Home > Articles

This chapter is from the book

Security Policies in AWS

There are common security policies and practices that you should be aware of when operating AWS solutions. This section of the chapter covers some of the more important ones.

DDoS Mitigation

The distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack is one to be feared. Famous examples of this attack include stories about how huge chunks of the entire Internet itself were made unavailable for relatively long periods of time. Just like with a regular old denial of service (DoS) attack, the goal is resource exhaustion so that disruption is in place for legitimate traffic that is attempting to flow or access a service or resource. Having many systems (potentially) participate in the attack (DDoS) can make the attack that much more effective due to the increase in frequency of the communications.

It is worth restating for clarity—there are two main and related objectives behind DDoS (and DoS):

  • Exhaust resources on the server side of the computing model.

  • Once exhaustion occurs, disrupt desired traffic flows or requests.

We often use the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model in order to help us think about and mitigate DDoS attacks. Figure 5-3 shows the OSI model.


FIGURE 5-3 The OSI Model

DDoS attacks that tend to focus on the lower layers (1 through 4) of the OSI model are often called infrastructure attacks, whereas upper layers that come under attack are referred to as application-layer attacks. An example of a Layer 4 attack might be a SYN flood or an amplified UDP reflection attack. An attack at Layer 7 (Application) might be an HTTP flood.

Let’s examine one of these in more detail. In an amplified UDP reflection attack, the attacker uses the connectionless UDP protocol to ask a server for some piece of information. The attacker forges the packet header so that it contains a different sender address. The machine that receives these “spoofed” packets will send a response back to the forged source address.

ICMP, NTP, DNS, DHCP, TFTP, and many more are all examples of UDP services that, if left unchecked, can be abused. Depending on the command sent and data requested, the amplification ratio can range from 2× to over 200×. This is to say that the attacker sends a small request to the vulnerable server, and the server sends a much larger response to the target system.

Fortunately, AWS knows of these many potentially devastating DDoS attacks and includes some powerful protections for us for free, as well as ensures these protections are in an always-on state.


AWS Shield Standard

If you are using the AWS services of Route 53 (DNS) and CloudFront (CDN), you are already taking advantage of the free DDoS prevention methods of AWS Shield Standard. AWS engages in powerful protection methods for these services that include powerful network flow monitoring as well as protection mechanisms against Layer 3 and Layer 4 attacks. For example, the amplified UDP reflection attack described previously should be blocked thanks to the default behaviors of AWS Shield Standard.

AWS Shield Advanced

While it is not free like the AWS Shield Standard’s functionality, you might be compelled to take advantage of the more advanced version, AWS Shield Advanced. This is most commonly acquired through an Enterprise-level support agreement with AWS.

As you might guess, AWS Shield Advanced has the ability to protect a wider range of services than the standard version can. Here are some of the services that are provided protection by the suite of features:

  • EC2

  • Elastic Load Balancing

  • Elastic IP Addressing

  • CloudFront

  • Route 53

  • AWS Global Accelerator

Not only do you enjoy a wider range of services that are protected, your features expand as well, including the following:

  • Advanced analysis

  • Resource baselining and trending

  • Protection against Application (Layer 7) attacks

  • AWS DDoS Response Team (DRT)

  • DDoS Cost Protection

  • Real-time Threat Dashboard access

As if this was not enough, if you use AWS Shield Advanced to protect your EC2 instances, during an attack AWS Shield Advanced automatically deploys your VPC network ACLs to the border of the AWS network. This allows the security suite to provide protection against larger DDoS events.

Data Encryption

It is well known that encrypting your data at rest is often necessary to obtain the level of security you require. Fortunately, AWS not only supports this, but provides many tools to allow you a variety of protections in a variety of configurations. Data encryption capabilities include the following:

  • Data encryption capabilities available in AWS storage and database services, such as EBS, S3, Glacier, Oracle RDS, SQL Server RDS, and Redshift

  • Flexible key management options, including AWS Key Management Service; allowing you to choose whether to have AWS manage the encryption keys or to have you keep complete control over your keys

  • Encrypted message queues for the transmission of sensitive data using serverside encryption (SSE) for Amazon SQS

  • Dedicated, hardware-based cryptographic key storage using AWS CloudHSM, allowing you to satisfy compliance requirements

In addition, AWS provides APIs for you to integrate encryption and data protection with any of the services you develop or deploy. For more information on data encryption, see Chapter 4, “Storage and Data Management.”


Inventory and Configuration

One of the legitimate concerns when moving to a cloud service like AWS is the flexibility and ease of resource creation getting out of hand. You can have inventory and the configuration of devices become unmanageable. AWS has tools such as the following to assist with this potential problem:

  • Amazon Inspector is a security assessment service that automatically checks applications for vulnerabilities or deviations from best practices. This inspection includes impacted networks, OS, and attached storage.

  • Deployment tools to manage the creation and decommissioning of AWS resources according to organization standards.

  • Inventory and configuration management tools, including AWS Config, that identify AWS resources and then track and manage changes to those resources over time.

  • Template definition and management tools, including AWS CloudFormation to create standard, preconfigured environments; for more information on CloudFormation, see Chapter 7, “Automation and Optimization.”

Monitoring and Logging

“Track everything” is the war cry for many AWS engineers with concerns about cloud security. AWS provides tools for monitoring and logging that include the following:

  • Deep visibility into API calls through CloudTrail, including details on the calls themselves

  • Log aggregation options, streamlining investigations, and compliance reporting

  • Alert notifications through CloudWatch when specific events occur or thresholds are exceeded

Consistent use of these tools can improve the security posture, and reduce the risk profile, of your AWS solutions.


Penetration Testing

In order to perform penetration testing to or originating from any AWS resources, you must complete a request form to obtain permissions from Amazon.

There are several important things to note about penetration testing requests. As previously mentioned, there have been modifications to some of these parameters, but your exam might not reflect the current changes:

  • To request permission, you must be logged in to the AWS portal using the root credentials associated with the instances you wish to test; otherwise, the form will not pre-populate correctly. If you have hired a third party to conduct your testing, Amazon suggests that you complete the form and then notify your third party when approvals are granted.

  • You are only permitted testing of EC2 and RDS instances that you own. Tests against any other AWS services or AWS-owned resources are prohibited.

  • Amazon does not permit testing small or micro RDS instance types; testing of m1.small or t1.micro EC2 instance types is not permitted.

Pearson IT Certification Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from Pearson IT Certification and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about Pearson IT Certification products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites; develop new products and services; conduct educational research; and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by Adobe Press. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.pearsonitcertification.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020