model quality, bias, and feature attribution and alert you to take remedial actions when such changes occur.

Amazon EKS – Now supports Kubernetes version 1.25. Kubernetes 1.25 introduced several new features and bug fixes, and you can now use Amazon EKS and Amazon EKS Distro to run Kubernetes version 1.25. You can create new 1.25 clusters or upgrade your existing clusters to 1.25 using the Amazon EKS console, the eksctl command line interface, or through an infrastructure-as-code tool. To learn more about this release named “Combiner,” check out this Containers Blog post.

Amazon Detective – New self-paced workshop available. You can now learn to use Amazon Detective with a new self-paced workshop in AWS Workshop Studio. AWS Workshop Studio is a collection of self-paced tutorials designed to teach practical skills and techniques to solve business problems. The Amazon Detective workshop is designed to teach you how to use the primary features of Detective through a series of interactive modules that cover topics such as security alert triage, security incident investigation, and threat hunting. Get started with the Amazon Detective Workshop.

For a full list of AWS announcements, be sure to keep an eye on the What’s New at AWS page.

Other AWS News
Here are some additional news items and blog posts that you may find interesting:

🤗❤☁ AWS and Hugging Face collaborate to make generative AI more accessible and cost-efficient – This previous week, we announced an expanded collaboration between AWS and Hugging Face to accelerate the training, fine-tuning, and deployment of large language and vision models used to create generative AI applications. Generative AI applications can perform a variety of tasks, including text summarization, answering questions, code generation, image creation, and writing essays and articles. For more details, read this Machine Learning Blog post.

If you are interested in generative AI, I also recommend reading this blog post on how to Fine-tune text-to-image Stable Diffusion models with Amazon SageMaker JumpStart. Stable Diffusion is a deep learning model that allows you to generate realistic, high-quality images and stunning art in just a few seconds. This blog post discusses how to make design choices, including dataset quality, size of training dataset, choice of hyperparameter values, and applicability to multiple datasets.

AWS open-source news and updates – My colleague Ricardo writes this weekly open-source newsletter in which he highlights new open-source projects, tools, and demos from the AWS Community. Read edition #146 here.

Upcoming AWS Events
Check your calendars and sign up for these AWS events:

Build On AWS - Generative AI#BuildOn Generative AI – Join our weekly live Build On Generative AI Twitch show. Every Monday morning, 9:00 US PT, my colleagues Emily and Darko take a look at aspects of generative AI. They host developers, scientists, startup founders, and AI leaders and discuss how to build generative AI applications on AWS.

In today’s episode, my colleague Chris walked us through an end-to-end ML pipeline from data ingestion to fine-tuning and deployment of generative AI models. You can watch the video here.

AWS Pi Day 2023 SmallAWS Pi Day – Join me on March 14 for the third annual AWS Pi Day live, virtual event hosted on the AWS On Air channel on Twitch as we celebrate the 17th birthday of Amazon S3 and the cloud.

We will discuss the latest innovations across AWS Data services, from storage to analytics and AI/ML. If you are curious about how AI can transform your business, register here and join my session.

AWS Innovate Data and AI/ML edition – AWS Innovate is a free online event to learn the latest from AWS experts and get step-by-step guidance on using AI/ML to drive fast, efficient, and measurable results. Register now for EMEA (March 9) and the Americas (March 14).

You can browse all upcoming AWS-led in-person, virtual events and developer focused events such as Community Days.

That’s all for this week. Check back next Monday for another Week in Review!

— Antje

This post is part of our Week in Review series. Check back each week for a quick roundup of interesting news and announcements from AWS!

How to improve security incident investigations using Amazon Detective finding groups

Post Syndicated from Anna McAbee original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/security/how-to-improve-security-incident-investigations-using-amazon-detective-finding-groups/

Uncovering the root cause of an Amazon GuardDuty finding can be a complex task, requiring security operations center (SOC) analysts to collect a variety of logs, correlate information across logs, and determine the full scope of affected resources.

Sometimes you need to do this type of in-depth analysis because investigating individual security findings in insolation doesn’t always capture the full impact of affected resources.

With Amazon Detective, you can analyze and visualize various logs and relationships between AWS entities to streamline your investigation. In this post, you will learn how to use a feature of Detective—finding groups—to simplify and expedite the investigation of a GuardDuty finding.

Detective uses machine learning, statistical analysis, and graph theory to generate visualizations that help you to conduct faster and more efficient security investigations. The finding groups feature reduces triage time and provides a clear view of related GuardDuty findings. With finding groups, you can investigate entities and security findings that might have been overlooked in isolation. Finding groups also map GuardDuty findings and their relevant tactics, techniques, and procedures to the MITRE ATT&CK framework. By using MITRE ATT&CK, you can better understand the event lifecycle of a finding group.

Finding groups are automatically enabled for both existing and new customers in AWS Regions that support Detective. There is no additional charge for finding groups. If you don’t currently use Detective, you can start a free 30-day trial.

Use finding groups to simplify an investigation

Because finding groups are enabled by default, you start your investigation by simply navigating to the Detective console. You will see these finding groups in two different places: the Summary and the Finding groups pages. On the Finding groups overview page, you can also use the search capability to look for collected metadata for finding groups, such as severity, title, finding group ID, observed tactics, AWS accounts, entities, finding ID, and status. The entities information can help you narrow down finding groups that are more relevant for specific workloads.

Figure 1 shows the finding groups area on the Summary page in the Amazon Detective console, which provides high-level information on some of the individual finding groups.

Figure 1: Detective console summary page

Figure 1: Detective console summary page

Figure 2 shows the Finding groups overview page, with a list of finding groups filtered by status. The finding group shown has a status of Active.

Figure 2: Detective console finding groups overview page

Figure 2: Detective console finding groups overview page

You can choose the finding group title to see details like the severity of the finding group, the status, scope time, parent or child finding groups, and the observed tactics from the MITRE ATT&CK framework. Figure 3 shows a specific finding group details page.

Figure 3: Detective console showing a specific finding group details page

Figure 3: Detective console showing a specific finding group details page

Below the finding group details, you can review the entities and associated findings for this finding group, as shown in Figure 4. From the Involved entities tab, you can pivot to the entity profile pages for more details about that entity’s behavior. From the Involved findings tab, you can select a finding to review the details pane.

Figure 4: Detective console showing involved entities of a finding group

Figure 4: Detective console showing involved entities of a finding group

In Figure 4, the search functionality on the Involved entities tab is being used to look at involved entities that are of type AWS role or EC2 instance. With such a search filter in Detective, you have more data in a single place to understand which Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances and AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) roles were involved in the GuardDuty finding and what findings were associated with each entity. You can also select these different entities to see more details. With finding groups, you no longer have to craft specific log searches or search for the AWS resources and entities that you should investigate. Detective has done this correlation for you, which reduces the triage time and provides a more comprehensive investigation.

With the release of finding groups, Detective infers relationships between findings and groups them together, providing a more convenient starting point for investigations. Detective has evolved from helping you determine which resources are related to a single entity (for example, what EC2 instances are communicating with a malicious IP), to correlating multiple related findings together and showing what MITRE tactics are aligned across those findings, helping you better understand a more advanced single security event.


In this blog post, we showed how you can use Detective finding groups to simplify security investigations through grouping related GuardDuty findings and AWS entities, which provides a more comprehensive view of the lifecycle of the potential security incident. Finding groups are automatically enabled for both existing and new customers in AWS Regions that support Detective. There is no additional charge for finding groups. If you don’t currently use Detective, you can start a free 30-day trial. For more information on finding groups, see Analyzing finding groups in the Amazon Detective User Guide.

If you have feedback about this post, submit comments in the Comments section below. You can also start a new thread on the Amazon Detective re:Post or contact AWS Support.

Want more AWS Security news? Follow us on Twitter.


Anna McAbee

Anna is a Security Specialist Solutions Architect focused on threat detection and incident response at AWS. Before AWS, she worked as an AWS customer in financial services on both the offensive and defensive sides of security. Outside of work, Anna enjoys cheering on the Florida Gators football team, wine tasting, and traveling the world.


Marshall Jones

Marshall is a Worldwide Security Specialist Solutions Architect at AWS. His background is in AWS consulting and security architecture, focused on a variety of security domains including edge, threat detection, and compliance. Today, he is focused on helping enterprise AWS customers adopt and operationalize AWS security services to increase security effectiveness and reduce risk.

Luis Pastor

Luis Pastor

Luis is a Security Specialist Solutions Architect focused on infrastructure security at AWS. Before AWS he worked with large and boutique system integrators, helping clients in an array of industries improve their security posture and reach and maintain compliance in hybrid environments. Luis enjoys keeping active, cooking and eating spicy food, specially Mexican cuisine.

AWS Week in Review – August 1, 2022

Post Syndicated from Jeff Barr original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/aws-week-in-review-august-1-2022/

AWS re:Inforce returned to Boston last week, kicking off with a keynote from Amazon Chief Security Officer Steve Schmidt and AWS Chief Information Security officer C.J. Moses:

Be sure to take some time to watch this video and the other leadership sessions, and to use what you learn to take some proactive steps to improve your security posture.

Last Week’s Launches
Here are some launches that caught my eye last week:

AWS Wickr uses 256-bit end-to-end encryption to deliver secure messaging, voice, and video calling, including file sharing and screen sharing, across desktop and mobile devices. Each call, message, and file is encrypted with a new random key and can be decrypted only by the intended recipient. AWS Wickr supports logging to a secure, customer-controlled data store for compliance and auditing, and offers full administrative control over data: permissions, ephemeral messaging options, and security groups. You can now sign up for the preview.

AWS Marketplace Vendor Insights helps AWS Marketplace sellers to make security and compliance data available through AWS Marketplace in the form of a unified, web-based dashboard. Designed to support governance, risk, and compliance teams, the dashboard also provides evidence that is backed by AWS Config and AWS Audit Manager assessments, external audit reports, and self-assessments from software vendors. To learn more, read the What’s New post.

GuardDuty Malware Protection protects Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS) volumes from malware. As Danilo describes in his blog post, a malware scan is initiated when Amazon GuardDuty detects that a workload running on an EC2 instance or in a container appears to be doing something suspicious. The new malware protection feature creates snapshots of the attached EBS volumes, restores them within a service account, and performs an in-depth scan for malware. The scanner supports many types of file systems and file formats and generates actionable security findings when malware is detected.

