Deploy a Free Cloud Node in Seconds

When I created Blockade last year, I challenged myself to build a defense solution that could run on limited resources and be of no cost to users looking to leverage the technology. For the most part, I was successful — Blockade can run on extremely limited hardware and can be deployed anywhere. Where I failed a bit was the accessibility of the resources since an administrator still needed a system to deploy Blockade.

This year, I wanted to make right on my challenge and am happy to release a new script bundled into the Analyst Toolbench —blockade-aws-deploy. As the name implies, users can now deploy a cloud node into AWS with the simple execution of a script. What makes this deployment special is that it subscribes to a serverless concept and doesn’t leave the user with any system to manage. Even better, the script performs a couple helper actions and ensures your newly deployed cloud node is configured with an administrator and linked to your analyst toolbench installation.

This video shows the setup, configuration and teardown of a Blockade cloud node

Getting Started

In order to deploy a cloud node into AWS, you need a few simple items. The first is the Blockade Analyst Toolbench which includes the deploy script and the second is an AWS account* with credentials provisioned. I’ve put together a small guide that walks you through the entire process from setting up your AWS account all the way to configuring a running extension instance within a browser. If followed completely, you can have a serverless cloud node up and running within minutes and anytime after that, deployments will just take a matter of seconds.

*You will need to add a credit card, but Blockade does run on the free tier

Behind the Scenes

When executing the AWS deployment script, a number of actions take place on behalf of the AWS user. This includes provisioning a Blockade user along with roles, groups and policies, setting up an S3 bucket, several Lambda functions, DynamoDB tables and an API Gateway service to string everything together. You can read more about the deployment resources here.

Blockade AWS Cloud Node Architecture

The above architecture shows the information flow from the initial Blockade client into the AWS ecosystem. What makes this deployment possible are the extensive APIs Amazon has exposed for all its services. Using a serverless infrastructure for Blockade guarantees a limited amount of maintenance needed for administrators and significantly reduces the overall attack surface of the installation. Additionally, the “boxed” nature of the deployment means users can easily setup and teardown nodes as needed.

What’s Next?

Now that Blockade is truly in a widely accessible state, I’d like to focus on improving the management of cloud nodes and getting the project in front of more users who could user protection. If you are interested in participating as a researcher on the Blockade project or know of someone or a group of people who could benefit from the technology, please reach out to us at