How to install mod_security for Apache

What is mod_security?
ModSecurity is an open source intrusion detection and prevention engine for web applications. It operates embedded into the web server, acting as a powerful umbrella – shielding applications from attacks. ModSecurity supports both branches of the Apache web server.

Rfx Networks Recommended:
“mod_security is great and I encourage it be used by everyone; it does have the potential to break some web applications but so far iv seen very few issues to say the least. Likewise it is easy to fix any applications that may break with the granular filter rules that can be setup to either deny or allow certain content. Overall mod_security is a needed addition to apache, providing a layer of security yet unseen for apache. I highly encourage you read the reference document on the modsecurity.org site (under documentation) to better understand each directive and the role it plays in protecting your server and sites.”

Requirements:
Apache Web Server 1.3x or 2.x

Note: We have confirmed this security addon works with Cpanel based servers.

How to install?
1. Login to your server through SSH and su to the root user.

2. First your going to start out by grabbing the latest version of mod_security
wget http://www.modsecurity.org/download/mod_security-1.7.4.tar.gz

3. Next we untar the archive and cd into the directory:
tar zxvf mod_security-1.7.4.tar.gz
cd mod_security-1.7.4/

4. Now you need to determine which version of apache you use:
APACHE 1.3.x users
cd apache1/
APACHE 2.x users
cd apache2/

5. Lets Compile the module now:
/usr/local/apache/bin/apxs -cia mod_security.c

6. Ok, now its time to edit the httpd conf file. First we will make a backup just incase something goes wrong:
cp /usr/local/apache/conf/httpd.conf /usr/local/apache/conf/httpd.conf.backup

7. Now that we have backed it all up, we can edit the httpd.conf. Replace pico with nano depending on what you have
pico /usr/local/apache/conf/httpd.conf

8. Lets look for something in the config, do this by holding control and pressing W and you are going to search for

<IfModule mod_dir.c> (altho any of the IfModules would work fine)

9. Now add this

<IfModule mod_security.c>
SecFilterEngine On

SecServerSignature “Apache”
SecFilterCheckUnicodeEncoding Off
SecAuditEngine RelevantOnly
SecAuditLog logs/audit_log
SecFilterScanPOST On

SecFilterDefaultAction “deny,log,status:403”

SecFilterSelective REQUEST_METHOD “^POST$” chain
SecFilterSelective HTTP_Content-Length “^$”

SecFilterSelective HTTP_Transfer-Encoding “!^$”

SecFilterSelective ARG_PHPSESSID “!^[0-9a-z]*$”
SecFilterSelective COOKIE_PHPSESSID “!^[0-9a-z]*$”
SecFilter “../”

SecFilter “viewtopic\.php\?” chain
SecFilter “chr\(([0-9]{1,3})\)” “deny,log”

SecFilterSelective THE_REQUEST “wget ”
SecFilterSelective THE_REQUEST “lynx ”
SecFilterSelective THE_REQUEST “scp ”
SecFilterSelective THE_REQUEST “ftp ”
SecFilterSelective THE_REQUEST “cvs ”
SecFilterSelective THE_REQUEST “rcp ”
SecFilterSelective THE_REQUEST “curl ”
SecFilterSelective THE_REQUEST “telnet ”
SecFilterSelective THE_REQUEST “ssh ”
SecFilterSelective THE_REQUEST “echo ”
SecFilterSelective THE_REQUEST “links -dump ”
SecFilterSelective THE_REQUEST “links -dump-charset ”
SecFilterSelective THE_REQUEST “links -dump-width ”
SecFilterSelective THE_REQUEST “links http:// ”
SecFilterSelective THE_REQUEST “links ftp:// ”
SecFilterSelective THE_REQUEST “links -source ”
SecFilterSelective THE_REQUEST “mkdir ”
SecFilterSelective THE_REQUEST “cd /tmp ”
SecFilterSelective THE_REQUEST “cd /var/tmp ”
SecFilterSelective THE_REQUEST “cd /etc/httpd/proxy ”
SecFilterSelective THE_REQUEST “/config.php?v=1&DIR ”
SecFilterSelective THE_REQUEST “/../../ ”
SecFilterSelective THE_REQUEST “&highlight=%2527%252E ”
SecFilterSelective THE_REQUEST “changedir=%2Ftmp%2F.php ”

# Very crude filters to prevent SQL injection attacks
SecFilter “delete[[:space:]]+from”
SecFilter “insert[[:space:]]+into”
SecFilter “select.+from”

# Weaker XSS protection but allows common HTML tags
SecFilter “<[[:space:]]*script”

# Prevent XSS atacks (HTML/Javascript injection)
SecFilter “<(.|n)+>”
</IfModule>

10. Save the file Ctrl + X then Y

11. Restart Apache

/etc/rc.d/init.d/httpd stop
/etc/rc.d/init.d/httpd start

That’s it you’ve successfully installed mod_security! 🙂

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