Amazon Neptune Global Database lets you build graph applications that run across multiple AWS Regions using a single graph database. You can deploy a primary Neptune cluster in one region and replicate its data to up to five secondary read-only database clusters, with up to 16 read replicas each. Clusters can recover in minutes in the result of an (unlikely) regional outage, with a Recovery Point Objective (RPO) of 1 second and a Recovery Time Objective (RTO) of 1 minute. To learn a lot more and see this new feature in action, read Introducing Amazon Neptune Global Database.

Amazon Detective now Supports Kubernetes Workloads, with the ability to scale to thousands of container deployments and millions of configuration changes per second. It ingests EKS audit logs to capture API activity from users, applications, and the EKS control plane, and correlates user activity with information gleaned from Amazon VPC flow logs. As Channy notes in his blog post, you can enable Amazon Detective and take advantage of a free 30 day trial of the EKS capabilities.

AWS SSO is Now AWS IAM Identity Center in order to better represent the full set of workforce and account management capabilities that are part of IAM. You can create user identities directly in IAM Identity Center, or you can connect your existing Active Directory or standards-based identify provider. To learn more, read this post from the AWS Security Blog.

AWS Config Conformance Packs now provide you with percentage-based scores that will help you track resource compliance within the scope of the resources addressed by the pack. Scores are computed based on the product of the number of resources and the number of rules, and are reported to Amazon CloudWatch so that you can track compliance trends over time. To learn more about how scores are computed, read the What’s New post.

Amazon Macie now lets you perform one-click temporary retrieval of sensitive data that Macie has discovered in an S3 bucket. You can retrieve up to ten examples at a time, and use these findings to accelerate your security investigations. All of the data that is retrieved and displayed in the Macie console is encrypted using customer-managed AWS Key Management Service (AWS KMS) keys. To learn more, read the What’s New post.

AWS Control Tower was updated multiple times last week. CloudTrail Organization Logging creates an org-wide trail in your management account to automatically log the actions of all member accounts in your organization. Control Tower now reduces redundant AWS Config items by limiting recording of global resources to home regions. To take advantage of this change you need to update to the latest landing zone version and then re-register each Organizational Unit, as detailed in the What’s New post. Lastly, Control Tower’s region deny guardrail now includes AWS API endpoints for AWS Chatbot, Amazon S3 Storage Lens, and Amazon S3 Multi Region Access Points. This allows you to limit access to AWS services and operations for accounts enrolled in your AWS Control Tower environment.

For a full list of AWS announcements, be sure to keep an eye on the What’s New at AWS page.

Other AWS News
Here are some other news items and customer stories that you may find interesting:

AWS Open Source News and Updates – My colleague Ricardo Sueiras writes a weekly open source newsletter and highlights new open source projects, tools, and demos from the AWS community. Read installment #122 here.

Growy Case Study – This Netherlands-based company is building fully-automated robot-based vertical farms that grow plants to order. Read the case study to learn how they use AWS IoT and other services to monitor and control light, temperature, CO2, and humidity to maximize yield and quality.

Journey of a Snap on Snapchat – This video shows you how a snapshot flows end-to-end from your camera to AWS, to your friends. With over 300 million daily active users, Snap takes advantage of Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS), Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), Amazon CloudFront, and many other AWS services, storing over 400 terabytes of data in DynamoDB and managing over 900 EKS clusters.

Cutting Cardboard Waste – Bin packing is almost certainly a part of every computer science curriculum! In the linked article from the Amazon Science site, you can learn how an Amazon Principal Research Scientist developed PackOpt to figure out the optimal set of boxes to use for shipments from Amazon’s global network of fulfillment centers. This is an NP-hard problem and the article describes how they build a parallelized solution that explores a multitude of alternative solutions, all running on AWS.

Upcoming Events
Check your calendar and sign up for these online and in-person AWS events:

AWS SummitAWS Global Summits – AWS Global Summits are free events that bring the cloud computing community together to connect, collaborate, and learn about AWS. Registrations are open for the following AWS Summits in August:

Imagine Conference 2022IMAGINE 2022 – The IMAGINE 2022 conference will take place on August 3 at the Seattle Convention Center, Washington, USA. It’s a no-cost event that brings together education, state, and local leaders to learn about the latest innovations and best practices in the cloud. You can register here.

That’s all for this week. Check back next Monday for another Week in Review!


This post is part of our Week in Review series. Check back each week for a quick roundup of interesting news and announcements from AWS!

New for Amazon GuardDuty – Malware Detection for Amazon EBS Volumes

Post Syndicated from Danilo Poccia original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/new-for-amazon-guardduty-malware-detection-for-amazon-ebs-volumes/

With Amazon GuardDuty, you can monitor your AWS accounts and workloads to detect malicious activity. Today, we are adding to GuardDuty the capability to detect malware. Malware is malicious software that is used to compromise workloads, repurpose resources, or gain unauthorized access to data. When you have GuardDuty Malware Protection enabled, a malware scan is initiated when GuardDuty detects that one of your EC2 instances or container workloads running on EC2 is doing something suspicious. For example, a malware scan is triggered when an EC2 instance is communicating with a command-and-control server that is known to be malicious or is performing denial of service (DoS) or brute-force attacks against other EC2 instances.

GuardDuty supports many file system types and scans file formats known to be used to spread or contain malware, including Windows and Linux executables, PDF files, archives, binaries, scripts, installers, email databases, and plain emails.

When potential malware is identified, actionable security findings are generated with information such as the threat and file name, the file path, the EC2 instance ID, resource tags and, in the case of containers, the container ID and the container image used. GuardDuty supports container workloads running on EC2, including customer-managed Kubernetes clusters or individual Docker containers. If the container is managed by Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) or Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS), the findings also include the cluster name and the task or pod ID so application and security teams can quickly find the affected container resources.

As with all other GuardDuty findings, malware detections are sent to the GuardDuty console, pushed through Amazon EventBridge, routed to AWS Security Hub, and made available in Amazon Detective for incident investigation.

How GuardDuty Malware Protection Works
When you enable malware protection, you set up an AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) service-linked role that grants GuardDuty permissions to perform malware scans. When a malware scan is initiated for an EC2 instance, GuardDuty Malware Protection uses those permissions to take a snapshot of the attached Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS) volumes that are less than 1 TB in size and then restore the EBS volumes in an AWS service account in the same AWS Region to scan them for malware. You can use tagging to include or exclude EC2 instances from those permissions and from scanning. In this way, you don’t need to deploy security software or agents to monitor for malware, and scanning the volumes doesn’t impact running workloads. The EBS volumes in the service account and the snapshots in your account are deleted after the scan. Optionally, you can preserve the snapshots when malware is detected.

The service-linked role grants GuardDuty access to AWS Key Management Service (AWS KMS) keys used to encrypt EBS volumes. If the EBS volumes attached to a potentially compromised EC2 instance are encrypted with a customer-managed key, GuardDuty Malware Protection uses the same key to encrypt the replica EBS volumes as well. If the volumes are not encrypted, GuardDuty uses its own key to encrypt the replica EBS volumes and ensure privacy. Volumes encrypted with EBS-managed keys are not supported.

Security in cloud is a shared responsibility between you and AWS. As a guardrail, the service-linked role used by GuardDuty Malware Protection cannot perform any operation on your resources (such as EBS snapshots and volumes, EC2 instances, and KMS keys) if it has the GuardDutyExcluded tag. Once you mark your snapshots with GuardDutyExcluded set to true, the GuardDuty service won’t be able to access these snapshots. The GuardDutyExcluded tag supersedes any inclusion tag. Permissions also restrict how GuardDuty can modify your snapshot so that they cannot be made public while shared with the GuardDuty service account.

The EBS volumes created by GuardDuty are always encrypted. GuardDuty can use KMS keys only on EBS snapshots that have a GuardDuty scan ID tag. The scan ID tag is added by GuardDuty when snapshots are created after an EC2 finding. The KMS keys that are shared with GuardDuty service account cannot be invoked from any other context except the Amazon EBS service. Once the scan completes successfully, the KMS key grant is revoked and the volume replica in GuardDuty service account is deleted, making sure GuardDuty service cannot access your data after completing the scan operation.

Enabling Malware Protection for an AWS Account
If you’re not using GuardDuty yet, Malware Protection is enabled by default when you activate GuardDuty for your account. Because I am already using GuardDuty, I need to enable Malware Protection from the console. If you’re using AWS Organizations, your delegated administrator accounts can enable this for existing member accounts and configure if new AWS accounts in the organization should be automatically enrolled.

In the GuardDuty console, I choose Malware Protection under Settings in the navigation pane. There, I choose Enable and then Enable Malware Protection.

Console screenshot.

Snapshots are automatically deleted after they are scanned. In General settings, I have the option to retain in my AWS account the snapshots where malware is detected and have them available for further analysis.

Console screenshot.

In Scan options, I can configure a list of inclusion tags, so that only EC2 instances with those tags are scanned, or exclusion tags, so that EC2 instances with tags in the list are skipped.

Console screenshot.

