How to Enable Amazon GuardDuty for Intelligent Threat Detection

November 30, 20234 min read

Amazon GuardDuty is a managed threat detection service that continuously monitors for malicious activity and unauthorized behavior within your AWS environment. It uses machine learning, anomaly detection, and integrated threat intelligence to identify and prioritize potential threats. GuardDuty analyzes various data sources, such as AWS CloudTrail event logs, Amazon VPC flow logs, and DNS logs to detect unexpected and potentially unauthorized or malicious activity within your AWS environment.

Enabling Amazon GuardDuty

Step 1: Sign in to AWS Management Console

  • To begin, you will need to sign in to the AWS Management Console with your account credentials.

Step 2: Access GuardDuty Console

  • Once logged in, navigate to the “Services” menu.
  • In the “Security, Identity, & Compliance” section, click on GuardDuty to open the GuardDuty console.

Step 3: Activate GuardDuty

  • If you are using GuardDuty for the first time, the console will present you with an introduction page. Click on the “Get Started” button.
  • Review the GuardDuty service permissions and then click on the “Enable GuardDuty” button.

Step 4: Configure GuardDuty

  • Region Selection: You should select the AWS region where you want to enable GuardDuty. Since GuardDuty is a regional service, you must repeat the setup process for each AWS region where you intend to use it.
  • Enable Multi-Account Management (Optional):
    • If you have multiple AWS accounts, you can designate a master account to manage GuardDuty settings for linked member accounts.
    • You can invite other accounts by entering their AWS account IDs or by sending invitations to the respective email addresses.
  • Enable S3 Protection (Optional):
    • You can enable S3 Protection to monitor for suspicious activities like unauthorized replication or anomalous object access patterns in your S3 buckets.
    • Click the “Edit S3 Protection settings” link and follow the prompts to switch it on.
  • Configure Additional Settings (Optional):
    • In the “Settings” tab, you can adjust settings such as:
      • Adding trusted IP addresses or threat lists.
      • Configuring CloudWatch Events to trigger notifications.
      • Integrating with AWS Organizations for consolidated management.

Step 5: View Findings

  • Once GuardDuty is enabled, it will immediately start analyzing your account’s log data for suspicious behavior.
  • Navigate to the “Findings” tab within the GuardDuty console to view potential security threats.
  • The findings will display detailed information, including the threat severity, type, affected resources, and suggested remediation actions.

Managing GuardDuty Findings

Step 6: Take Action on Findings

  • Review each finding to determine its legitimacy and whether action is needed.
  • For each finding, GuardDuty presents recommended guidance for investigating and remediating the potential threat.
  • Actions may include revoking permissions, changing passwords, or updating access keys.

Step 7: Automate Responses

  • You can automate responses to specific findings using AWS Lambda functions triggered by Amazon CloudWatch Events generated by GuardDuty.
  • Set up automation to perform tasks such as quarantining compromised EC2 instances, updating security groups, or rotating IAM credentials in response to certain findings.


With GuardDuty now enabled and configured, you have an intelligent threat detection service that helps safeguard your AWS environment. It’s crucial to routinely review GuardDuty findings and maintain an active security posture. Regularly update your GuardDuty settings to align with the changing nature of your AWS resources and organizational requirements.