Enhanced Automated Vulnerability Management for Cloud Workloads Announced by AWS

On an AWS blog post, Steve Roberts presented a new Amazon Inspector which provides enhanced automated vulnerability management for cloud workloads for AWS.

enhanced automated vulnerability management for cloud workloads for AWS

Newly added capabilities for the Amazon Inspector service will meet the “critical need to detect and remediate at speed” in order to secure cloud workloads.

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The new features are:

  • Continual, automated assessment scans—replaces periodic, manual scanning.
  • Automated resource discovery – once enabled, the new Amazon Inspector automatically discovers all running Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances and Amazon Elastic Container Registry repositories.
  • New support for container-based workloads—workloads are now assessed on both EC2 and container infrastructure.
  • Integration with AWS Organizations—allowing security and compliance teams to enable and take advantage of Amazon Inspector across all accounts in an organization.
  • Removal of the stand-alone Amazon Inspector scanning agent—assessment scanning now uses the widely deployed AWS Systems Manager agent, eliminating the need for a separate agent installation.
  • Improved risk scoring—a highly contextualized risk score is now 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 to identify the most critical vulnerabilities to address as a priority.
  • Integration with Amazon EventBridge—integrate with event management and workflow systems such as Splunk and Jira. And, you can trigger automated remediation, for example, system patching using Systems Manager or virtual machine image rebuilds using EC2 Image Builder.
  • Integration with AWS Security Hub—helping your teams to more easily identify those resources with critical vulnerabilities or deviations from security best practices.

Just Enable the Service

With the new Amazon Inspector, all you need to do is enable the service. It will auto-discover and start continual assessment of your EC2 and your Amazon Elastic Container Registry-based container workloads to evaluate your security posture, even as the underlying resources change.

EC2 instances are discovered and assessed for unintended exposure to external networks and software vulnerabilities using the Systems Manager agent, already included by default in images provided by AWS for instance management, automated patching, and more. Container-based workloads are assessed as the images are pushed to Amazon Elastic Container Registry. Without needing additional software or agents, container images and EC2 instances are assessed in near real time when an event occurs.

Multiple Vulnerability Intelligence Sources

The new Amazon Inspector collects events from over 50 vulnerability intelligence sources, including CVE, the National Vulnerability Database (NVD), and MITRE.

Images that may be affected by a newly identified entry, for example, a new CVE notification, will be automatically rescanned. Image rescanning is enabled for 30 days from the date they are pushed to the registry. You can also enable an option to only scan on image push and not subsequently perform rescans.

Contextual Risk Assessment

Compared to a generic Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) score, Contextual risk assessment takes into account additional factors such as accessibility to the internet and ease of exploitability to make the score more meaningful.

In the image below, Amazon Inspector‘s risk assessment score is lower than the CVSS score because the attack vector requires network access. Amazon Inspector knows that the vulnerability identified in the GNOME Glib will be difficult to exploit because in this resource, there is no network access, and therefore it lowered the risk score.

Get a Free Trial

Amazon Inspector offers a free 15-day trial, so you can put it to work to see how Amazon Inspector can help your security and compliance teams reduce operational complexity and cost associated with managing resource inventories, stand-alone security agents, and repetitive manual assessments.

Dimitris is an Information Technology and Cybersecurity professional with more than 20 years of experience in designing, building and maintaining efficient and secure IT infrastructures.
Among others, he is a certified: CISSP, CISA, CISM, ITIL, COBIT and PRINCE2, but his wide set of knowledge and technical management capabilities go beyond these certifications. He likes acquiring new skills on penetration testing, cloud technologies, virtualization, network security, IoT and many more.

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