Testing Malware Protection GuardDuty Findings
To generate several Amazon GuardDuty findings, including the new Malware Protection findings, I clone the Amazon GuardDuty Tester repo:

$ git clone https://github.com/awslabs/amazon-guardduty-tester

First, I create an AWS CloudFormation stack using the guardduty-tester.template file. When the stack is ready, I follow the instructions to configure my SSH client to log in to the tester instance through the bastion host. Then, I connect to the tester instance:

$ ssh tester

From the tester instance, I start the guardduty_tester.sh script to generate the findings:

$ ./guardduty_tester.sh 

* Test #1 - Internal port scanning                                    *
* This simulates internal reconaissance by an internal actor or an   *
* external actor after an initial compromise. This is considered a    *
* low priority finding for GuardDuty because its not a clear indicator*
* of malicious intent on its own.                                     *

Starting Nmap 6.40 ( http://nmap.org ) at 2022-05-19 09:36 UTC
Nmap scan report for ip-172-16-0-20.us-west-2.compute.internal (
Host is up (0.00032s latency).
Not shown: 997 filtered ports
22/tcp   open   ssh
80/tcp   closed http
5050/tcp closed mmcc
MAC Address: 06:25:CB:F4:E0:51 (Unknown)

Nmap done: 1 IP address (1 host up) scanned in 4.96 seconds


* Test #2 - SSH Brute Force with Compromised Keys                     *
* This simulates an SSH brute force attack on an SSH port that we    *
* can access from this instance. It uses (phony) compromised keys in  *
* many subsequent attempts to see if one works. This is a common      *
* techique where the bad actors will harvest keys from the web in     *
* places like source code repositories where people accidentally leave*
* keys and credentials (This attempt will not actually succeed in     *
* obtaining access to the target linux instance in this subnet)       *

2022-05-19 09:36:29 START
2022-05-19 09:36:29 Crowbar v0.4.3-dev
2022-05-19 09:36:29 Trying
2022-05-19 09:36:33 STOP
2022-05-19 09:36:33 No results found...
2022-05-19 09:36:33 START
2022-05-19 09:36:33 Crowbar v0.4.3-dev
2022-05-19 09:36:33 Trying
2022-05-19 09:36:37 STOP
2022-05-19 09:36:37 No results found...
2022-05-19 09:36:37 START
2022-05-19 09:36:37 Crowbar v0.4.3-dev
2022-05-19 09:36:37 Trying
2022-05-19 09:36:41 STOP
2022-05-19 09:36:41 No results found...
2022-05-19 09:36:41 START
2022-05-19 09:36:41 Crowbar v0.4.3-dev
2022-05-19 09:36:41 Trying
2022-05-19 09:36:45 STOP
2022-05-19 09:36:45 No results found...
2022-05-19 09:36:45 START
2022-05-19 09:36:45 Crowbar v0.4.3-dev
2022-05-19 09:36:45 Trying
2022-05-19 09:36:48 STOP
2022-05-19 09:36:48 No results found...
2022-05-19 09:36:49 START
2022-05-19 09:36:49 Crowbar v0.4.3-dev
2022-05-19 09:36:49 Trying
2022-05-19 09:36:52 STOP
2022-05-19 09:36:52 No results found...
2022-05-19 09:36:52 START
2022-05-19 09:36:52 Crowbar v0.4.3-dev
2022-05-19 09:36:52 Trying
2022-05-19 09:36:56 STOP
2022-05-19 09:36:56 No results found...
2022-05-19 09:36:56 START
2022-05-19 09:36:56 Crowbar v0.4.3-dev
2022-05-19 09:36:56 Trying
2022-05-19 09:37:00 STOP
2022-05-19 09:37:00 No results found...
2022-05-19 09:37:00 START
2022-05-19 09:37:00 Crowbar v0.4.3-dev
2022-05-19 09:37:00 Trying
2022-05-19 09:37:04 STOP
2022-05-19 09:37:04 No results found...
2022-05-19 09:37:04 START
2022-05-19 09:37:04 Crowbar v0.4.3-dev
2022-05-19 09:37:04 Trying
2022-05-19 09:37:08 STOP
2022-05-19 09:37:08 No results found...
2022-05-19 09:37:08 START
2022-05-19 09:37:08 Crowbar v0.4.3-dev
2022-05-19 09:37:08 Trying
2022-05-19 09:37:12 STOP
2022-05-19 09:37:12 No results found...
2022-05-19 09:37:12 START
2022-05-19 09:37:12 Crowbar v0.4.3-dev
2022-05-19 09:37:12 Trying
2022-05-19 09:37:16 STOP
2022-05-19 09:37:16 No results found...
2022-05-19 09:37:16 START
2022-05-19 09:37:16 Crowbar v0.4.3-dev
2022-05-19 09:37:16 Trying
2022-05-19 09:37:20 STOP
2022-05-19 09:37:20 No results found...
2022-05-19 09:37:20 START
2022-05-19 09:37:20 Crowbar v0.4.3-dev
2022-05-19 09:37:20 Trying
2022-05-19 09:37:23 STOP
2022-05-19 09:37:23 No results found...
2022-05-19 09:37:23 START
2022-05-19 09:37:23 Crowbar v0.4.3-dev
2022-05-19 09:37:23 Trying
2022-05-19 09:37:27 STOP
2022-05-19 09:37:27 No results found...
2022-05-19 09:37:27 START
2022-05-19 09:37:27 Crowbar v0.4.3-dev
2022-05-19 09:37:27 Trying
2022-05-19 09:37:31 STOP
2022-05-19 09:37:31 No results found...
2022-05-19 09:37:31 START
2022-05-19 09:37:31 Crowbar v0.4.3-dev
2022-05-19 09:37:31 Trying
2022-05-19 09:37:34 STOP
2022-05-19 09:37:34 No results found...
2022-05-19 09:37:35 START
2022-05-19 09:37:35 Crowbar v0.4.3-dev
2022-05-19 09:37:35 Trying
2022-05-19 09:37:38 STOP
2022-05-19 09:37:38 No results found...
2022-05-19 09:37:38 START
2022-05-19 09:37:38 Crowbar v0.4.3-dev
2022-05-19 09:37:38 Trying
2022-05-19 09:37:42 STOP
2022-05-19 09:37:42 No results found...
2022-05-19 09:37:42 START
2022-05-19 09:37:42 Crowbar v0.4.3-dev
2022-05-19 09:37:42 Trying
2022-05-19 09:37:46 STOP
2022-05-19 09:37:46 No results found...


* Test #3 - RDP Brute Force with Password List                        *
* This simulates an RDP brute force attack on the internal RDP port  *
* of the windows server that we installed in the environment.  It uses*
* a list of common passwords that can be found on the web. This test  *
* will trigger a detection, but will fail to get into the target      *
* windows instance.                                                   *

Sending 250 password attempts at the windows server...
Hydra v9.4-dev (c) 2022 by van Hauser/THC & David Maciejak - Please do not use in military or secret service organizations, or for illegal purposes (this is non-binding, these *** ignore laws and ethics anyway).

Hydra (https://github.com/vanhauser-thc/thc-hydra) starting at 2022-05-19 09:37:46
[WARNING] rdp servers often don't like many connections, use -t 1 or -t 4 to reduce the number of parallel connections and -W 1 or -W 3 to wait between connection to allow the server to recover
[INFO] Reduced number of tasks to 4 (rdp does not like many parallel connections)
[WARNING] the rdp module is experimental. Please test, report - and if possible, fix.
[DATA] max 4 tasks per 1 server, overall 4 tasks, 1792 login tries (l:7/p:256), ~448 tries per task
[DATA] attacking rdp://
[STATUS] 1099.00 tries/min, 1099 tries in 00:01h, 693 to do in 00:01h, 4 active
1 of 1 target completed, 0 valid password found
Hydra (https://github.com/vanhauser-thc/thc-hydra) finished at 2022-05-19 09:39:23


* Test #4 - CryptoCurrency Mining Activity                            *
* This simulates interaction with a cryptocurrency mining pool which *
* can be an indication of an instance compromise. In this case, we are*
* only interacting with the URL of the pool, but not downloading      *
* any files. This will trigger a threat intel based detection.        *

Calling bitcoin wallets to download mining toolkits


* Test #5 - DNS Exfiltration                                          *
* A common exfiltration technique is to tunnel data out over DNS      *
* to a fake domain.  Its an effective technique because most hosts    *
* have outbound DNS ports open.  This test wont exfiltrate any data,  *
* but it will generate enough unusual DNS activity to trigger the     *
* detection.                                                          *

Calling large numbers of large domains to simulate tunneling via DNS

* Test #6 - Fake domain to prove that GuardDuty is working            *
* This is a permanent fake domain that customers can use to prove that*
* GuardDuty is working.  Calling this domain will always generate the *
* Backdoor:EC2/C&CActivity.B!DNS finding type                         *

Calling a well known fake domain that is used to generate a known finding

; <<>> DiG 9.11.4-P2-RedHat-9.11.4-26.P2.amzn2.5.2 <<>> GuardDutyC2ActivityB.com any
;; global options: +cmd
;; Got answer:
;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: NOERROR, id: 11495
;; flags: qr rd ra; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 8, AUTHORITY: 0, ADDITIONAL: 1

; EDNS: version: 0, flags:; udp: 4096
;GuardDutyC2ActivityB.com.	IN	ANY

GuardDutyC2ActivityB.com. 6943	IN	SOA	ns1.markmonitor.com. hostmaster.markmonitor.com. 2018091906 86400 3600 2592000 172800
GuardDutyC2ActivityB.com. 6943	IN	NS	ns3.markmonitor.com.
GuardDutyC2ActivityB.com. 6943	IN	NS	ns5.markmonitor.com.
GuardDutyC2ActivityB.com. 6943	IN	NS	ns7.markmonitor.com.
GuardDutyC2ActivityB.com. 6943	IN	NS	ns2.markmonitor.com.
GuardDutyC2ActivityB.com. 6943	IN	NS	ns4.markmonitor.com.
GuardDutyC2ActivityB.com. 6943	IN	NS	ns6.markmonitor.com.
GuardDutyC2ActivityB.com. 6943	IN	NS	ns1.markmonitor.com.

;; Query time: 27 msec
;; WHEN: Thu May 19 09:39:23 UTC 2022
;; MSG SIZE  rcvd: 238

Expected GuardDuty Findings

Test 1: Internal Port Scanning
Expected Finding: EC2 Instance  i-011e73af27562827b  is performing outbound port scans against remote host.
Finding Type: Recon:EC2/Portscan

Test 2: SSH Brute Force with Compromised Keys
Expecting two findings - one for the outbound and one for the inbound detection
Outbound:  i-011e73af27562827b  is performing SSH brute force attacks against
Inbound:  is performing SSH brute force attacks against  i-0bada13e0aa12d383
Finding Type: UnauthorizedAccess:EC2/SSHBruteForce

Test 3: RDP Brute Force with Password List
Expecting two findings - one for the outbound and one for the inbound detection
Outbound:  i-011e73af27562827b  is performing RDP brute force attacks against
Inbound:  is performing RDP brute force attacks against  i-0191573dec3b66924
Finding Type : UnauthorizedAccess:EC2/RDPBruteForce

Test 4: Cryptocurrency Activity
Expected Finding: EC2 Instance  i-011e73af27562827b  is querying a domain name that is associated with bitcoin activity
Finding Type : CryptoCurrency:EC2/BitcoinTool.B!DNS

Test 5: DNS Exfiltration
Expected Finding: EC2 instance  i-011e73af27562827b  is attempting to query domain names that resemble exfiltrated data
Finding Type : Trojan:EC2/DNSDataExfiltration

Test 6: C&C Activity
Expected Finding: EC2 instance  i-011e73af27562827b  is querying a domain name associated with a known Command & Control server. 
Finding Type : Backdoor:EC2/C&CActivity.B!DNS

After a few minutes, the findings appear in the GuardDuty console. At the top, I see the malicious files found by the new Malware Protection capability. One of the findings is related to an EC2 instance, the other to an ECS cluster.

