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Amazon looks to save you from the next big bot-army attack

The company's Amazon Web Services division introduces two new services to help companies keep a better eye on all their internet-connected devices.

Ben Fox Rubin Former senior reporter
Ben Fox Rubin was a senior reporter for CNET News in Manhattan, reporting on Amazon, e-commerce and mobile payments. He previously worked as a reporter for The Wall Street Journal and got his start at newspapers in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts.
Ben Fox Rubin
2 min read

Amazon is trying to spare you future security nightmares.

Ben Fox Rubin/CNET

Last October, a big chunk of the internet went dark for hours, the result of a cyberattack on the Web-services company Dynamic Network Services, also known as Dyn. That attack was implemented with the help of a bot army of internet-connected security cameras and electronics. Those devices were hijacked with malware and used to overload Dyn by sending it loads of junk data.

More of these attacks could come in the future, as billions more electronics, cars and streetlights gain an internet connection -- a concept known as the internet of things, or IoT -- expanding the potential targets for hackers.

Amazon is hoping it can cut down and mitigate such future attacks with the help of a new feature through Amazon Web Services called AWS IoT Device Defender.

The new service was announced at the AWS re:Invent annual conference Wednesday and comes out in early 2018. It will offer AWS users, which are major businesses and government agencies, continuous monitoring of their growing stable of devices, real-time alerts and detection and speedy mitigation measures in the event of a breach.

"This will be a big step forward in handling security for a lot of devices," AWS CEO Andy Jassy said onstage at the conference Wednesday in Las Vegas.

Jassy on Wednesday also introduced a new device management system that will help AWS users more easily group, track and troubleshoot their devices.

While neither of these services will be directly available to consumers, they may help businesses and governments get a better handle on the proliferation of internet-connected products and reduce the impact of potential attacks. 

However, cheap internet-connected electronics that have weaker security measures are widely available and online systems are often as strong as their weakest links. So, even with these new services from AWS, businesses and governments will likely still have a long way to go in tamping down future cyberthreats.

The two new services were part of a series of announcements from AWS on Wednesday. Here are a few other notable ones:

  • The AWS DeepLens video camera, which runs artificial intelligence software. It will work essentially as a learning tool for developers to gain experience using AI and image recognition software.
  • The National Football League partnered with AWS to have Amazon boost the capabilities of the NFL's Next Gen Stats, which create deeper location, speed and acceleration statistics in real-time that broadcasters can use during games.
  • AWS also introduced a trio of new text-related services: Amazon Transcribe, an automatic speech recognition and transcription service; Amazon Translate, a real-time language translation service; and Amazon Comprehend, a text analysis feature. As with the IoT device features, these services are targeted at companies and developers, not consumers, but these tools could find their way into consumer apps or services from developers in the future.

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