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AWS Firewall Manager vs. WAF vs. open-appsec - Which Is the Best Security Tool for Web Apps and APIs

When it comes to a website, application, and API security, choosing the right tool is necessary if you want to protect your users' data and build a good reputation for your business.

Good enough, businesses can choose from myriads of security tools. AWS Firewall and WAF are great web applications and API security solutions for your business.

But choosing the best between AWS Firewall Manager and WAF can be challenging if you want a tool that is budget-friendly, easy to maintain, and effectively detect and prevent an attack. This article compares the features and highlights the pros and cons of AWS Firewall and WAF.

Also, we will introduce open-appsec, a new machine learning-based security tool you can use.

AWS Firewall Manager vs. WAF vs. open-appsec

The table below shows the features of AWS Firewall Manager, AWS WAF, and open-appsec. It should give you a quick overview of what they are used for.


AWS Firewall Manager




ML-based. No signature needed




Zero-day protection (Text4Shell, Log4Shell, Spring4Shell, etc.)




API protection










Yes (need integration with Amazon CloudFront)

Yes (premium feature)


NGINX, NGINX Ingress, Envoy Add-On




Kubernetes Ingress




Gateway VM for AWS, Azure, and VMWare



Enterprise version


Declarative configuration and deployment




SaaS Web-based Event Management & Dashboards








Code and Price









AWS Firewall Manager Pros and Cons

These pros and cons are based on reviews from people who have used AWS Firewall Manager.



AWS Firewall Manager assists in protecting resources across multiple accounts.

AWS Firewall Manager is suitable for big businesses because its monthly fee is expensive compared to its competitors.

It allows you to use your rules or buy managed rules from AWS Marketplace.

It is not easy to set security policies for multiple regions.

You can apply security group rules to all or specific members' accounts.

AWS Firewall Manager support team charges are extremely high.

You can automatically protect new resources that are added to your account.

AWS Firewall Manager is a service that allows you to configure and manage rules across your accounts in the AWS platform.

Firewall Manager handles six protection policies - AWS WAF, AWS VPC security groups, AWS Shield, AWS Network Firewall, Amazon Route 53 Resolver DNS Firewall, and Palo Alto Cloud Next-generation firewall.

You can easily configure all of them across all accounts in your organization. As new applications are created on AWS, it is easier to bring them into compliance by enforcing a common set of security rules.

AWS Firewall Manager is a single service you can use to build security rules, create security policies, and enforce them hierarchically across your entire infrastructure.

The protection policies come with a monthly fee per region. You should expect to pay $100 per policy per region. Users in Asia Pacific (Jakarta) and the Middle East will pay $120 and $110.

Here are some features offered by AWS Firewall Manager:

  • Protect web applications hosted on EC2. With Firewall Manager, you can enforce group rules and protect all your web apps on EC2.

  • Deploy tools at scale. You can create rules, configure them and maintain firewalls with similar security policies on several accounts and VPCs in your AWS infrastructure.

  • Hierarchical rule enforcement. AWS Firewall Manager lets you hierarchically apply protection policies, making it easy to create and delegate app-specific rules.

  • Provides a dashboard with compliance notifications. Firewall Manager provides a visual dashboard that displays which AWS resources are protected and non-compliance and allows you to take action.

AWS WAF Pros and Cons

These are the pros and cons based on reviews of users using AWS WAF.



With AWS WAF, you can create rules to filter traffic based on conditions like HTTP headers, IP addresses, and custom URLs.

The price can be high when used with a single application.

AWS WAF filters website and application traffic against malicious requests.

It doesn't protect against DDoS attacks.

Block common attacks like SQL injection, cross-site scripting, and control bots.

No Zero-Day pre-emptive protection as it based on signatures

AWS WAF gives you visibility and control against bot traffic that can skew metrics, consume excess resources, and cause downtime.

There is a limitation on the number of rules you can set, and also, the price seems to be a little high

AWS WAF helps you protect web applications against common exploits by allowing you to set rules that enable, block, or monitor web requests.

With AWS WAF, you can set security rules that control bot traffic and prevent SQL injection and cross-site scripting (CSS). Aside from protecting your web application from common attacks, you can create rules that block or limit traffic from certain user agents, IP addresses, or request headers.

AWS WAF protects your web application by forwarding received requests for inspection against your rules. Once a request meets the condition set in your rules, it instructs the service to block or allow based on the action you define.

Here are some of the features of AWS WAF:

  • You can administer AWS WAF with API. You can create, manage and maintain rules with API, speeding up the security process. Also, the security rules can be incorporated into the development and design process.

  • Filter web traffic. AWS WAF allows you to set rules to filter web traffic as per the conditions you set. You can filter traffic requests by IP addresses, HTTP headers, and custom URLs. It will give your web app more protection from web attacks that seek to exploit vulnerabilities in your application.

  • Integration with AWS Firewall Manager. You can integrate AWS WAF with AWS Firewall Manager to configure and manage multiple accounts. So, as new resources are created, the rules will be added automatically.

