Data protection in Amazon EC2 - Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud
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Data protection in Amazon EC2

The Amazon shared responsibility model applies to data protection in Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud. As described in this model, Amazon is responsible for protecting the global infrastructure that runs all of the Amazon Web Services Cloud. You are responsible for maintaining control over your content that is hosted on this infrastructure. This content includes the security configuration and management tasks for the Amazon Web Services that you use. For more information about data privacy, see the Data Privacy FAQ.

For data protection purposes, we recommend that you protect Amazon Web Services account credentials and set up individual user accounts with Amazon Identity and Access Management (IAM). That way each user is given only the permissions necessary to fulfill their job duties. We also recommend that you secure your data in the following ways:

  • Use multi-factor authentication (MFA) with each account.

  • Use SSL/TLS to communicate with Amazon resources. We recommend TLS 1.2 or later.

  • Set up API and user activity logging with Amazon CloudTrail.

  • Use Amazon encryption solutions, along with all default security controls within Amazon services.

  • Use advanced managed security services such as Amazon Macie, which assists in discovering and securing personal data that is stored in Amazon S3.

  • If you require FIPS 140-2 validated cryptographic modules when accessing Amazon through a command line interface or an API, use a FIPS endpoint. For more information about the available FIPS endpoints, see Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 140-2.

We strongly recommend that you never put confidential or sensitive information, such as your customers' email addresses, into tags or free-form fields such as a Name field. This includes when you work with Amazon EC2 or other Amazon services using the console, API, Amazon CLI, or Amazon SDKs. Any data that you enter into tags or free-form fields used for names may be used for billing or diagnostic logs. If you provide a URL to an external server, we strongly recommend that you do not include credentials information in the URL to validate your request to that server.

Amazon EBS data security

Amazon EBS volumes are presented to you as raw, unformatted block devices. These devices are logical devices that are created on the EBS infrastructure and the Amazon EBS service ensures that the devices are logically empty (that is, the raw blocks are zeroed or they contain cryptographically pseudorandom data) prior to any use or re-use by a customer.

If you have procedures that require that all data be erased using a specific method, either after or before use (or both), such as those detailed in DoD 5220.22-M (National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual) or NIST 800-88 (Guidelines for Media Sanitization), you have the ability to do so on Amazon EBS. That block-level activity will be reflected down to the underlying storage media within the Amazon EBS service.

Encryption at rest

EBS volumes

Amazon EBS encryption is an encryption solution for your EBS volumes and snapshots. It uses Amazon KMS keys. For more information, see Amazon EBS encryption.

Instance store volumes

The data on NVMe instance store volumes is encrypted using an XTS-AES-256 cipher, implemented on a hardware module on the instance. The keys used to encrypt data that's written to locally-attached NVMe storage devices are per-customer, and per volume. The keys are generated by, and only reside within, the hardware module, which is inaccessible to Amazon personnel. The encryption keys are destroyed when the instance is stopped or terminated and cannot be recovered. You cannot disable this encryption and you cannot provide your own encryption key.

The data on HDD instance store volumes on H1, D3, and D3en instances is encrypted using XTS-AES-256 and one-time keys.

When you stop, hibernate, or terminate an instance, every block of storage in the instance store volume is reset. Therefore, your data cannot be accessed through the instance store of another instance.


Memory encryption is enabled on the following instances:

  • Instances with Amazon Graviton 2 processors, such as M6g instances. These processors support always-on memory encryption. The encryption keys are securely generated within the host system, do not leave the host system, and are destroyed when the host is rebooted or powered down.

  • Instances with Intel Xeon Scalable processors (Ice Lake), such as M6i instances. These processors support always-on memory encryption using Intel Total Memory Encryption (TME).

  • Instances with 3rd generation AMD EPYC processors (Milan), such as M6a instances. These processors support always-on memory encryption using AMD Transparent Single Key Memory Encryption (TSME).

Encryption in transit

Encryption at the physical layer

All data flowing across Amazon Regions over the Amazon global network is automatically encrypted at the physical layer before it leaves Amazon secured facilities. All traffic between AZs is encrypted. Additional layers of encryption, including those listed in this section, may provide additional protections.

Encryption provided by Amazon VPC and Transit Gateway cross-Region peering

All cross-Region traffic that uses Amazon VPC and Transit Gateway peering is automatically bulk-encrypted when it exits a Region. An additional layer of encryption is automatically provided at the physical layer for all cross-Region traffic, as previously noted in this section.

Encryption between instances

Amazon provides secure and private connectivity between EC2 instances of all types. In addition, some instance types use the offload capabilities of the underlying Nitro System hardware to automatically encrypt in-transit traffic between instances, using AEAD algorithms with 256-bit encryption. There is no impact on network performance. To support this additional in-transit traffic encryption between instances, the following requirements must be met:

  • The instances use the following instance types:

    • General purpose: M5dn | M5n | M5zn | M6a | M6i

    • Compute optimized: C5a | C5ad | C5n | C6a | C6gn | C6i | Hpc6a

    • Memory optimized: R5dn | R5n | R6i | high memory (u-*), virtualized only | X2idn | X2iedn | X2iezn

    • Storage optimized: D3 | D3en | I3en | I4i | Im4gn | Is4gen

    • Accelerated computing: DL1 | G4ad | G4dn | G5 | Inf1 | P3dn | P4d | VT1

  • The instances are in the same Region.

  • The instances are in the same VPC or peered VPCs, and the traffic does not pass through a virtual network device or service, such as a load balancer or a transit gateway.

An additional layer of encryption is automatically provided at the physical layer for all traffic before it leaves Amazon secured facilities, as previously noted in this section.

To view the instance types that encrypt in-transit traffic between instances using the Amazon CLI

Use the following describe-instance-types command.

aws ec2 describe-instance-types \ --filters Name=network-info.encryption-in-transit-supported,Values=true \ --query "InstanceTypes[*].[InstanceType]" --output text | sort

Encryption to and from Amazon Outposts

An Outpost creates special network connections called service links to its Amazon home Region and, optionally, private connectivity to a VPC subnet that you specify. All traffic over those connection is fully encrypted. For more information, see Connectivity through service links and Encryption in transit in the Amazon Outposts User Guide.

Remote access encryption

SSH provides a secure communications channel for remote access to your Linux instances, whether directly or through EC2 Instance Connect. Remote access to your instances using Amazon Systems Manager Session Manager or the Run Command is encrypted using TLS 1.2, and requests to create a connection are signed using SigV4 and authenticated and authorized by Amazon Identity and Access Management.

It is your responsibility to use an encryption protocol, such as Transport Layer Security (TLS), to encrypt sensitive data in transit between clients and your Amazon EC2 instances.