Scanning shared hosting servers to catch abusers, unwanted files, phishers, spammers and script kiddies with clamav

Clamav scanning shared hosting servers to catch abusers, phishers, spammers, script kiddies etc.  logo

I’m responsible for some GNU/Linux servers which are shared hosting and therefore contain plenty of user accounts.
Every now and then our company servers gets suspended because of a Phishing websites, Spammers script kiddies and all the kind of abusers one can think of.

To mitigate the impact of the server existing unwanted users activities, I decided to use the Clamav Antivirus – open source virus scanner to look up for potentially dangerous files, stored Viruses, Spammer mailer scripts, kernel exploits etc.

The Hosting servers are running latest CentOS 5.5. Linux and fortunately CentOS is equipped with an RPM pre-packaged latest Clamav release which of the time of writting is ver. (0.97.2).

Installing Clamav on CentOS is a piece of cake and it comes to issuing:

[root@centos:/root]# yum -y install clamav
...

After the install is completed, I’ve used freshclam to update clamav virus definitions

[root@centos:/root]# freshclam
ClamAV update process started at Fri Aug 12 13:19:32 2011
main.cvd is up to date (version: 53, sigs: 846214, f-level: 53, builder: sven)
WARNING: getfile: daily-13357.cdiff not found on remote server (IP: 81.91.100.173)
WARNING: getpatch: Can't download daily-13357.cdiff from db.gb.clamav.net
WARNING: getfile: daily-13357.cdiff not found on remote server (IP: 163.1.3.8)
WARNING: getpatch: Can't download daily-13357.cdiff from db.gb.clamav.net
WARNING: getfile: daily-13357.cdiff not found on remote server (IP: 193.1.193.64)
WARNING: getpatch: Can't download daily-13357.cdiff from db.gb.clamav.net
WARNING: Incremental update failed, trying to download daily.cvd
Downloading daily.cvd [100%]
daily.cvd updated (version: 13431, sigs: 173670, f-level: 60, builder: arnaud)
Downloading bytecode.cvd [100%]
bytecode.cvd updated (version: 144, sigs: 41, f-level: 60, builder: edwin)
Database updated (1019925 signatures) from db.gb.clamav.net (IP: 217.135.32.99)

In my case the shared hosting hosted websites and FTP user files are stored in /home directory thus I further used clamscan in the following way to check report and log into file the scan results for our company hosted user content.

[root@centos:/root]# screen clamscan -r -i --heuristic-scan-precedence=yes --phishing-scan-urls=yes --phishing-cloak=yes --phishing-ssl=yes --scan-archive=no /home/ -l /var/log/clamscan.log
home/user1/mail/new/1313103706.H805502P12513.hosting,S=14295: Heuristics.Phishing.Email.SpoofedDomain FOUND/home/user1/mail/new/1313111001.H714629P29084.hosting,S=14260: Heuristics.Phishing.Email.SpoofedDomain FOUND/home/user1/mail/new/1305115464.H192447P14802.hosting,S=22663: Heuristics.Phishing.Email.SpoofedDomain FOUND/home/user1/mail/new/1311076363.H967421P17372.hosting,S=13114: Heuristics.Phishing.Email.SpoofedDomain FOUND/home/user1/mail/domain.com/infos/cur/859.hosting,S=8283:2,S: Heuristics.Phishing.Email.SSL-Spoof FOUND/home/user1/mail/domain.com/infos/cur/131.hosting,S=6935:2,S: Heuristics.Phishing.Email.SSL-Spoof FOUND

I prefer running the clamscan in a screen session, because it’s handier, if for example my ssh connection dies the screen session will preserve the clamscan cmd execution and I can attach later on to see how scan went.

clamscan of course is slower as it does not use Clamav antivirus daemon clamd , however I prefer running it without running the daemon, as having a permanently running clamd on the servers sometimes creates problems or hangs and it’s not really worthy to have it running since I’m intending to do a clamscan no more than once per month to see some potential users which might need to be suspended.

Also later on, after it finishes all possible problems are logged to /var/log/clamscan.log , so I can read the file report any time.

A good idea might also be to implement the above clamscan to be conducted, once per month via a cron job, though I’m still in doubt if it’s better to run it manually once per month to search for the malicious users content or it’s better to run it via cron schedule.

One possible pitfall with automating the above clamscan /home virus check up, might be the increased load it puts to the system. In some cases the Webserver and SQL server might be under a heavy load at the exactly same time the clamscan cron work is running, this might possible create severe issues for users websites, if it’s not monitored.
Thus I would probably go with running above clamscan manually each month and monitor the server performance.
However for people, who have “iron” system hardware and clamscan file scan is less likely to cause any issues, probably a cronjob would be fine. Here is sample cron job to run clamscan:

10 05 01 * * clamscan -r -i --heuristic-scan-precedence=yes --phishing-scan-urls=yes --phishing-cloak=yes --phishing-ssl=yes --scan-archive=no /home/ -l /var/log/clamscan.log >/dev/null 2>&1

I’m interested to hear if somebody already is using a clamscan to run on cron without issues, once I’m sure that running it on cron would not lead to server down-times, i’ll implement it via cron job.

Anyone having experience with running clamscan directory scan through crond? 🙂

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3 Responses to “Scanning shared hosting servers to catch abusers, unwanted files, phishers, spammers and script kiddies with clamav”

  1. mama21mama says:
    Firefox 10.0.2 Firefox 10.0.2 GNU/Linux GNU/Linux
    Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux i686; rv:10.0.2) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/10.0.2

    Very good, great idea. Implements it. but add a second script.

    freshclam –quiet –stdout -l /var/log/clamav/clam-update.log >/dev/null 2>&1

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  2. Kyle Rochefort says:
    Internet Explorer 7.0 Internet Explorer 7.0 Windows XP Windows XP
    Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 7.0; Windows NT 5.1; .NET CLR 1.1.4322; .NET CLR 2.0.50727; .NET CLR 3.0.04506.30)

    Great Website buddy. Thank you for offering us your work. I will put this on my twiter page for my friends to come and read it as well.

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  3. makata says:
    Firefox 3.0.14 Firefox 3.0.14 Windows XP Windows XP
    Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.9.0.14) Gecko/2009082707 Firefox/3.0.14 (.NET CLR 3.5.30729)

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