One of the biggest challenges that organizations face when considering the implementation of a Web Application Firewall (WAF) is understanding the need for one. WAFs are used to protect websites from attacks and data breaches. This can be challenging when organizations are looking to implement WAFs. In this blog post, we cover some of the benefits of a WAF, configure and manage AWS WAF, and WAF best practices.
What is a Web Application Firewall?
A Web Application Firewall (WAF) is a solution that monitors, inspects, and enforces rules on incoming HTTP requests to a website. It can be likened to a firewall that protects the internal network from Internet-based threats, such as SQL injection attacks, cross-site request forgery attacks, and Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) attacks.
WAFs are designed to detect and stop malicious attacks before they reach your website. For example, a WAF may block requests that attempt to modify a spreadsheet on the website, thereby preventing the unauthorized modification of confidential data.
Understanding Web Application Firewall
The goal of a WAF is to make it more difficult for attackers to cause harm. Specifically, WAFs are used to stop attacks that exploit common security vulnerabilities in web applications. Common vulnerabilities include SQL injection attacks, Cross-Site Request Forgery attacks, and Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) attacks.
WAFs can also defend against denial of service attacks and other malicious activities, such as data theft and financial fraud. For example, WAFs can block incoming requests that attempt to send unrealistic volume of emails or make thousands of requests to access sensitive data.
What’s different with AWS WAF
Security is a top priority for everyone in the organization, but it’s especially important in B2B companies. Companies in highly regulated industries, such as healthcare and finance, must comply with complex regulations like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA). Organizations in these sectors are also at an increased risk of malicious attacks.
Many B2B companies use AWS because it allows them to focus on their core business, while AWS WAF protects them from cyberattacks. AWS WAF offers industry-leading security for websites and applications, including:
- – Advanced rule management capabilities that enable organizations to use rules to secure their AWS WAF deployment.
- – AWS WAF Gateway that enables WAF protection and detection of web applications from third-party applications.
- – AWS WAF Rules Management console with built-in reporting and analytics.
- – AWS WAF built on AWS infrastructure, with service-level agreements, SLAs, and 99.95% Uptime.
- – AWS WAF is a managed service, with AWS CloudFormation templates for deployment and AWS WAF Management APIs for programmatically managing WAF deployments.
Benefits of a WAF
A WAF can significantly reduce the risk of a data breach. A WAF can inspect and enforce rules on all HTTP requests to your AWS WAF-protected servers. This prevents HTTP requests from reaching your servers that are known to carry malicious code.
Because a WAF can detect and block HTTP requests that are known to carry malicious code, it can prevent a variety of threats, such as data theft and financial fraud.
A WAF can also protect your servers from common security vulnerabilities, such as SQL injection attacks and Cross-site Scripting (XSS) attacks, that are often exploited by attackers. A WAF can inspect and enforce rules for all HTTP requests to your servers. This is much more effective than implementing protection for individual applications.
WAF best practices
Perform Application Discovery – The best way to understand your web application’s vulnerabilities and critical controls is to perform application discovery. This includes assessing your web application’s security posture and identifying vulnerabilities.
- The best way to understand your web application’s vulnerabilities and critical controls is to perform application discovery. This includes assessing your web application’s security posture and identifying vulnerabilities. Verify Application Ownership – Once you’ve completed application discovery, you must verify that AWS WAF administrators have completed AWS Application Owner (AO) verification.
- Once you’ve completed application discovery, you must verify that AWS WAF administrators have completed AWS Application Owner (AO) verification. Plan and Test Deployments – Use blueprints to automate the deployment of AWS WAF and related security capabilities. Make sure you test your deployments to ensure they are functioning properly before they are deployed in a production setting.
- Use blueprints to automate the deployment of AWS WAF and related security capabilities. Make sure you test your deployments to ensure they are functioning properly before they are deployed in a production setting. Leverage best practices for access management – AWS WAF can detect and block persistent access to your AWS WAF-protected servers.
- AWS WAF can detect and block persistent access to your AWS WAF-protected servers. Use AWS Guard McCarthy Protection – AWS Guard McCarthy Protection can be used to protect AWS WAF from malicious attacks originating from AWS.
Configuring and Managing AWS WAF
Securing your AWS WAF deployment is just like securing any other AWS infrastructure resource. First, you must understand your AWS WAF deployment and vulnerabilities. Then you can plan your AWS WAF security strategy.
You can configure AWS WAF using the AWS WAF Management APIs, AWS CloudFormation templates, and the AWS WAF Rules Management console. You can also automate deployment processes and manage AWS WAF with AWS CloudFormation.
AWS WAF pricing and unit economy
AWS WAF pricing is based on the number of requests processed per day and the number of rules in use. Pricing is available per source IP address or per destination IP address.
AWS WAF pricing starts at $7.50 per 1,000 rules per month and increases based on the number of rules in use. AWS WAF supports a maximum of 5,000 rules per deployment, and you can scale up or down as your needs change. Pricing is available in the following units:
- – Hour – $0.01 to $0.05
- – Day – $0.06 to $0.10
- – Week – $0.11 to $0.20
- – Month – $0.21 to $0.50
- – Year – $0.51 to $2.00
In this post, we covered some of the benefits of a Web Application Firewall, configured and managed AWS WAF, and best practices. AWS WAF is a managed service that provides industry-leading security for websites and applications.