Q: What is Amazon Inspector?

Amazon Inspector is an automated vulnerability management service that continually scans Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), AWS Lambda functions, and container workloads for software vulnerabilities and unintended network exposure.

Q: What are the key benefits of Amazon Inspector?

Amazon Inspector removes the operational overhead associated with deploying and configuring a vulnerability management solution by allowing you to deploy Amazon Inspector across all accounts with a single step. Additional benefits include:

  • Automated discovery and continual scanning that delivers near real-time vulnerability findings
  • Central management, configuration, and view of findings for all your organization’s accounts by setting a Delegated Administrator (DA) account
  • A highly contextualized and meaningful Inspector risk score for each finding to help you set more accurate response priorities
  • An intuitive Amazon Inspector dashboard for coverage metrics, including accounts, Amazon EC2 instances, Lambda functions, and Amazon Elastic Container Registry (ECR) repositories being actively scanned by Amazon Inspector
  • Integration with AWS Security Hub and Amazon EventBridge to automate workflows and ticket routing

Q: How is Amazon Inspector different from Amazon Inspector Classic?

Amazon Inspector has been rearchitected and rebuilt to create a new vulnerability management service. Here are the key enhancements over Amazon Inspector Classic:

  • Built for scale: The new Amazon Inspector is built for scale and the dynamic cloud environment. There’s no limit to the number of instances or images that can be scanned at a time.
  • Support for container images and Lambda functions: The new Amazon Inspector also scans container images residing in Amazon ECR and Lambda functions for software vulnerabilities. Container-related findings are also pushed to the Amazon ECR console.
  • Support for multi-account management: The new Amazon Inspector is integrated with AWS Organizations, allowing you to delegate an administrator account for Amazon Inspector for your organization. This Delegated Administrator (DA) account is a centralized account that consolidates all findings and can configure all member accounts.
  • AWS Systems Manager Agent: With the new Amazon Inspector, you no longer need to install and maintain a standalone Amazon Inspector agent on all of your Amazon EC2 instances. The new Amazon Inspector uses the widely deployed AWS Systems Manager Agent (SSM Agent), which removes that need.
  • Automated and continual scanning: The new Amazon Inspector automatically detects all newly launched Amazon EC2 instances, Lambda functions, and eligible container images pushed to Amazon ECR and immediately scans them for software vulnerabilities and unintended network exposure. When an event occurs that may introduce a new vulnerability, the involved resources are automatically rescanned. Events that initiate rescanning a resource include installing a new package in an EC2 instance, installing a patch, and when a new common vulnerabilities and exposures (CVE) that impacts the resource is published.
  • Inspector risk score: The new Amazon Inspector calculates an Inspector risk score by correlating up-to-date CVE information with temporal and environmental factors such as network accessibility and exploitability information to add context to help prioritize your findings.

Q: Can I use Amazon Inspector and Amazon Inspector Classic simultaneously in the same account?

Yes, you can use both simultaneously in the same account.

Q: How do I migrate from Amazon Inspector Classic to the new Amazon Inspector?

You can deactivate Amazon Inspector Classic by simply deleting all assessment templates in your account. To access findings for existing assessment runs, you can download them as reports or export them using the Amazon Inspector API. You can activate the new Amazon Inspector with a few clicks in the AWS Management Console, or by using the new Amazon Inspector APIs. You can find the detailed migration steps in the Amazon Inspector Classic User Guide.

Q: How is the Amazon Inspector container image scanning service for Amazon ECR different than the Amazon ECR Clair-based solution?

  Amazon Inspector container image scanning  Amazon ECR Clair-based solution

Scanning engine

Amazon Inspector is a vulnerability management service developed by AWS that has built-in support for container images residing in Amazon ECR

Amazon ECR offers a managed open-source Clair project as the basic scanning solution

Package coverage

Identifies vulnerabilities in both operating system (OS) packages and programming language (such as Python, Java, and Ruby) packages

Identifies software vulnerabilities only in OS packages

Scanning frequency

Offers both continual scanning and on-push scanning

Offers only on-push scanning

Vulnerability intelligence

Provides enhanced vulnerability intelligence such as whether an exploit is available for a CVE and fixed in package version remediation guidance

Provides only basic information about a software vulnerability


Findings are available in both the Amazon Inspector and Amazon ECR consoles, as well as the Amazon Inspector and Amazon ECR Application Programming Interface (APIs) and Software Development Kit (SDK)

Findings are available in the Amazon ECR console and Amazon ECR APIs and SDK

Vulnerability scoring

Provides a contextual Inspector score and Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) v2 and v3 scores from both National Vulnerability Database (NVD) and vendors

CVSS v2 scores only

AWS service integrations

Integrated with AWS Security Hub, AWS Organizations, and AWS EventBridge

No built-in integrations with other AWS services are available

Q: What is the pricing for Amazon Inspector?

See the Amazon Inspector pricing page for full pricing details.

Q: Is there a free trial for Amazon Inspector?