Console screenshot.

First, I select the finding related to the EC2 instance. In the panel, I see the information on the instance and the malicious file, such as the file name and path. In the Malware scan details section, the Trigger finding ID points to the original GuardDuty finding that triggered the malware scan. In my case, the original finding was that this EC2 instance was performing RDP brute force attacks against another EC2 instance.

Console screenshot.

Here, I choose Investigate with Detective and, directly from the GuardDuty console, I go to the Detective console to visualize AWS CloudTrail and Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC) flow data for the EC2 instance, the AWS account, and the IP address affected by the finding. Using Detective, I can analyze, investigate, and identify the root cause of suspicious activities found by GuardDuty.

Console screenshot.

When I select the finding related to the ECS cluster, I have more information on the resource affected, such as the details of the ECS cluster, the task, the containers, and the container images.

Console screenshot.

Using the GuardDuty tester scripts makes it easier to test the overall integration of GuardDuty with other security frameworks you use so that you can be ready when a real threat is detected.

Comparing GuardDuty Malware Protection with Amazon Inspector
At this point, you might ask yourself how GuardDuty Malware Protection relates to Amazon Inspector, a service that scans AWS workloads for software vulnerabilities and unintended network exposure. The two services complement each other and offer different layers of protection:

  • Amazon Inspector offers proactive protection by identifying and remediating known software and application vulnerabilities that serve as an entry point for attackers to compromise resources and install malware.
  • GuardDuty Malware Protection detects malware that is found to be present on actively running workloads. At that point, the system has already been compromised, but GuardDuty can limit the time of an infection and take action before a system compromise results in a business-impacting event.

Availability and Pricing
Amazon GuardDuty Malware Protection is available today in all AWS Regions where GuardDuty is available, excluding the AWS China (Beijing), AWS China (Ningxia), AWS GovCloud (US-East), and AWS GovCloud (US-West) Regions.

At launch, GuardDuty Malware Protection is integrated with these partner offerings:

With GuardDuty, you don’t need to deploy security software or agents to monitor for malware. You only pay for the amount of GB scanned in the file systems (not for the size of the EBS volumes) and for the EBS snapshots during the time they are kept in your account. All EBS snapshots created by GuardDuty are automatically deleted after they are scanned unless you enable snapshot retention when malware is found. For more information, see GuardDuty pricing and EBS pricing. Note that GuardDuty only scans EBS volumes less than 1 TB in size. To help you control costs and avoid repeating alarms, the same volume is not scanned more often than once every 24 hours.

Detect malicious activity and protect your applications from malware with Amazon GuardDuty.


Amazon Detective Supports Kubernetes Workloads on Amazon EKS for Security Investigations

Post Syndicated from Channy Yun original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/amazon-detective-supports-kubernetes-workloads-on-amazon-eks-for-security-investigations/

In March 2020, we introduced Amazon Detective, a fully managed service that makes it easy to analyze, investigate, and quickly identify the root cause of potential security issues or suspicious activities.

Amazon Detective continuously extracts temporal events such as login attempts, API calls, and network traffic from Amazon GuardDutyAWS CloudTrail, and Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC) Flow Logs into a graph model that summarizes the resource behaviors and interactions observed across your entire AWS environment. We have added new features such as AWS IAM Role session analysis, enhanced IP address analytics, Splunk integration, Amazon S3 and DNS finding types, and the support of AWS Organizations.

Customers are rapidly moving to containers to deploy Kubernetes workloads with Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS). Its highly programmatic nature allows thousands of individual container deployments and millions of configuration changes to occur in seconds. To effectively secure EKS workloads, it is important to monitor container deployments and configurations that are captured in the form of EKS audit logs and to correlate activities to user activity and network traffic happening across AWS accounts.

Today we announce new capabilities in Amazon Detective to expand security investigation coverage for Kubernetes workloads running on Amazon EKS. When you enable this new feature, Amazon Detective automatically starts ingesting EKS audit logs to capture chronological API activity from users, applications, and the control plane in Amazon EKS for clusters, pods, container images, and Kubernetes subjects (Kubernetes users and service accounts).

Detective automatically correlates user activity using CloudTrail, and network activity using Amazon VPC Flow logs, without the need for you to enable, store, or retain logs manually. The service gleans key security information from these logs and retains them in a security behavioral graph database that enables fast cross-referenced access to twelve months of activity. Detective provides a data analysis and visualization layer purpose-built to answer common security questions backed by a behavioral graph database that allows you to quickly investigate potential malicious behavior associated with your EKS workloads.

You can rapidly respond to security issues rather than focusing on log management, operational systems, or ongoing security tooling maintenance. Detective’s EKS capabilities come with a free 30-day trial for all customers that allows you to ensure that the capabilities meet your needs and to fully understand the cost for the service on an ongoing basis.

Getting Started with Security Investigations for EKS Audit Logs
To get started, enable Amazon Detective with just a few clicks in the AWS Management Console. GuardDuty is a prerequisite of Amazon Detective. When you try to enable Detective, Detective checks whether GuardDuty has been enabled for your account. You must either enable GuardDuty or wait for 48 hours. This allows GuardDuty to assess the data volume that your account produces.

You can enable your account by attaching the AWS IAM policy or delegate it to an administrator of your organization. To learn more, refer to Setting up Detective in the AWS documentation.

To enable EKS support in Detective as an existing customer, navigate to the Settings menu in the left panel and select General. Under Optional source packages, enable EKS audit logs.

If you are a new customer of Detective, the EKS protection feature will be enabled by default. If you do not want to trial EKS audit logs right away, you can disable this feature within the first week of enabling Detective and preserve the full 30-day free trial period to use in the future.

Once enabled, Detective will begin monitoring the Kubernetes audit logs that are generated by Amazon EKS, extracting and correlating information for security usage. You do not need to enable any log sources or make any configuration changes to your existing EKS clusters or future deployments.

You can see recent monitoring results of your EKS clusters on the Summary page.

When you choose one of the EKS clusters, you will see the details of containers running in the cluster, Kubernetes API activities, and network activities that occurred on this resource around the scope time.

In the Overview tab, you also see details about all containers running in the cluster, including their pod, image and security context.

In the Kubernetes API activity tab, you can get an overview of the full API activities involving the EKS cluster. You can choose a time range to drill down based on specific API methods within the EKS cluster. When you select a specific time, you can see API subjects, IP addresses, and the number of API calls by the success, failure, unauthorized, or forbidden state.

You can also see details of newly observed Kubernetes API calls  inside this cluster for the first time and subjects with increased volume that happened inside the cluster.

Enabling GuardDuty EKS Protection
In January 2022, Amazon GuardDuty expanded coverage to EKS cluster activity to identify malicious or suspicious behavior that represents potential threats to container workloads.

When the optional GuardDuty EKS Protection is enabled, GuardDuty will continuously monitor your EKS deployments and alert you to threats detected in your workloads. You can view and investigate these security findings in Detective.

With Detective for EKS enabled, you can quickly access information about the resources involved in the finding, such as their CloudTrail and Kubernetes API activity, and netflow information. This can aid in investigation and help you determine root cause, impact, and other related resources that may also be compromised.

To learn more, see How to use new Amazon GuardDuty EKS Protection findings in the AWS Security Blog.

Now Available
You can now use Amazon Detective for EKS protection in all Regions where Amazon Detective is available. This feature is priced based on the volume of audit logs processed and analyzed by Detective.

Detective provides a free 30-day trial to all customers that enable EKS coverage, allowing customers to ensure that Detective’s capabilities meet security needs and to get an estimate of the service’s monthly cost before committing to paid usage. To learn more, see the Detective pricing page.

For technical documentation, visit the Amazon Detective User Guide. Please send feedback to AWS re:Post for Amazon Detective or through your usual AWS support contacts.

Learn all the details about Amazon Detective for EKS protection and get started today.


Top 2021 AWS Security service launches security professionals should review – Part 1

Post Syndicated from Ryan Holland original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/security/top-2021-aws-security-service-launches-part-1/

Given the speed of Amazon Web Services (AWS) innovation, it can sometimes be challenging to keep up with AWS Security service and feature launches. To help you stay current, here’s an overview of some of the most important 2021 AWS Security launches that security professionals should be aware of. This is the first of two related posts; Part 2 will highlight some of the important 2021 launches that security professionals should be aware of across all AWS services.

Amazon GuardDuty

In 2021, the threat detection service Amazon GuardDuty expanded the internal AWS security intelligence it consumes to use more of the intel that AWS internal threat detection teams collect, including additional nation-state threat intelligence. Sharing more of the important intel that internal AWS teams collect lets you quickly improve your protection. GuardDuty also launched domain reputation modeling. These machine learning models take all the domain requests from across all of AWS, and feed them into a model that allows AWS to categorize previously unseen domains as highly likely to be malicious or benign based on their behavioral characteristics. In practice, AWS is seeing that these models often deliver high-fidelity threat detections, identifying malicious domains 7–14 days before they are identified and available on commercial threat feeds.

AWS also launched second generation anomaly detection for GuardDuty. Shortly after the original GuardDuty launch in 2017, AWS added additional anomaly detection for user behavior analytics and monitoring for unusual activity of AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) users. After receiving customer feedback that the original feature was a little too noisy, and that it was difficult to understand why some findings were generated, the GuardDuty analytics team rebuilt this functionality on an entirely new machine learning model, considerably reducing the number of detections and generating a more accurate positive-detection rate. The new model also added additional context that security professionals (such as analysts) can use to understand why the model shows findings as suspicious or unusual.

Since its introduction, GuardDuty has detected when AWS EC2 Role credentials are used to call AWS APIs from IP addresses outside of AWS. Beginning in early 2022, GuardDuty now supports detection when credentials are used from other AWS accounts, inside the AWS network. This is a complex problem for customers to solve on their own, which is why the GuardDuty team added this enhancement. The solution considers that there are legitimate reasons why a source IP address that is communicating with AWS services APIs might be different than the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instance IP address, or a NAT gateway associated with the instance’s VPC. The enhancement also considers complex network topologies that route traffic to one or multiple VPCs—for example, AWS Transit Gateway or AWS Direct Connect.

