About the AWS EC2 Mac AMI Scan

The Veertu AWS EC2 Mac AMI Scan software solution scans for vulnerabilities in your Mac AMIs using an NVD database. The scanner identifies vulnerabilities in third-party dependencies, packages, and libraries, including Brew, Golang, Javascript, Java, Ruby, Python, Rust, etc.

AWS EC2 Mac AMI Scan software can be installed on an Amazon Linux EC2 instance. AWS EC2 Mac AMI Scan detects vulnerabilities in the Mac AMIs without the need to start instances. It will instead mount the EC2 Mac AMI snapshot as a volume.

Scanned languages/packages:

  • Ruby Gems
  • Python Packages
  • Javascript Node/NPM Packages
  • Java Packages
  • Golang Modules
  • Rust Cargo
  • Brew Formula
  • MacOS Applications
  • Cocoapods
sh-4.2$ ./ec2-mac-ami-scan

A vulnerability scanner for MacOS AMis.

Supported commands/types:
  ec2-mac-ami-scan ami-id	    		| Read and scan using an AWS AMI-ID

  ec2-mac-ami-scan ami-id [flags]
  ec2-mac-ami-scan [command]

Available Commands:
  completion  Generate the autocompletion script for the specified shell
  help        Help about any command
  license     License show/activate
  version     Show the version

  -c, --config string          application config file
  -u, --disable-db-update      disable updating scanner DB automatically
  -h, --help                   help for ec2-mac-ami-scan
  -i, --ignore-system-volume   do not scan the system volume (for anka VM)
  -l, --license-file string    license file path (default "scanner.lic")
      --min-score float32      don't show vulnerabilities with lesser score
      --min-severity string    don't show vulnerabilities with lesser severity
  -q, --quiet                  suppress all console output
  -o, --report-file string     write report to file
  -f, --report-format string   report output format, formats=[json table] (default "table")
  -p, --show-packages          do not scan and only show packages

Use "ec2-mac-ami-scan [command] --help" for more information about a command.

Getting Started

  1. Start an Amazon Linux EC2 Instance and prepare it with your credentials.
  2. Install the AWS EC2 Mac AMI Scan binary.
  3. Obtain a license and license the scanner.
  4. Review the usage guide.
You cannot scan AMIs without having access to their snapshot. Because of this, the scanner will not scan marketplace AMIs or Community/public AMIs without a public snapshot.
You must have access to the AMI snapshot in the same region as your EC2 instance in order to scan it. You also cannot currently scan across regions. You can, however, deploy instances of EC2 Mac AMI Scanner in multiple regions.
Currently, we only provide a scanner binary for Amazon Linux. It is archived into a tar.gz and available on our site or at https://downloads.veertu.com/#ec2-mac-ami-scan/.

Preparing an EC2 instance

  • Create an Amazon Linux EC2 instance with a minimum of 1 CPU, 0.5GiB of RAM, and ~1GB of space for storage of the vulnerability database.

  • In order to have the permissions necessary for mounting AMI volumes and scanning them, you can either:

    1. Create and attach an ec2 service policy to the instance and ensure it has the following permissions.

    2. Configure the instance with sudo aws configure (scanning requires and will run as root) through SSH using an Access key and secret for a user that has the following permissions.

      • ec2.DescribeVolumes
      • ec2.DescribeInstanceAttribute
      • ec2.CreateVolume
      • ec2.DeleteVolume
      • ec2.AttachVolume
      • ec2.DetachVolume
      • ec2.DescribeImages
      • ec2.CreateTags


  1. Download the latest Linux package.
    FULL_FILE_NAME=$(echo $(curl -Ls -r 0-1 -o /dev/null -w %{url_effective} https://veertu.com/downloads/ec2-mac-ami-scan-linux) | cut -d/ -f5)
    PARTIAL_FILE_NAME=$(echo $FULL_FILE_NAME | awk -F'.tar.gz' '{print $1}')
    curl -Ls https://veertu.com/downloads/ec2-mac-ami-scan-linux -o $FULL_FILE_NAME
    tar -xzvf $FULL_FILE_NAME
    rm -f $FULL_FILE_NAME
  2. Place the binary under /usr/local/bin (or just execute with ./ in-place).


