AWS Shield is a managed distributed denial of service (DDoS) protection service that safeguards applications running on AWS. It provides dynamic detection and automatic inline mitigations that minimize application downtime and latency, so there is no need to engage AWS Support to benefit from DDoS protection. There are two tiers of AWS Shield: Standard and Advanced.

AWS Shield Standard

All AWS customers benefit from the automatic protections of AWS Shield Standard at no additional charge. AWS Shield Standard defends against most common, frequently occurring network and transport layer DDoS attacks that target your website or applications. When you use AWS Shield Standard with Amazon CloudFront and Amazon Route 53, you receive comprehensive availability protection against all known infrastructure (Layer 3 and 4) attacks.

Static threshold DDoS protection for underlying AWS services

AWS Shield Standard provides always-on network flow monitoring, which inspects incoming traffic to AWS services and applies a combination of traffic signatures, anomaly algorithms, and other analysis techniques to detect malicious traffic in real time. Shield Standard sets static thresholds for each AWS resource type but doesn’t provide custom protections to your applications.

Inline attack mitigation

Automated mitigation techniques are built into AWS Shield Standard, giving underlying AWS services protection against common, frequently occurring infrastructure attacks. Automatic mitigations are applied inline to protect AWS services, so there is no latency impact. Shield Standard uses techniques such as deterministic packet filtering and priority-based traffic shaping to automatically mitigate basic network layer attacks.

AWS Shield Advanced

For higher levels of protection against attacks targeting your applications running on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Elastic Load Balancing (ELB), Amazon CloudFront, AWS Global Accelerator, and Amazon Route 53 resources, you can subscribe to AWS Shield Advanced. In addition to the network and transport layer protections that come with Standard, Shield Advanced provides additional detection and mitigation against large and sophisticated DDoS attacks, near real-time visibility into attacks, and integration with AWS WAF, a web application firewall. Shield Advanced also gives you 24/7 access to the AWS Shield Response Team (SRT) and protection against DDoS-related spikes in your EC2, ELB, CloudFront, Global Accelerator, and Route 53 charges.

Tailored detection based on application traffic patterns

AWS Shield Advanced provides customized detection based on traffic patterns to your protected Elastic IP address, ELB, CloudFront, Global Accelerator, and Route 53 resources. Using additional region- and resource-specific monitoring techniques, Shield Advanced detects and alerts you of smaller DDoS attacks. Shield Advanced also detects application layer attacks such as HTTP floods or DNS query floods by baselining traffic on your application and identifying anomalies.

Health-based detection

AWS Shield Advanced uses the health of your applications to improve responsiveness and accuracy in attack detection and mitigation. You can define a health check in Route 53 and associate it with a resource that is protected by Shield Advanced through the console or API. This allows Shield Advanced to detect attacks impacting the health of your application more quickly and at lower traffic thresholds, improving the DDoS resiliency of your application and preventing false positive notifications. Resource health status is also available to the SRT so they can appropriately prioritize response to unhealthy applications. You can apply health-based detection to all resource types that Shield Advanced supports: Elastic IP, ELB, CloudFront, Global Accelerator, and Route 53.

Advanced attack mitigation

AWS Shield Advanced provides more sophisticated automatic mitigations for attacks targeting your applications running on protected EC2, ELB, CloudFront, Global Accelerator, and Route 53 resources. Using advanced routing techniques, Shield Advanced automatically deploys additional mitigation capacity to protect your application against DDoS attacks. For customers with Business or Enterprise support, the SRT also applies manual mitigations for more complex and sophisticated DDoS attacks that might be unique to your application. For application layer attacks, you can use AWS WAF at no additional charge for resources protected by Shield Advanced to set up proactive rules (such as rate-based blocking to automatically block web requests from attacking source IP addresses) or respond immediately to incidents as they happen. You can also engage directly with the SRT to place custom AWS WAF rules on your behalf in response to an application layer DDoS attack. The SRT will diagnose the attack and, with your permission, apply mitigations on your behalf, reducing the amount of time your applications might be impacted by an ongoing DDoS attack.

Automatic application layer DDoS mitigation

AWS Shield Advanced can automatically protect web applications by mitigating application layer (L7) DDoS events with no manual intervention needed by you or the AWS SRT. Shield Advanced can create WAF rules in your WebACLs to automatically mitigate an attack, or you can activate them in count-only mode. This lets you quickly respond to DDoS events to prevent application downtime due to an application layer DDoS attack.

Proactive event response

AWS Shield Advanced offers proactive engagement from the SRT when a DDoS event is detected. When you activate proactive engagement, the SRT will directly contact you if a Route 53 health check associated with your protected resource becomes unhealthy during a DDoS event. This allows you to engage with experts more quickly when the availability of your application is affected by a suspected attack. You can receive proactive engagement for network layer and transport layer events on Elastic IP addresses and Global Accelerator accelerators, and for application layer attacks on CloudFront distributions and Application Load Balancers.

Protection groups

AWS Shield Advanced allows you to bundle resources into protection groups, giving you a self-service way to customize the scope of detection and mitigation for your application by treating multiple resources as a single unit. Resource grouping improves the accuracy of detection, reduces false positives, eases automatic protection of newly created resources, and accelerates the time to mitigate attacks against multiple resources. For example, if an application consists of four CloudFront distributions, you can add them to one protection group to receive detection and protection for the collection of resources as a whole. Reporting can also be consumed at the protection group level, giving a more holistic view of overall application health.

Visibility and attack notification

AWS Shield Advanced gives you complete visibility into DDoS attacks with near real-time notification through Amazon CloudWatch and detailed diagnostics on the AWS WAF and AWS Shield console or APIs. You can also view a summary of prior attacks from the console.

DDoS cost protection

AWS Shield Advanced comes with DDoS cost protection to safeguard against scaling charges resulting from DDoS-related usage spikes on protected EC2, ELB, CloudFront, Global Accelerator, and Route 53 resources. If any of these protected resources scale up in response to a DDoS attack, you can request Shield Advanced service credits through your regular AWS Support channel.

Specialized support

For customers on Business or Enterprise support plans, AWS Shield Advanced gives you 24/7 access to the SRT, which can be engaged before, during, or after a DDoS attack. The SRT will help triage the incidents, identify root causes, and apply mitigations on your behalf. The SRT has deep expertise in rapidly responding to and mitigating DDoS attacks across AWS customers.

Global availability

AWS Shield Advanced is available globally on all CloudFront, Global Accelerator, and Route 53 edge locations. You can protect your web applications hosted anywhere in the world by deploying CloudFront in front of your application. Your origin servers can be Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3), EC2, ELB, or a custom server outside of AWS. You can also activate protections directly on Elastic IP or ELB instances in all AWS Regions where Shield Advanced is available.

Centralized protection management

AWS Shield Advanced customers can use AWS Firewall Manager to apply Shield Advanced and AWS WAF protections across their entire organization. The cost of Firewall Manager is included in the Shield Advanced subscription fee. Using Firewall Manager, you can automatically configure policies covering multiple accounts and resources. Firewall Manager automatically audits accounts to find new or unprotected resources, and it ensures that Shield Advanced and AWS WAF protections are universally applied. This lets developers move quickly and deploy new applications with the confidence that the appropriate protections will be automatically applied. To learn more about this security management service, see AWS Firewall Manager.

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