Our customers are increasingly running container workloads in production; helping to raise the security posture of these workloads became an AWS development priority in 2021. GuardDuty for EKS Protection is one recent feature that has resulted from this investment. This new GuardDuty feature monitors Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS) cluster control plane activity by analyzing Kubernetes audit logs. GuardDuty is integrated with Amazon EKS, giving it direct access to the Kubernetes audit logs without requiring you to turn on or store these logs. Once a threat is detected, GuardDuty generates a security finding that includes container details such as pod ID, container image ID, and associated tags. See below for details on how the new Amazon Inspector is also helping to protect containers.

Amazon Inspector

At AWS re:Invent 2021, we launched the new Amazon Inspector, a vulnerability management service that continually scans AWS workloads for software vulnerabilities and unintended network exposure. The original Amazon Inspector was completely re-architected in this release to automate vulnerability management and to deliver near real-time findings to minimize the time needed to discover new vulnerabilities. This new Amazon Inspector has simple one-click enablement and multi-account support using AWS Organizations, similar to our other AWS Security services. This launch also introduces a more accurate vulnerability risk score, called the Inspector score. The Inspector score is a highly contextualized risk score that is generated for each finding by correlating Common Vulnerability and Exposures (CVE) metadata with environmental factors for resources such as network accessibility. This makes it easier for you to identify and prioritize your most critical vulnerabilities for immediate remediation. One of the most important new capabilities is that Amazon Inspector automatically discovers running EC2 instances and container images residing in Amazon Elastic Container Registry (Amazon ECR), at any scale, and immediately starts assessing them for known vulnerabilities. Now you can consolidate your vulnerability management solutions for both Amazon EC2 and Amazon ECR into one fully managed service.

AWS Security Hub

In addition to a significant number of smaller enhancements throughout 2021, in October AWS Security Hub, an AWS cloud security posture management service, addressed a top customer enhancement request by adding support for cross-Region finding aggregation. You can now view all your findings from all accounts and all selected Regions in a single console view, and act on them from an Amazon EventBridge feed in a single account and Region. Looking back at 2021, Security Hub added 72 additional best practice checks, four new AWS service integrations, and 13 new external partner integrations. A few of these integrations are Atlassian Jira Service Management, Forcepoint Cloud Security Gateway (CSG), and Amazon Macie. Security Hub also achieved FedRAMP High authorization to enable security posture management for high-impact workloads.

Amazon Macie

Based on customer feedback, data discovery tool Amazon Macie launched a number of enhancements in 2021. One new feature, which made it easier to manage Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) buckets for sensitive data, was criteria-based bucket selection. This Macie feature allows you to define runtime criteria to determine which S3 buckets should be included in a sensitive data-discovery job. When a job runs, Macie identifies the S3 buckets that match your criteria, and automatically adds or removes them from the job’s scope. Before this feature, once a job was configured, it was immutable. Now, for example, you can create a policy where if a bucket becomes public in the future, it’s automatically added to the scan, and similarly, if a bucket is no longer public, it will no longer be included in the daily scan.

Originally Macie included all managed data identifiers available for all scans. However, customers wanted more surgical search criteria. For example, they didn’t want to be informed if there were exposed data types in a particular environment. In September 2021, Macie launched the ability to enable/disable managed data identifiers. This allows you to customize the data types you deem sensitive and would like Macie to alert on, in accordance with your organization’s data governance and privacy needs.

Amazon Detective

Amazon Detective is a service to analyze and visualize security findings and related data to rapidly get to the root cause of potential security issues. In January 2021, Amazon Detective added a convenient, time-saving integration that allows you to start security incident investigation workflows directly from the GuardDuty console. This new hyperlink pivot in the GuardDuty console takes findings directly from the GuardDuty console into the Detective console. Another time-saving capability added was the IP address drill down functionality. This new capability can be useful to security forensic teams performing incident investigations, because it helps quickly determine the communications that took place from an EC2 instance under investigation before, during, and after an event.

In December 2021, Detective added support for AWS Organizations to simplify management for security operations and investigations across all existing and future accounts in an organization. This launch allows new and existing Detective customers to onboard and centrally manage the Detective graph database for up to 1,200 AWS accounts.

AWS Key Management Service

In June 2021, AWS Key Management Service (AWS KMS) introduced multi-Region keys, a capability that lets you replicate keys from one AWS Region into another. With multi-Region keys, you can more easily move encrypted data between Regions without having to decrypt and re-encrypt with different keys for each Region. Multi-Region keys are supported for client-side encryption using direct AWS KMS API calls, or in a simplified manner with the AWS Encryption SDK and Amazon DynamoDB Encryption Client.

AWS Secrets Manager

Last year was a busy year for AWS Secrets Manager, with four feature launches to make it easier to manage secrets at scale, not just for client applications, but also for platforms. In March 2021, Secrets Manager launched multi-Region secrets to automatically replicate secrets for multi-Region workloads. Also in March, Secrets Manager added three new rules to AWS Config, to help administrators verify that secrets in Secrets Manager are configured according to organizational requirements. Then in April 2021, Secrets Manager added a CSI driver plug-in, to make it easy to consume secrets from Amazon EKS by using Kubernetes’s standard Secrets Store interface. In November, Secrets Manager introduced a higher secret limit of 500,000 per account to simplify secrets management for independent software vendors (ISVs) that rely on unique secrets for a large number of end customers. Although launched in January 2022, it’s also worth mentioning Secrets Manager’s release of rotation windows to align automatic rotation of secrets with application maintenance windows.

Amazon CodeGuru and Secrets Manager

In November 2021, AWS announced a new secrets detector feature in Amazon CodeGuru that searches your codebase for hardcoded secrets. Amazon CodeGuru is a developer tool powered by machine learning that provides intelligent recommendations to detect security vulnerabilities, improve code quality, and identify an application’s most expensive lines of code.

This new feature can pinpoint locations in your code with usernames and passwords; database connection strings, tokens, and API keys from AWS; and other service providers. When a secret is found in your code, CodeGuru Reviewer provides an actionable recommendation that links to AWS Secrets Manager, where developers can secure the secret with a point-and-click experience.

Looking ahead for 2022

AWS will continue to deliver experiences in 2022 that meet administrators where they govern, developers where they code, and applications where they run. A lot of customers are moving to container and serverless workloads; you can expect to see more work on this in 2022. You can also expect to see more work around integrations, like CodeGuru Secrets Detector identifying plaintext secrets in code (as noted previously).

To stay up-to-date in the year ahead on the latest product and feature launches and security use cases, be sure to read the Security service launch announcements. Additionally, stay tuned to the AWS Security Blog for Part 2 of this blog series, which will provide an overview of some of the important 2021 launches that security professionals should be aware of across all AWS services.

If you’re looking for more opportunities to learn about AWS security services, check out AWS re:Inforce, the AWS conference focused on cloud security, identity, privacy, and compliance, which will take place June 28-29 in Houston, Texas.

If you have feedback about this post, submit comments in the Comments section below. If you have questions about this post, contact AWS Support.

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Ryan Holland

Ryan is a Senior Manager with GuardDuty Security Response. His team is responsible for ensuring GuardDuty provides the best security value to customers, including threat intelligence, behavioral analytics, and finding quality.


Marta Taggart

Marta is a Seattle-native and Senior Product Marketing Manager in AWS Security Product Marketing, where she focuses on data protection services. Outside of work you’ll find her trying to convince Jack, her rescue dog, not to chase squirrels and crows (with limited success).

Simplify setup of Amazon Detective with AWS Organizations

Post Syndicated from Karthik Ram original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/security/simplify-setup-of-amazon-detective-with-aws-organizations/

Amazon Detective makes it easy to analyze, investigate, and quickly identify the root cause of potential security issues or suspicious activities by collecting log data from your AWS resources. Amazon Detective simplifies the process of a deep dive into a security finding from other AWS security services, such as Amazon GuardDuty and AWS SecurityHub. Detective uses machine learning, statistical analysis, and graph theory to build a linked set of data that enables customers to easily conduct faster and more efficient security investigations.

In this post you will learn about the new AWS Organizations integration with Amazon Detective, where new and existing Detective customers can delegate any account in their organization to be the delegated Detective administrator account, and can centrally manage the Detective behavior graph database for an organization with up to 1,200 accounts.

Customers tell us that they want to manage security findings and investigations across multiple AWS Accounts. Depending on the customer this can be 100s or 1000s of accounts. AWS Organizations integration with security services, including GuardDuty, Security Hub and AWS IAM Access Analyzer comes in handy by helping customers centralize management and governance of their environments as they scale and grow their AWS accounts and resources. Adding to the list, Detective is now integrated with AWS Organizations to simplify security posture management across all existing and future AWS accounts across an organization. Organizations integration is available in all AWS Regions that Detective supports.

Detective is aware of your existing delegated administrator accounts for other AWS Security services such as GuardDuty or Security Hub. Using this awareness, Detective recommends that you choose the same account as the administrator account for Detective, as shown in Figure 1. For a more complete walk though of how to enable your accounts, visit the AWS Detective Documentation.

Figure 1. Setting delegated administrator

Figure 1. Setting delegated administrator

You can then use the same account to manage all of your security services. AWS recommends you align your Detective administrator account with your GuardDuty and SecurityHub administrator accounts, to enable seamless integration between Detective and those services.

  • In GuardDuty or Security Hub, when viewing details for a GuardDuty finding, you can pivot from the finding details to the Detective finding profile.
  • In Detective, when investigating a GuardDuty finding, you can choose the option to archive that finding.

Once designated, the chosen account becomes the administrator account for the organization behavior graph. They can enable any organization account as a member account in the organization behavior graph, and can configure Detective to automatically enable organization accounts when they join the organization.

Figure 2. Auto-enabling Organization accounts

Figure 2. Auto-enabling Organization accounts

The Detective administrator account can also manually invite other accounts to join the organization behavior graph.

Figure 3. Inviting accounts to join the Organization behavior graph

Figure 3. Inviting accounts to join the Organization behavior graph

From Detective, the administrator account can centrally conduct security investigations across the organization

Considerations for AWS Organizations support

Some considerations and recommendations around Organizations support for Detective:

  1. Detective allows up to 1,200 member accounts in each behavior graph.
  2. The Detective administrator account becomes the administrator account for the organization’s behavior graph.
  3. An account can be a member account of multiple behavior graphs in the same Region. An account can accept multiple invitations. An organization account can be enabled as a member account in the organization behavior graph, and can then also accept invitations to other behavior graphs.
  4. An account can only be the administrator account of one behavior graph per Region, but can be an administrator account in different Regions.
  5. Changes to an organization are not immediately reflected in Detective. For most changes, such as new and removed organization accounts, it can take up to an hour for Detective to be notified.