How to License

  1. Obtain a trial or full license

  2. Execute the license CLI to activate it:

    sh-4.2$ ./ec2-mac-ami-scan license
    License show/activate
      ec2-mac-ami-scan license [command]
    Available Commands:
      activate    Activate the license
      show        Show the license
      -h, --help   help for license
    Global Flags:
      -c, --config string         application config file
      -l, --license-file string   license file path (default "scanner.lic")
    Use "ec2-mac-ami-scan license [command] --help" for more information about a command.
    sh-4.2$ ./ec2-mac-ami-scan ami-0b117cb41d1dcb87f
    Error: failed to validate the license 'scanner.lic': No such file or directory
    sh-4.2$ ./ec2-mac-ami-scan license activate XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXX
    sh-4.2$ ./ec2-mac-ami-scan license show
    Product:          com.veertu.macami.scan
    Version:          1.0
    Expiration Date:  31-dec-2022
By default the scanner.lic file is created in the directory where you execute license activate. If you execute the scanner in a directory outside of the location with the scanner.lic, it will not see the file and fail. You can however set the path the scanner looks for the license file in by modifying the config-example.yaml and the license-file: 'scanner.lic' to a different location.


Features / Examples

The scanner is very simple. You can set the ami-id as your first argument and the scanner will find the snapshot, mount it as a volume, and then perform the scan inside of it.

sh-4.2$ sudo ./ec2-mac-ami-scan ami-07eec7bea34f42837
 ✔ Vulnerability DB Update [completed]
 ✔ Attaching an AMI        [attached vol-077126acd2775d6e1]
 ✔ Cataloged packages      [266 packages]
 ✔ Indexed Data Volume
 ✔ Cataloged packages      [335 packages]
 ✔ Indexed System Volume
 ✔ Detaching an AMI        [detached vol-077126acd2775d6e1]
 ✔ Analyzed packages       [138 vulnerabilities]
brew       [email protected]  1.1.1o    CVE-2022-2068   10.0   critical
brew       [email protected]  1.1.1o    CVE-2022-2097   7.5    high
brew       [email protected]   3.9.12_1  CVE-2015-20107  10.0   critical
gem        bundler      1.17.2    CVE-2019-3881   7.8    high
gem        bundler      1.17.2    CVE-2020-36327  9.3    critical
gem        bundler      1.17.2    CVE-2021-43809  9.3    critical
gem        date         2.0.0     CVE-2012-1626   6.0    medium
gem        date         2.0.0     CVE-2021-41817  7.5    high  
. . .

Report Formats

By default the human readable table output does not include paths or other information about how the vulnerability was found. Fortunately, we allow you to produce verbose JSON output with that information.

The use of --quiet here is important to avoid any output which is not json parsable.
sh-4.2$ sudo ./ec2-mac-ami-scan ami-07eec7bea34f42837 --report-format json --quiet
 "matches": [
   "vulnerability": {
    "id": "CVE-2019-3881",
    "base-score": 7.8,
    "severity": "high",
    "url": "https://nvd.nist.gov/vuln/detail/CVE-2019-3881"
   "matchDetails": [
     "matched-cpe": "cpe:/a:bundler:bundler:::~~~ruby~~",
     "matched-version": "1.17.2",
     "matched-constraint": "< 2.1.0",
     "match-type": "Semantic"
   "artifact": {
    "name": "bundler",
    "version": "1.17.2",
    "type": "gem",
    "locations": [
      "path": "/Library/Ruby/Gems/2.6.0/specifications/default/bundler-1.17.2.gemspec"
    "language": "ruby",
    "licenses": [
    "cpes": [
    "purl": "pkg:gem/[email protected]",
    "metadata": null
. . .

Ignoring Vulnerabilities

Using a custom config (--config customConfig.yaml), you can specify a list of CPEs to ignore.

You need to specify the “matched-cpe” or URI binding representation in the packages to ignore. Wildcards will not work.
❯ cat /tmp/customConfig.yaml
  - "cpe:/a:i18n_project:i18n:::~~~asp.net~~"
  - "cpe:/a:python:python"

By default, if you don’t specify a custom config, we automatically exclude cpe:/a:apple:icloud:1.0 as there are several hundred vulnerabilities from it. You can use an empty custom config:

 - ""

Or, you can ignore specific CVEs:

❯ cat /tmp/customConfig.yml
  - "CVE-2020-7791"
sh-4.2$ sudo ./ec2-mac-ami-scan ami-07eec7bea34f42837 --report-format json --config /tmp/customConfig.yaml --report-file /tmp/report_i18n_python.json
 ✔ Vulnerability DB Update [completed]
 ✔ Attaching an AMI        [attached vol-0e25f5c07490615a4]
 ✔ Cataloged packages      [266 packages]
 ✔ Indexed Data Volume
 ✔ Cataloged packages      [335 packages]
 ✔ Indexed System Volume
 ✔ Detaching an AMI        [detached vol-0e25f5c07490615a4]
 ✔ Analyzed packages       [357 vulnerabilities]
Report written to "/tmp/report_i18n_python.json"

Release Notes

1.1.0 - Sep 7th, 2022

  • Improvement: Volumes are now mounted as gp3 with 10000 IOPs and 256 throughput for more consistent speed, regardless of volume size being scanned.