How AWS Shield Protects You From DDoS?

How AWS Shield Protects You From DDoS?

AWS Shield Standard automatically protects all AWS customers at no cost. It protects your AWS resources from the most common, frequently occurring


5 min read

The threat of cyber attacks is large in today's interconnected digital world, where businesses and individuals rely heavily on online services. One such threat that has gained fame in recent years is the Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack. In this blog post, we'll delve into what DDoS attacks are, how they work, their impact, and measures to mitigate them.

Understanding DDoS Attacks

At its core, a DDoS attack aims to disrupt the normal operation of a targeted server, service, or network by flooding it with an overwhelming volume of traffic. The "distributed" aspect refers to the utilization of multiple compromised devices, forming a botnet, to generate this traffic. These devices can range from computers and smartphones to Internet of Things (IoT) devices, all under the control of the attacker.

How DDoS Attacks Work

DDoS attacks typically unfold in several stages:

  1. Botnet Formation: Attackers infect numerous devices with malware, gaining control over them and forming a botnet.

  2. Command and Control: The attacker issues commands to the botnet, instructing it to send a flood of requests to the target server or network.

  3. Traffic Flood: The botnet obediently follows these instructions, inundating the target with a deluge of traffic, thereby overwhelming its resources.

DDoS attacks are particularly troublesome because they're difficult to stop. Unlike a lone attacker, a botnet spreads the attack across numerous devices, making it hard to identify and block the source.

Impact of DDoS Attacks

The consequences of a successful DDoS attack can be severe:

  • Service Disruption: The targeted service becomes inaccessible to legitimate users, resulting in downtime and loss of productivity.

  • Financial Losses: Businesses may suffer financial losses due to interrupted operations, decreased customer trust, and potential regulatory penalties.

  • Reputation Damage: Organizations targeted by DDoS attacks often experience reputational damage, eroding customer confidence and brand loyalty.

Common Reasons behind DDoS Attack

But why do attackers unleash such chaos? Here are some common reasons:

  • Extortion Money: Sometimes, attackers use DDoS attacks for financial gain. They threaten to take down a website unless the victim pays a ransom.

  • Disrupting the System: Hacktivists might use DDoS attacks to disrupt the operations of a company or organization they disagree with.

  • Taking Down the Competition: Malicious businesses might use DDoS attacks to sabotage their competitor's online presence.

Thankfully, there are ways to defend against DDoS attacks. Security measures like DDoS mitigation services can help filter out suspicious traffic and keep websites and online services up and running.

How AWS Shield Protects You From DDoS

AWS Shield Standard automatically protects all AWS customers at no cost. It protects your AWS resources from the most common, frequently occurring types of DDoS attack. AWS Shield is a crucial component of Amazon Web Services (AWS) defence strategy against Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. Here's how AWS Shield protects its customers. AWS Shield offers two tiers of protection: Standard and Advanced.

1. AWS Shield Standard

  • Automatic Protection: AWS Shield Standard is automatically enabled for all AWS customers at no additional cost. It provides protection against the most common and frequently occurring DDoS attacks.

  • Always-On Monitoring: AWS Shield Standard continuously monitors AWS global network traffic, looking for signs of malicious activity or DDoS attacks targeting customer resources.

  • Inline Mitigations: When AWS Shield detects a DDoS attack, it automatically deploys inline mitigations to filter out malicious traffic and allow legitimate traffic to reach customer resources.

2. AWS Shield Advanced

  • Enhanced Protection: AWS Shield Advanced is a premium offering that provides additional DDoS protection beyond what is offered in AWS Shield Standard.

  • Customization: With AWS Shield Advanced, customers gain access to enhanced detection and mitigation capabilities, as well as more granular controls and customization options to tailor protection to their specific needs.

  • 24/7 DDoS Response Team (DRT): AWS Shield Advanced subscribers have access to a dedicated DDoS Response Team (DRT) that provides assistance and guidance during DDoS attacks, helping customers mitigate the impact and recover from attacks more effectively.

  • Automatic WAF Rule Creation: Shield Advanced can automatically create rules within AWS WAF (Web Application Firewall) to block malicious traffic targeting your applications. This eliminates the need for manual intervention during an attack.

  • DDoS-Cost Protection: Shield Advanced safeguards you from unexpected charges arising from a DDoS attack that inflates your AWS resource usage.

Constant Vigilance: Both Shield Standard and Advanced leverage AWS's massive global infrastructure. This allows them to identify and filter out malicious traffic before it reaches your resources. AWS constantly monitors for new attack patterns and updates its defences accordingly.

Human Expertise (Shield Advanced): With Shield Advanced, you gain access to the AWS Shield Response Team (SRT) – a team of security specialists available 24/7. During a complex DDoS attack, the SRT can assist with advanced mitigation strategies and help ensure your application's continued operation.

Benefits of Using AWS Shield

  • Peace of Mind: AWS Shield's proactive approach allows you to focus on your core business functions without worrying about DDoS attacks.

  • Enhanced Security: The multi-layered protection offered by Shield safeguards your applications from various DDoS attack vectors.

  • Cost Control: Shield Standard's free tier provides a valuable first line of defence, while Shield Advanced's DDoS-cost protection helps manage unexpected expenses.


In summary, AWS Shield provides comprehensive protection against DDoS attacks by offering automatic detection, inline mitigation, customization options, access to a dedicated response team, seamless integration with AWS services, and continuous improvements to stay ahead of evolving threats. By leveraging AWS Shield, customers can ensure the availability, reliability, and security of their applications and services hosted on the AWS cloud platform.

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