Other recent updates from Amazon Detective

Additional support for all GuardDuty findings

With the recent expansion of security investigation support for Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) and DNS-related findings on Amazon GuardDuty, Amazon Detective now provides full coverage of all detections from GuardDuty. Security analysts can now easily investigate and analyze the root cause of all GuardDuty findings using Detective, using the Investigate in Detective option in GuardDuty and Security Hub for further investigation.

New resource focused view

In addition to these integrations with AWS Organization and GuardDuty, Detective now makes it even easier for a security analyst to investigate entities and behaviors using a revamped user experience as seen in Figure 4. Amazon Detective presents a unified view of user and resource interactions over time, with all the context and details in one place, to help you quickly analyze the root cause of a security finding.

Figure 4. New resource focused view

Figure 4. New resource focused view

New finding overview

The new finding overview provides an expanded set of details for each finding, and provides links to the profiles for each involved entity as seen in the right panel in Figure 4. With this unified view, you can visualize all of the details and context in one place, while identifying the underlying reasons for the findings. This resource-focused view helps you understand the connections between resources affected by a security finding, and further helps you drill down into relevant historical activity to quickly determine the root cause.

Integration with Splunk

Amazon Detective, in coordination with the Splunk Trumpet project, has released the ability to pivot from an Amazon GuardDuty finding in Splunk directly to an Amazon Detective entity profile. Customers can now quickly identify the root cause of potential security issues or suspicious activities. This setting can be enabled on the Splunk Trumpet project installation page by selecting Detective GuardDuty URLs from the AWS CloudWatch Events dropdown.

Amazon Detective’s interactive visualizations make it easy to investigate and analyze issues more thoroughly and effectively, with minimal effort. Using these visualizations, customers can easily filter large sets of event data into specific timelines, with all the details, context, and guidance needed to help you to investigate quickly. For example; Amazon Detective enables you to view login attempts on a geolocation map, drill down into relevant historical activity, quickly determine a root cause, and if necessary, take action to resolve the issue.

Amazon Detective makes it easy to analyze, investigate, and quickly identify the root cause of potential security issues. To get started, enable a 30-day free trial of Amazon Detective with just a few clicks in the AWS Management console. See the AWS Regions page for a list of all Regions where Detective is available. To learn more, visit the Amazon Detective product page.

If you have feedback about this post, submit comments in the Comments section below.

Want more AWS Security news? Follow us on Twitter.

Karthik Ram

Karthik Ram

Karthik is a Senior Solutions Architect with Amazon Web Services based in Columbus, Ohio. He has a background in Networking and Infrastructure architecture. At AWS, Karthik helps customers build secure and innovative cloud solutions, solving their business problems using data driven approaches. Karthik’s Area of Depth is Cloud Security with a focus on Threat Detection and Incident Response (TDIR).


Ross Warren

Ross Warren is a Senior Solution Architect at AWS based in Northern Virginia. Prior to his work at AWS, Ross’ areas of focus included cyber threat hunting and security operations. Ross has worked at a handful of startups and has enjoyed the transition to AWS because he can continue to build solutions for customers on today’s most innovative platform.

Analyze and understand IAM role usage with Amazon Detective

Post Syndicated from Sheldon Sides original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/security/analyze-and-understand-iam-role-usage-with-amazon-detective/

In this blog post, we’ll demonstrate how you can use Amazon Detective’s new role session analysis feature to investigate security findings that are tied to the usage of an AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) role. You’ll learn about how you can use this new role session analysis feature to determine which Amazon Web Services (AWS) resource assumed the role that triggered a finding, and to understand the context of the activities that the resource performed when the finding was triggered. As a result of this walkthrough, you’ll gain an understanding of how to quickly ascertain anomalous identity and access behaviors. While this demonstration utilizes an Amazon GuardDuty finding as a starting point, the techniques demonstrated within this post highlight how Detective can be utilized to investigate any access behaviors that are tied to using IAM roles.

IAM roles provide a valuable mechanism that you can use to delegate access to users and services for managing and accessing your AWS resources, but using IAM roles can make it more complex to determine who performed an action. AWS CloudTrail logs do track all usage tied to IAM roles, but attributing activity to a specific resource that assumed a role requires storage of CloudTrail logs and analysis of this log telemetry. Understanding role usage through log analysis gets even more complex if cross-account role assumptions are involved, since that requires you to collate and analyze logs from multiple accounts. In some cases, permissions may allow a resource to sequentially assume a series of different roles (role chaining), further complicating the attribution of activity to a specific resource.

With its built-in, multi-account log analysis, Detective’s new role session analysis feature provides visibility into role usage, cross-account role assumptions and into any role chaining activities that may have been performed across the accounts. With this feature, you can quickly determine who or what assumed a role, regardless of whether this was a federated, IAM user or other resource. The feature shows you when roles were assumed and for how long, and helps you determine the activities that were performed during the assumption. Detective visualizes these results based upon its automatic analysis of CloudTrail logs and VPC flow log traffic that it continuously processes for enabled accounts, regardless of whether these log sources are enabled on each account.

To demonstrate this feature, we’ll investigate a “CloudTrail logging disabled” finding that is triggered by Amazon GuardDuty as a result of activity performed by a resource that has assumed an IAM role. Amazon GuardDuty is an AWS service that continuously monitors for malicious or unauthorized behavior to help protect your AWS resources, including your AWS accounts, access keys, and EC2 instances. GuardDuty identifies unusual or unauthorized activity, like crypto-currency mining, access to data stored in S3 from unusual locations, or infrastructure deployments in a region that has never been used.

Start the investigation in GuardDuty

GuardDuty issues a CloudTrailLoggingDisabled finding to alert you that CloudTrail logging has been disabled in one of your accounts. This is an important finding, because it could indicate that an attacker is attempting to hide their tracks. Since Detective receives a copy of CloudTrail traffic directly from the AWS infrastructure, Detective will continue to receive API calls that are made after CloudTrail logging is disabled.

In order to properly investigate this type of finding and determine if this is an issue that you need to be concerned about, you’ll need to answer a few specific questions:

  1. You’ll need to determine which user or resource disabled CloudTrail.
  2. You’ll need to see what other actions they performed after disabling logging.
  3. You’ll want to understand if their access pattern and behavior is consistent with their previous access patterns and behaviors.

Let’s take a look at a CloudTrailLoggingDisabled finding in GuardDuty as we start trying to answer these questions. When you access the GuardDuty console, a list of your recent findings is displayed. In Figure 1, a filter has been applied to display the CloudTrailLoggingDisabled finding.

Figure 1: A GuardDuty finding showing that CloudTrail was disabled

Figure 1: A GuardDuty finding showing that CloudTrail was disabled

After you select the GuardDuty finding, you can see the finding details, including some of the user information related to the finding. Figure 2 shows the Resources affected section of the finding.

Figure 2: Viewing user data related to the GuardDuty finding

Figure 2: Viewing user data related to the GuardDuty finding

The Affected resources field indicates that the demo-trail-2 trail was where logging was disabled. You can also see that User type is set to AssumedRole and that User name contains the role AWSReservedSSO_AdministratorAccess_598c5f73f8b2b4e5. This was the role that was assumed and using which CloudTrail logging was disabled. This information can help you understand the resources this role delegates access to and the permissions it provides. You still need to identify who specifically assumed the role to disable CloudTrail logging and the activities they performed afterwards. You can use Amazon Detective to answer these questions.

Investigate the finding in Detective

In order to investigate this GuardDuty finding in Detective, you select the finding and then select Investigate in the Actions menu, as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3: Choose 'Investigate with Detective' and select the GuardDuty finding ID on the pop-up to investigate the finding

Figure 3: Choose ‘Investigate with Detective’ and select the GuardDuty finding ID on the pop-up to investigate the finding

View the finding profile page

Choosing the Investigate action for this CloudTrailLoggingDisabled finding in GuardDuty opens the finding’s profile page in the Detective console, as shown in Figure 4. Detective has the concept of a profile page, which displays summaries and analytics gleaned from CloudTrail management logs, VPC flow traffic and GuardDuty findings for AWS resources, IP addresses, and user agents. Each profile page can display up to 12 months of information for the selected resource and is intended to help an investigator review and understand the behavior of a resource, or quickly triage and delve into potential issues. Detective doesn’t require a customer to enable CloudTrail or VPC Flog logging in order to retrieve this data and provides these 12 months of visibility regardless of the customers log retention or archiving policies.

Figure 4: Viewing a GuardDuty finding in Detective

Figure 4: Viewing a GuardDuty finding in Detective

Scope time

To help focus your investigation, Detective defaults the time range and thus the displayed information in a finding profile to cover the period of time from when the finding was created through when it was last updated. In the case of this finding, the scope time covers a 1-hour period of time. You can change the scope time by choosing the calendar icon at the top right of the page, if you want to examine additional information before or after the finding was created. The defaulted scope time is sufficient for this investigation, so we can leave it as-is.

Role session overview

Detective uses tabs to group information on profile pages, and for this finding it shows the role session overview tab by default. The role session represents the activities and behavior of the resource that assumed the role tied to our finding. In this case, the role was assumed by someone with the user name sara, as shown in the Assumed by field. (We’ll assume that the user’s first name is Sara.) By analyzing the role session information in the CloudTrail logs, Detective was able to immediately identify that sara was the user who disabled CloudTrail logging and caused the finding to be triggered. You now have an answer to the question of who did this action.

Before we move to answer our other questions about what Sara did after disabling logging and whether her behavior changed, let’s discuss role sessions in more detail. Every role session has a role session name, sara in this case, and a unique role session identifier. The role session identifier is the role ID of the role assumed and the role session name, concatenated together. Best practices dictate that for a specific role that’s assumed by a specific resource, the role session name represents the user name of the IAM or federated user, or includes other useful information about the resource that assumed the role (for more information, see the Naming of individual IAM role sessions blog post). In this case, because the best practices are being followed, Detective is able to track Sara’s activities and behavior each time she assumes the AWSReservedSSO_AdministratorAccess_598c5f73f8b2b4e5 role.

