How to Encrypt AWS EBS Volume

Priyam Singh

~ 4 min read

EBS volumes are not encrypted by default. Encrypting these adds a layer of security to the data stored on it.

Introduction

Elastic Block Storage volumes are the equivalent of hard drives in the physical world. EBS volumes are attached to EC2 instances and store operating system data and instance-specific data as well (code, applications, software, etc.). These volumes are not encrypted by default, but adding encryption to EBS provides you with extra security.

An AWS account would fail security compliance checks especially around data security if the EBS volume is not encrypted. Additionally, any snapshots created from an unencrypted volume are not encrypted. A malicious user with access to the snapshot either through the snapshot being exposed publicly or due to access to the AWS account, would result in compromise of data stored on the snapshot.

In this article we will go through the steps to encrypt AWS EBS Volumes via both console and CLI.

Steps to Encrypt AWS EBS Volume

To encrypt the EBS volume via AWS console, follow the steps below

  1. Login to the AWS Management Console and navigate to EC2 dashboard.

  2. In the navigation panel, under Elastic Block Store, click Volumes.

    AWS EBS Volumes

  3. Select the Volume that is non-encrypted and you want to update.

  4. Click the Actions dropdown button from the EBS dashboard top menu and select Create Snapshot

    AWS EBS create snapshot

  5. In the Create Snapshot dialog box, provide a name and a description for the snapshot and click on Create snapshot button

    AWS EBS snapshot details

  6. Navigate to Elastic Block Store, and click Snapshots.

    AWS EBS Snapshots

  7. Select your newly created EBS snapshot. Click the Actions dropdown button and select Copy snapshot

    AWS EBS copy Snapshots

  8. In the Copy Snapshot dialog box, check the checkbox Encrypt this snapshot and click the Copy snapshot button

  9. Select the new (copied) EBS snapshot and click the Actions dropdown button from the EBS dashboard top menu and select Create Volume from snapshot

    EBS Create Volume from snapshot

  10. In the Create Volume dialog box, make sure the volume Encryption status is Encrypted and click Create Volume

  11. Navigate back to Volume, select the Volume that is not encrypted, then click the Actions dropdown button from the EBS dashboard top menu and select Detach Volume

    AWS EBS Detach Volume

  12. Select the newly encrypted EBS volume. Click the Actions dropdown button from the EBS dashboard top menu and select Attach Volume

    AWS EBS attach Volume

  13. In the Attach Volume dialog box enter your EC2 instance ID and the device name for the attachment then click Attach Volume

To encrypt the EBS volume via CLI, follow the steps below:

  1. To list the volumes

    aws ec2 describe-volumes --region <region>
  2. Create a new snapshot from your non-encrypted volume

    aws ec2 create-snapshot --volume-id <volume id> --region <region>

    EBS create snapshot command

  3. Create an encrypted copy of the existent EBS snapshot

    aws --region <region> ec2 copy-snapshot --source-region <region> --encrypted --source-snapshot-id <snapshot id>

    Output of the command

    Output encrypted EBS snapshot command

  4. Create a new EBS volume from the encrypted snapshot

    aws ec2 create-volume --region <region> --availability-zone <AZ> --snapshot-id <snapshot id> --volume-type <volume type> --encrypted

    Output of the command

    Output encrypted EBS volume command

  5. Detach the non-encrypted EBS volume

    aws ec2 detach-volume --volume-id <Volume ID> --region <region>

    Output of the command

    Detach unencrypted EBS volume command

  6. To attach the new encrypted EBS volume to your EC2 instance run attach-volume

    aws ec2 attach-volume --volume-id <volume id> --instance-id <instance id> --device /dev/sdf --region <region>

    Output of the command

    Attach unencrypted EBS volume command

You can also learn how to Create,attach and detach EBS volumes from this Academy article.

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