  • Provides real-time visibility. If you want to view real-time metrics and requests that include details about URLs, IP addresses, and geo-location, you can do that with AWS WAF.

open-appsec Pros and Cons

Are you looking for a way to block attacks on your web application before they happen? open-appsec uses machine learning to continuously detect and preemptively block threats before they can do any damage. Our code has also been published on GitHub, and the effectiveness of our WAF has been successfully proven in numerous tests by third parties. Try open-appsec in the Playground today.



Protects your web application and API preemptively against zero-day attacks, OWASP Top 10, etc.

It is a new security solution for web applications and APIs.

open-appsec Web Behavioral Anti-Bot helps to protect your resources from abuse.

Since it is a new product, there is little information about it on the internet.

You can easily configure and manage your resources using Web UI (SaaS).

It has a small community of users.

Open-source and free to use.

open-appsec is a new security solution created to pre-emptively protect your web applications and APIs against OWASP Top 10, zero-day attacks, and bad bots. It is noteworthy that open-appsec is open-source and has a free version with no limit on the number of traffic requests analyzed.

You can use the premium version if you want advanced protection against harmful bots that can slow your system down.

open-appsec uses a machine learning model to continuously analyze traffic requests directed at your network and preemptively block suspicious ones. Also, it does not require threat signature upkeep and exceptional handling like most WAF solutions because of its machine-learning model.

If you have a project on Kubernetes and NGINX servers, you can easily deploy open-appsec as an add-on to protect your system. Getting started with open-appsec is easy.

You can use Kubernetes, NGINX, or Web UI (SaaS) to set up your security. open-appsec protects applications and APIs running on the Kubernetes environment by serving as a secure HTTP/S load balancer for one or more resources.

Aside from Kubernetes, it can be deployed as an add-on for NGINX to safeguard applications and APIs on the NGINX web server. Users can use the Web UI to manage assets and policies, cloud storage (premium version), event analysis, and multiple deployments in a scalable way. The Web UI also has a graphic dashboard that is easy to use.

It uses two different ML-based models - supervised and unsupervised, to detect threats. The supervised model was trained offline with millions of malicious and harmless requests, while the unsupervised model analyzed requests in real time.

It is easy to think that using open-appsec will not be easy to use, but on the contrary, it is. You can easily get familiar by 'playing' around the playground. Depending on your server, you can get started with the playground for Kubernetes or NGINX.

The playground uses a demo web application with several security vulnerabilities. You will learn how to:

  • Attack the web application by doing an SQL injection.

  • Protect your web application and API in Kubernetes or NGINX by deploying open-appsec.

  • Attack the web application again to confirm that the security vulnerabilities have been eliminated.

  • Link your deployment to the Web UI (SaaS).

Features of open-appsec

1. open-appsec Integrate with Kubernetes and NGINX

You can protect your applications and APIs running on the NGINX and Kubernetes environments.

2. Free and Open-Source

open-appsec is a free-to-use security solution because the code is open-source and available on GitHub. Also, you can use it for free to protect your web app and API. You can get the premium version if you want advanced anti-bot protection and cloud storage.

3. open-appsec Provides ML Threat Prevention

It preemptively protects your system from malicious attacks using machine learning. It uses two ML-based models to detect threats, allowing it to prevent SQL injection, zero-day exploits, and OWASP Top 10, with few false positives.

4. Provides API Security

With open-appsec, you can stop malicious access and abuse of your API. Also, you can keep track of how users use your API to prevent abuse of your resource.

5. Anti-Bot

Users can identify and stop automated bot attacks to prevent customers' data theft.

6. Easy Management

The open-appsec machine learning model makes maintaining your web app and API security easy since you don't have to update it regularly like most web application firewalls. Also, you can use the Web UI (SaaS) to manage security.

7. Prevent Intrusion

open-appsec continuously monitors your network for malicious activity and acts to defend it. It provides a full IPS Engine that protects over 2,809 WEB CVEs.

8. Infrastructure-as-Code

open-appsec offers infrastructure-as-code to help you automatically manage, monitor, and allocate resources. Deploy and manage your resources using Terraform and GraphQL API.


AWS Firewall Manager vs. WAF vs. open-appsec, which one should I choose? Well, here is our verdict. Your choice depends on your security needs.

If you want a security service that allows you to manage different resources on a single platform, you can go for AWS Firewall Manager. Firewall Manager is a service that lets users configure and manage security policies across multiple accounts.

You can choose AWS WAF if you want a web application firewall that filters web traffic and protects your resources from bad bots, SQL injection, and cross-site scripting. It can be integrated with AWS Firewall Manager to set up and manage several accounts. Also, it provides a real-time visibility report of requests made to your resources.

If you want a robust security solution that integrates with modern environments like the public cloud, NGINX, Kubernetes, and Envoy, you can choose open-appsec. open-appsec is a machine learning-based web and API security solution that preemptively protects your resources from OWASP TOP 10, zero-day attacks, and bad bots.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is AWS Firewall Manager?

Firewall Manager for AWS is a security management service that lets you configure and manage rules across several accounts and applications built on AWS.

What Is the Difference between AWS Firewall Manager and WAF?

Firewall Manager allows you to handle numerous accounts and set security rules that apply to all. AWS WAF is a security tool that protects your web app from common attacks like SQL injection, cross-site scripting, and malicious bots.


Experiment with open-appsec for Linux, Kubernetes or Kong using a free virtual lab

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