Detective tracks statistics such as when a role session was first observed (October in Sara’s case, for this role), as well as the actions performed and behavioral insights such as the geolocations where Sara initiated her role assumptions. Knowing that Sara has assumed this role before is useful, because you can now assess whether her usage of the role changed during the 1-hour window of the scope time that you’re looking at now, compared to all of her previous assumptions of this role.

Review changes in Sara’s access patterns and operations

Detective tracks changes in geographical access and operations on the New behavior tab. Let’s choose the New behavior tab for the role session to see this information, as displayed in Figure 5.

Figure 5: Viewing new role session behavior

Figure 5: Viewing new role session behavior

During a security investigation, determining that access patterns have changed can be helpful in highlighting malicious activity. Since Detective tracks Sara’s assumptions of the AWSReservedSSO_AdministratorAccess_598c5f73f8b2b4e5 role, it can show the location where Sara assumed the role and whether the current assumption took place from the same location as her previous ones.

In Figure 5, you can see that Sara has a history of assuming the AWSReservedSSO_AdministratorAccess_598c5f73f8b2b4e5 role from Bellevue, WA and Ashburn, VA, since those geographies are shown in blue. If she had assumed this role from a new location, you would see the new location indicated on the map in orange. Since the API calls being made by this user are from a previously observed location, it’s very unlikely that the user’s credentials were compromised. Making this determination through a manual analysis of CloudTrail logs would have been much more time consuming.

Other information that you can gather from the New behavior role session tab includes newly observed API calls, API calls with increased volume, newly observed autonomous system organizations, and newly observed user agents. It’s useful to be able to validate that the operations Sara performed during the current scope time are relatively consistent with the operations she has performed in the past. This helps us be more certain that it was indeed Sara who was conducting this activity.

Investigate Sara’s API activity

Now that we’ve determined that Sara’s access pattern and activities are consistent with previous behavior, let’s use Detective to look further into Sara’s activity to determine if she accidentally disabled CloudTrail logging or if there was possible malicious intent behind her action.

To investigate the user’s actions

  1. On the finding profile page, in the dropdown list at the top of the screen, select Overview: Role Session to go back to the Overview tab for the role session.

    Figure 6: Navigating to the 'Overview: Role Session' page

    Figure 6: Navigating to the ‘Overview: Role Session’ page

  2. Once you’re on the Overview tab, navigate to the Overall API call volume panel.
    Figure 7: Navigating to the Overall API call volume panel

    Figure 7: Navigating to the ‘Overall API call volume’ panel

    This panel displays a chart of the successful and failed API calls that Sara has made while she assumes the AWSReservedSSO_AdministratorAccess_598c5f73f8b2b4e5 role. The chart shows a black rectangle around activities that were performed during the CloudTrail findings scope time. It also displays historical activities and shows a baseline across the chart so that you can understand how actively she uses the permissions granted to her by assuming this role.

  3. Choose the display details for scope time button to retrieve the details of the API calls that were invoked by Sara during the scope time, so that you can determine her actions after she disabled CloudTrail logging.
    Figure 8: Displaying details based on scope time

    Figure 8: Displaying details based on scope time

    You will now see the Overall API call volume panel expand to show you all the IP addresses, API calls, and access keys used by Sara during the scope time window of this finding.

  4. Choose the API method tab to see a list of all the API calls that were made.
    Figure 9: Viewing the API methods called

    Figure 9: Viewing the API methods called

    She invoked just two API calls during this scope time: the StopLogging and AssumeRole API calls. You were already aware that Sara disabled CloudTrail logging, but you weren’t aware that she assumed another role. When a user assumes a role while they have another one assumed, this is called role chaining. Although role chaining can be used because a user needs additional permissions, it can also be used to hide activities. Because we don’t know what other actions Sara performed after assuming this second role, let’s dig further. That may shed light on why she chose to disable CloudTrail logging.

Examine chained role assumptions

To find out more about Sara’s use of role chaining, let’s look at the other role that she assumed during this role session.

To view the user’s other role

  1. Navigate back to the top of the finding profile page. In the Role session details panel, choose AWSReservedSSO_AdministratorAccess_598c5f73f8b2b4e5.
    Figure 10: Locating the 'Assumed role' name

    Figure 10: Locating the ‘Assumed role’ name

    Detective displays the AWS Role profile page for this role, and you can now see the activity that has occurred across all resources that have assumed this role. In order to highlight information that’s relevant to the time frame of your investigation, Detective maintains your scope time as you move from the CloudTrailLoggingDisabled finding profile page to this role profile page.

  2. The goal for coming to this page is to determine which other role Sara assumed after assuming the AWSReservedSSO_AdministratorAccess_598c5f73f8b2b4e5 role, so choose the Resource interaction tab. On this tab, you will see the following three panels: Resources that assumed this role, Assumed roles, and Sessions involved.In Figure 11, you can see the Resources that assumed this role panel, which lists all the AWS resources that have assumed this role, their type (EC2 instance, federated or IAM user, IAM role), their account, and when they assumed the role for the first and last time. Sara is on this list, but Detective does not show an AWS account next to her because federated users aren’t tied to a specific account. The account field is populated for other resource types that are displayed on this panel and can be useful to understand cross-account role assumptions.

    Figure 11: Viewing resources that have assumed a role

    Figure 11: Viewing resources that have assumed a role

  3. On the same Resource Interaction tab, as you scroll down you will see the Assumed Roles panel, Figure 12, which helps you understand role chaining by listing the other roles that have been assumed by the AWSReservedSSO_AdministratorAccess_598c5f73f8b2b4e5 role. In this case, the role has assumed several other roles, including DemoRole1 during the same window of time when the CloudTrailLoggingDisabled finding occurred.

    Figure 12: Viewing the roles that have been assumed

    Figure 12: Viewing the roles that have been assumed

  4. In Figure 13, you can see the Sessions involved panel, which shows the role sessions for all the resources that have assumed this role, and role sessions where this role has assumed other roles within the current scope time. You see two role sessions with the session name sara, one where Sara assumed the AWSReservedSSO_AdministratorAccess_598c5f73f8b2b4e5 role and another where AWSReservedSSO_AdministratorAccess_598c5f73f8b2b4e5 assumed DemoRole1.

    Figure 13: Viewing the role sessions this role was involved with

    Figure 13: Viewing the role sessions this role was involved with

Now that you know that Sara also used the role DemoRole1 during her role session, let’s take a closer look at what actions she performed.

View API operations that were called within the chained role

In this step, we’ll view Sara’s activity within the DemoRole1 role, focusing on the API calls that were made.

To view the user’s activity in another role

  1. In the Sessions involved panel, in the Session name column, find the row where DemoRole1 is the Assumed Role value. Choose the session name in this row, sara, to go to the role session profile page.
  2. You will be most interested in the API methods that were called during this role session, and you can view those in the Overall API call volume panel. As shown in Figure 14, you can see that Sara has accessed DemoRole1 before, because there are calls graphed prior to the calls in our scope time.
  3. Choose the display details for scope time button on the Overall API call volume panel, and then choose the API method tab.

    Figure 14: Viewing the role session API method calls

    Figure 14: Viewing the role session API method calls

In Figure 14, you can see that calls were made to the DescribeInstances and RunInstances API methods. So you now know that Sara determined the type of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances that were running in your account and then successfully created an EC2 instance by calling the RunInstances API method. You can also see that successful and failed calls were made to the AttachRolePolicy API method as a part of the session. This could possibly be an attempt to elevate permissions in the account and would justify further investigation into the user’s actions.

As an investigator, you’ve determined that Sara was the user who disabled CloudTrail logging and that her access pattern was consistent with her past accesses. You’ve also determined the other actions she performed after she disabled logging and assumed a second role, but you can continue to investigate further by answering additional questions, such as:

  • What did Sara do with DemoRole1 when she assumed this role in the past? Are her current activities consistent with those past activities?
  • What activities are being performed across this account? Are those consistent with Sara’s activities?

By using Detective’s features that have been demonstrated in this post, you will be able to answer the questions like the ones listed above.


After you read this post, we hope you have a better understanding of the ways in which Amazon Detective collects, organizes, and presents log data to simplify your security investigations. All Detective service subscriptions include the new role session analysis capabilities. With these capabilities, you can quickly attribute activity performed under a role to a specific resource in your environment, understand cross-account role assumptions, determine role chaining behavior, and quickly see called APIs.

All customers receive a 30-day free trial when they enable Amazon Detective. See the AWS Regional Services page for all the Regions where Detective is available. To learn more, visit the Amazon Detective product page or see the additional resources at the end of this post to further expand your knowledge of Detective capabilities and features.

Additional resources

Amazon Detective features

Amazon Detective overview and demo

Amazon Detective FAQs

Amazon Detective Regions, endpoints, and quotas

Naming of individual IAM role sessions

If you have feedback about this post, submit comments in the Comments section below.

Want more AWS Security how-to content, news, and feature announcements? Follow us on Twitter.


Sheldon Sides

Sheldon is a Senior Solutions Architect, focused on helping customers implement native AWS security services. He enjoys using his experience as a consultant and running a cloud security startup to help customers build secure AWS Cloud solutions. His interests include working out, software development, and learning about the latest technologies.


Gagan Prakash

Gagan is a Product Manager on the Amazon Detective team and is passionate about ensuring that Detective’s new features and capabilities address the needs of our customers. He leverages his past experiences in cybersecurity startups and software companies to help drive product improvements. His interests include spending time with family, reading, and learning more about the world at large.

Investigate VPC flow with Amazon Detective

Post Syndicated from Ross Warren original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/security/investigate-vpc-flow-with-amazon-detective/

Many Amazon Web Services (AWS) customers need enhanced insight into IP network flow. Traditionally, cost, the complexity of collection, and the time required for analysis has led to incomplete investigations of network flows. Having good telemetry is paramount, and VPC Flow Logs are a very important part of a robust centralized logging architecture. The information that VPC Flow Logs provide is frequently used by security analysts to determine the scope of security issues, to validate that network access rules are working as expected, and to help analysts investigate issues and diagnose network behaviors. Flow logs capture information about the IP traffic going to and from EC2 interfaces in a VPC. Each record describes aspects of the traffic flow, such as where it originated and where it was sent to, what network ports were used, and how many bytes were sent.