All accounts new to Amazon Inspector are eligible for a 15-day free trial to evaluate the service and estimate its cost. During the trial, all eligible Amazon EC2 instances, AWS Lambda functions, and container images pushed to Amazon ECR are continually scanned at no cost. You can also review estimated spend in the Amazon Inspector console.

Q: In what Regions is Amazon Inspector available?

Amazon Inspector is available globally. Specific availability by Region is listed here.

Getting started

Q: How do I get started?

You can activate Amazon Inspector for your entire organization or an individual account with a few clicks in the AWS Management Console. Once activated, Amazon Inspector automatically discovers running Amazon EC2 instances, Lambda functions, and Amazon ECR repositories and immediately starts continually scanning workloads for software vulnerabilities and unintended network exposure. If you’re new to Amazon Inspector, there’s a 15-day free trial as well.

Q: What is an Amazon Inspector finding?

An Amazon Inspector finding is a potential security vulnerability. For example, when Amazon Inspector detects software vulnerabilities or open network paths to your compute resources, it creates security findings.

Q: Can I manage Amazon Inspector using my AWS Organizations structure?

Yes. Amazon Inspector is integrated with AWS Organizations. You can assign a DA account for Amazon Inspector, which acts as the primary administrator account for Amazon Inspector and can manage and configure it centrally. The DA account can centrally view and manage findings for all the accounts that are part of your AWS organization.

Q: How do I delegate an administrator for the Amazon Inspector service?

The AWS Organizations Management account can assign a DA account for Amazon Inspector in the Amazon Inspector console or by using Amazon Inspector APIs.

Q: Do I have to activate specific scanning types (that is, Amazon EC2 scanning, Lambda functions scanning, or Amazon ECR container image scanning)?

If you’re starting Amazon Inspector for the first time, all scanning types, including EC2 scanning, Lambda scanning, and ECR container image scanning are activated by default. However, you can deactivate any or all of these across all accounts in your organization. Existing users can activate new features in the Amazon Inspector console or by using Amazon Inspector APIs.

Q: Do I need any agents to use Amazon Inspector?

It depends on which resources you’re scanning. AWS Systems Manager Agent (SSM Agent) is required for vulnerability scanning of Amazon EC2 instances. No agents are required for network reachability of Amazon EC2 instances and vulnerability scanning of container images, or for vulnerability scanning of Lambda functions.

Q: How can I install and configure the Amazon Systems Manager Agent?

To successfully scan Amazon EC2 instances for software vulnerabilities, Amazon Inspector requires that these instances are managed by AWS Systems Manager and the SSM agent. See Systems Manager prerequisites in the AWS Systems Manager User Guide for instructions to activate and configure Systems Manager. For information about managed instances, see the Managed Instances section in the AWS Systems Manager User Guide.

Q: Can I exclude some Amazon EC2 instances from scanning?

No. Once Amazon Inspector is activated for Amazon EC2 scanning, all EC2 instances with SSM Agent installed and configured in an account are continually scanned.

Q: How do I know which Amazon ECR repositories are configured for scanning? And how do I manage which repositories should be configured for scanning?

Amazon Inspector supports the configuration of inclusion rules to select which ECR repositories are scanned. Inclusion rules can be created and managed under the registry settings page within the ECR console or using ECR APIs. The ECR repositories that match the inclusion rules are configured for scanning. Detailed scanning status of repositories is available in both the ECR and Amazon Inspector consoles.

Working with Amazon Inspector

Q: How do I know if my resources are being actively scanned?

The Environmental Coverage panel in the Amazon Inspector dashboard shows the metrics for accounts, Amazon EC2 instances, Lambda functions, and ECR repositories being actively scanned by Amazon Inspector. Each instance and image have a scanning status: Scanning or Not Scanning. Scanning means the resource is continually being scanned in near real time. A status of Not Scanning could mean the initial scan has not been performed yet, the OS is unsupported, or something else is preventing the scan.

Q: How often are the automated rescans performed?

All scans are automatically performed based on events. All workloads are initially scanned upon discovery and subsequently rescanned.

  • For Amazon EC2 instances: Rescans are started when a new software package is installed or uninstalled on an instance, when a new CVE is published, and after a vulnerable package is updated (to confirm there are no additional vulnerabilities).
  • For Amazon ECR container images: Automated rescans are started for eligible container images when a new CVE affecting an image is published. The automated rescans for container images continue for the duration configured in the Amazon Inspector console or APIs. Available configurations are Lifetime (by default), 180 days, or 30 days.
  • For Lambda functions: All new Lambda functions are initially assessed upon discovery, and continually  reassessed when there is an update to the Lambda function or a new CVE is published.

Q: How long are container images continually rescanned with Amazon Inspector?

Container images residing in Amazon ECR repositories that are configured for continual scanning are scanned for the duration configured in the Inspector console or APIs. Available configurations are Lifetime (by default), 180 days, or 30 days.
  • When Amazon Inspector ECR scanning is activated, Amazon Inspector only picks up images pushed in last 30 days for scanning, but continually scans them for the duration configured i.e, Lifetime (by default), 180 days, or 30 days.
  • All images pushed to ECR after Amazon Inspector ECR scanning is activated are continually scanned for configured duration i.e, Lifetime (by default), 180 days, or 30 days.

