exim-blue-ldFollowing on from last week’s w00tw00t block, here’s another quick fail2ban rule, this time to handle some Exim DOS/mail bombing problems.

I already use Fail2Ban to block unauthorised users who attempt to use my mail server as a relay to send spam, and this works very well. Recently, I’ve started seeing messages like this one start to appear in my exim logs:

2013-05-21 01:01:52 Connection from [2.38.90.63] refused: too many connections: 1 Time(s)
2013-05-21 01:01:53 Connection from [2.38.90.63] refused: too many connections: 1 Time(s)
2013-05-21 01:01:58 Connection from [2.38.90.63] refused: too many connections: 2 Time(s)
2013-05-21 01:01:59 Connection from [2.38.90.63] refused: too many connections: 1 Time(s)
2013-05-21 01:02:00 Connection from [2.38.90.63] refused: too many connections: 1 Time(s)
2013-05-21 01:02:11 Connection from [2.38.90.63] refused: too many connections: 1 Time(s)

In each case, the IP address originates from somewhere I’d not expect to receive email from, so it looks like some spammers are trying to mail bomb/DOS me.

In jail.local

[exim-dos]
enabled = true
filter = exim-dos
port = all
logpath = /var/log/exim*/mainlog
maxretry = 1
bantime = 3600

In filter.d/exim-dos.conf

# Fail2Ban Exim DOS configuration file.
# Checks for DOS/Flooding attempts.
#
# Author: Marcus Povey
#

[Definition]

# Option: failregex
# Notes.: regex to match the password failures messages in the logfile. The
# host must be matched by a group named "host". The tag "" can
# be used for standard IP/hostname matching and is only an alias for
# (?:::f{4,6}:)?(?P[\w\-.^_]+)
# Values: TEXT
#
failregex = \[\] .*refused: too many connections

# Option: ignoreregex
# Notes.: regex to ignore. If this regex matches, the line is ignored.
# Values: TEXT
#
ignoreregex =

Some potential gotchas

You may notice that I’ve set the bantime to quite a low value, this is because this rule has the potential of some false positives or collateral damage in certain situations.

Most likely you’ll get the too many connections error when some naughty fellow starts mailbombing you, but sometimes connections will be refused for legitimate users while an attack is in progress, which would result in the good guys being banned as well as the bad.

Setting bantime to something relatively short (one hour in my example) should limit fallout, since legitimate email servers will retry later, while most script kiddies will have moved on.

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