Amazon Detective now enables you to interactively examine the details of the virtual private cloud (VPC) network flows of your Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances. Amazon Detective makes it easy to analyze, investigate, and quickly identify the root cause of potential security issues or suspicious activities. Detective automatically collects VPC flow logs from your monitored accounts, aggregates them by EC2 instance, and presents visual summaries and analytics about these network flows. Detective doesn’t require VPC Flow Logs to be configured and doesn’t impact existing flow log collection.

In this blog post, I describe how to use the new VPC flow feature in Detective to investigate an UnauthorizedAccess:EC2/TorClient finding from Amazon GuardDuty. Amazon GuardDuty is a threat detection service that continuously monitors for malicious activity and unauthorized behavior to protect your AWS accounts, workloads, and data stored in Amazon S3. GuardDuty documentation states that this alert can indicate unauthorized access to your AWS resources with the intent of hiding the unauthorized user’s true identity. I’ll demonstrate how to use Amazon Detective to investigate an instance that was flagged by Amazon GuardDuty to determine whether it is compromised or not.

Starting the investigation in GuardDuty

In my GuardDuty console, I’m going to select the UnauthorizedAccess:EC2/TorClient finding shown in Figure 1, choose the Actions menu, and select Investigate.

Figure 1: Investigating from the GuardDuty console

Figure 1: Investigating from the GuardDuty console

This opens a new browser tab and launches the Amazon Detective console, where I’m presented with the profile page for this finding, shown in Figure 2. You must have Detective enabled to pivot between a GuardDuty finding and Detective. Detective provides profile pages for supported GuardDuty findings and AWS resources (for example, IP address, EC2 instance, user, and role) that include information and data visualizations that summarize observed behaviors and give guidance for interpreting them. Profiles help analysts to determine whether the finding is of genuine concern or a false positive. For resources, profiles provide supporting details for an investigation into a finding or for a general hunt for suspicious activity.

Figure 2: Finding profile panel

Figure 2: Finding profile panel

In this case, the profile page for this GuardDuty UnauthorizedAccess:EC2/TorClient finding provides contextual and behavioral data about the EC2 instance on which GuardDuty has noted the issue. As I dive into this finding, I’m going to be asking questions that help assess whether the instance was in fact accessed unintentionally, such as, “What IP port or network service was in use at that time?,” “Were any large data transfers involved?,” “Was the traffic allowed by my security groups?” Profile pages in Detective organize content that helps security analysts investigate GuardDuty findings, examine unexpected network behavior, and identify other AWS resources that might be affected by a potential security issue.

I begin scrolling down the page and notice the Findings associated with EC2 instance i-9999999999999999 panel. Detective displays related findings to provide analysts with additional evidence and context about potentially related issues. The finding I’m investigating is listed there, as well as an Unusual Behaviors/VM/Behavior:EC2-NetworkPortUnusual finding. GuardDuty builds a baseline on your network traffic and will generate findings where there is traffic outside the calculated normal. While we might not investigate every instance of anomalous traffic, having these alerts correlated by Detective provides context for validating the issue. Keeping this in mind as I scroll down, at the bottom of this profile page, I find the Overall VPC flow volume panel. If you choose the Info link next to the panel title, you can see helpful tips that describe how to use the visualizations and provide ideas for questions to ask within your investigation. These info links are available throughout Detective. Check them out!

Investigating VPC flow in Detective

In this investigation, I’m very curious about the two large spikes in inbound traffic that I see in the Overall VPC flow volume panel, which seem to be visually associated with some unusual outbound traffic spikes. It’s most likely that these outbound spikes are related to the Unusual Behaviors/VM/Behavior:EC2-NetworkPortUnusual finding I mentioned earlier. To start the investigation, I choose the display details for scope time button, shown circled at the bottom of Figure 2. This expands the VPC Flow Details, shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3: Our first look at VPC Flow Details

Figure 3: Our first look at VPC Flow Details

We now can see that each entry displays the volume of inbound traffic, the volume of outbound traffic, and whether the access request was accepted or rejected. Detective provides annotations on the VPC flows to help guide your investigation. These From finding annotations make it clear which flows and resources were involved in the finding. In this case, we can easily see (in Figure 3) the three IP addresses at the top of the list that triggered this GuardDuty finding.

I’m first going to focus on the spikes in traffic that are above the baseline. When I click on one of the spikes in the graph, the time window for the VPC flow activity now matches the dates of these spikes I’m investigating.

If I choose the Inbound Traffic column header, shown in Figure 4, I can find the flows that contributed to the spike during this time window.

Figure 4: Inbound traffic spikes

Figure 4: Inbound traffic spikes

Note that the two large inbound spikes aren’t associated with the IP address from the UnauthorizedAccess:EC2/TorClient finding, based on the Detective annotation From finding. Let’s check the outbound traffic. If I do a quick sort of the table based on the outbound traffic column, as shown in Figure 5, we can also see the outbound spikes, and it isn’t immediately evident whether the spikes are associated with this finding. I could continue to investigate the spikes (because they are a visual anomaly), or focus just on the VPC flow traffic that GuardDuty and Detective have labeled as associated with this TOR finding.

Figure 5: Outbound traffic spikes

Figure 5: Outbound traffic spikes

Let’s focus on the outbound and inbound spikes and see if we can determine what’s happening. The inbound spikes are on port 443, typically an HTTPS port, or a secure web connection. The outbound spikes are on port 22 (ssh), but go to IP addresses that look to be internal based on their addresses of 172.16.x.x. The port 443 traffic might indicate a web server that’s open to the internet and receiving traffic. With further investigation, we can determine if this idea is valid, and continue hunting for potentially malicious traffic.

A good next step would be to investigate the two specific IP addresses to rule out their involvement in the finding. I can do this by right-clicking on either of the external IP addresses and opening a new tab, where I can focus on investigating these two specific IP addresses. I would take this line of investigation to possibly rule out the involvement of these IP addresses in this finding, determine if they regularly communicate with my resources, find out what instance(s) they’re related to, and see if there are other findings associated with these instances or IP addresses. This deeper investigation is outside the scope of this blog post, but it’s something you should be doing in your own environment.

IP addresses in AWS are ephemeral in nature. The unique identifier in VPC flow logs is the Instance ID. At the time of this investigation, is assigned to the instance related to this finding, so let’s continue to take a look at the internal IP address with 218 MB outbound traffic on port 22. I choose, and Detective opens up the profile page for this specific IP address, as shown in Figure 6. Here we see some interesting correlations: two other GuardDuty findings related to SSH brute-force attacks. These could be related to our outbound port 22 spikes, because they’re certainly in the window of time we’re investigating.

Figure 6: IP address profile panel

Figure 6: IP address profile panel

As part of a deeper investigation, you would investigate the SSH brute-force findings for and but for now I’m interested what this IP is involved in. Detective easily associates this IP address with the instance that was assigned the IP during the scope time. I scroll down to the bottom of the profile page for and investigate the i-9999999999999999 instance by choosing the instance name.

Filtering VPC flow activity

In Detective, as the investigator we are looking at an instance profile panel, similar to the one in Figure 2, and since we’re interested in VPC flow details, I’m going to scroll down and select display details for scope time.

To focus on specific activity, I can filter the activity details by the following values:

  • IP address
  • Local or remote port
  • Direction
  • Protocol
  • Whether the request was accepted or rejected

I’m going to filter these VPC flow details and just look at port 22 (sshd) inbound traffic. I select the Filter check box and select Local Port and 22, as shown in Figure 7. Detective fills in all the available ports for you, making it easy to complete this filter.

Figure 7: Port 22 traffic

Figure 7: Port 22 traffic

The activity details show a few IP addresses related to port 22, and we’re still following the large outbound spikes of traffic. It’s outside the scope of this blog post, but now it would be time to start looking at your security groups and network access control lists (ACLs) and determine why port 22 is open to the internet and sending all this traffic.

Understanding traffic behavior

As an investigator, I now have a good picture of the traffic related to the initial finding, and by diving deeper we’re able to discover other interesting traffic during the same timeframe. While we may not always determine “who has done it,” the goal should be to improve our understanding of the behavior of our environment and gather important technical evidence. Detective helps you identify and investigate anomalies to give you insight into your environment. If we were to continue our investigation into the finding, here are some actions we can take within Detective.

Investigate VPC findings with Detective:

  • Perform ports and utilization analysis
    • Identify service and ephemeral ports
    • Determine whether traffic was accepted or rejected based on security groups and NACL configurations
    • Investigate possible reconnaissance traffic by exploring the significant amount of rejected traffic
  • Correlate EC2 instances to TCP/IP ports and IPs
  • Analyze traffic spikes and anomalies
  • Discover traffic patterns and make behavioral correlations

Explore EC2 instance behavior with Detective:

  • Directional Traffic Analysis
  • Investigate possible data exfiltration events by digging into large transfers
  • Enumerate distinct IP connections and sort and filter by protocol, amount of traffic, and traffic direction
  • Gather data related to a spike in port count from a single IP address (potential brute force) or multiple IP addresses (distributed denial of service (DDoS))

Additional forensics steps to consider

  • Snapshot EC2 Volumes
  • Memory dump of EC2 instance
  • Isolate EC2 instance
  • Review your authentication strategy and assess whether the chosen authentication method is sufficient to protect your asset


Without requiring you to set up infrastructure or spend time configuring log ingestion, Detective collects, organizes, and presents relevant data for your threat analysis and investigations. Security and operations teams will find this new capability helpful for simplifying EC2 traffic analysis, validating security group permissions, and diagnosing EC2 instance behavior. Detective does the heavy lifting of storing, and analyzing VPC flow data so you can focus on quickly answering your investigative questions. VPC network flow details are available now in all Detective supported Regions and are included as part of your service subscription.

To get started, you can enable a 30-day free trial of Amazon Detective. See the AWS Regional Services page for all the regions where Detective is available. To learn more, visit the Amazon Detective product page.

Are you a visual learner? Check out Amazon Detective Overview and Demonstration. This video helps you learn how and when to use Amazon Detective to improve the security of your AWS resources.

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Ross Warren

Ross Warren is a Solution Architect at AWS based in Northern Virginia. Prior to his work at AWS, Ross’ areas of focus included cyber threat hunting and security operations. Ross has worked at a handful of startups and has enjoyed the transition to AWS because he can continue to build solutions for customers on today’s most innovative platform.


Jim Miller

Jim is a Solution Architect at AWS based in Connecticut. Jim has worked within cyber security his entire career with areas of focus including cyber security architecture and incident response. At AWS he loves building secure solutions for customers to enable teams to build and innovate with confidence.