Q: Can I exclude my resources from being scanned?

  • For Amazon EC2 instances: No. Amazon Inspector automatically discovers all EC2 instances within an account and continually scans all instances with the Amazon SSM Agent configured.
  • For container images residing in Amazon ECR: Yes. Although you can select which Amazon ECR repositories are configured for scanning, all images within a repository will be scanned. You can create inclusion rules to select which repositories should be scanned.
  • For Lambda functions: Yes, a Lambda function can be excluded from scanning by adding a resource tag with the key 'InspectorExclusion' and the value 'LambdaStandardScanning'. 

Q: How do I use Amazon Inspector to assess my Lambda functions for security vulnerabilities?

In a multi-account structure, you can activate Amazon Inspector for Lambda vulnerabilities assessments for all your accounts within the AWS Organization from the Amazon Inspector console or APIs through the Delegated Administrator (DA) account, while other member accounts can activate Amazon Inspector for their own account if the central security team hasn’t already activated it for them. Accounts that are not a part of the AWS Organization can activate Amazon Inspector for their individual account through the Amazon Inspector console or APIs.

Q: If a Lambda function has multiple versions, which version will Amazon Inspector assess?

Amazon Inspector will continually monitor and assess only the $LATEST version. Automated rescans will continue only for the latest version, so new findings will be generated only for the latest version. In the console, you will be able to see the findings from any version by selecting the version from the dropdown.

Q: How does changing the SSM inventory collection frequency from the default 30 minutes to 12 hours impact the continual scanning by Amazon Inspector?

Changing the default SSM inventory collection frequency can have an impact on the continual nature of scanning. Amazon Inspector relies on SSM Agent to collect the application inventory to generate findings. If the application inventory duration is increased from the default of 30 minutes, that will delay the detection of changes to the application inventory, and new findings might be delayed.

Q: What is an Inspector risk score?

The Inspector risk score is a highly contextualized score that is generated for each finding by correlating common vulnerabilities and exposures (CVE) information with network reachability results, exploitability data, and social media trends. This makes it easier for you to prioritize findings and focus on the most critical findings and vulnerable resources. You can see how the Inspector risk score was calculated and which factors influenced the score in the Inspector Score tab within the Findings Details side panel.

For example: There is a new CVE identified on your Amazon EC2 instance, which can only be exploited remotely. If the Amazon Inspector continual network reachability scans also discover that the instance is not reachable from the internet, it knows that the vulnerability is less likely to be exploited. Therefore, Amazon Inspector correlates the scan results with the CVE to adjust the risk score downward, more accurately reflecting the impact of the CVE on that particular instance.

Q: How is a finding severity determined?

Inspector Score  Severity 
0 Informational
0.2–3.9 Low
4.0–6.9 Medium
7.0–8.9 High
9.0–10.0 Critical

Q: How do suppression rules work?

Amazon Inspector allows you to suppress findings based on the customized criteria you define. You can create suppression rules for findings that are considered acceptable by your organization.

Q: How can I export my findings, and what do they include?

You can generate reports in multiple formats (CSV or JSON) with a few clicks in the Amazon Inspector console or through the Amazon Inspector APIs. You can download a full report with all findings, or generate and download a customized report based on the view filters set in the console.

Q: Can I scan my private Amazon EC2 instances by setting up Amazon Inspector as a VPC 

Yes. Amazon Inspector uses SSM Agent to collect application inventory, which can be set up as Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) endpoints to avoid sending information over the internet.

Q: Which operating systems does Amazon Inspector support?

You can find the list of operating systems (OS) supported here.

Q: Which programming language packages does Amazon Inspector support for container image scanning?

You can find the list of programming language packages supported here.

Q: Will Amazon Inspector work with instances that use Network Address Translation (NAT)?

Yes. Instances that use NAT are automatically supported by Amazon Inspector.

Q: I use a proxy for my instances. Will Amazon Inspector work with these instances?

Yes. See how to configure SSM Agent to use a proxy for more information.

Q: Can Amazon Inspector be integrated with other AWS services for logging and notifications?

Amazon Inspector integrates with Amazon EventBridge to provide notification for events such as a new finding, change of state of a finding, or creation of a suppression rule. Amazon Inspector also integrates with AWS CloudTrail for call logging.

Q: Does Amazon Inspector offer “CIS Operating System Security Configuration Benchmarks” scans?

No. While Amazon Inspector does not currently support CIS scans, this capability will be added in the future. However, you can continue to use the CIS scan rules package offered in Amazon Inspector Classic.

Q: Does Amazon Inspector work with AWS Partner solutions?

Yes. See Amazon Inspector Partners for more information.

Q: Can I deactivate Amazon Inspector?

Yes. You can deactivate all scanning types (Amazon EC2 scanning, Amazon ECR container image scanning, and Lambda function scanning) by deactivating the Amazon Inspector service, or you can deactivate each scanning type individually for an account.

Q: Can I suspend Amazon Inspector?

No. Amazon Inspector does not support a suspended state.

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