Posts Tagged ‘apache server’

How to configure Apache to serve as load balancer between 2 or more Webservers on Linux / Apache basic cluster

Monday, October 28th, 2013

Apache doing load balancer between Apache servers Apache basic cluster howto

Any admin somehow involved in sphere of UNIX Webhosting knows Apache pretty well. I've personally used Apache for about 10 years now and until now I always used it as a single installation on a Linux. Always so far whenever the requirements for more client connections raised up, web hosting companies I worked for did a migration of Website / websites on a newer better (quicker) server hardware configuration. Everyone knows keeping a site on a single Apache server poses great RISK if the machine hangs up for a reason or gets DoSed this makes websites unavailable until reboot and poses unwanted downtime. Though I know pretty well the concept of load balancing until today I never had configured Apache to serve as Load balancer between two or more identical machines set-upped to interpret PHP / Perl scripts. Amazingly load balancing users web traffic happened to be much easier than I supposed. All necessary is a single Apache configured with mod_proxy_balancer which acts as proxy and ships HTTP requests between two Apache servers. Logically its very important that the entry traffic host with Apache mod_proxy_balancer has to be configured to only run only mod_proxy_balancer otherwise it will be eating unnecessary server memory as with each unnecessary loaded Apache module usage of memory resources raise up.

The scenario of my load balancer and 2 webserver hosts behind it goes like this:

a. Apache with load balancer with external IP address – i.e. (83.228.93.76) with DNS record for ex. www.mybalanced-webserver.com
b. Normally configured Apache to run PHP scripts with internal IP address through NAT – (Network address translation) (on 10.10.10.1) – known under host JEREMIAH
c. Second identical Apache to above host running on 10.10.10.1 with IP 10.10.10.2. with internal host ISSIAH.

N.B.! All 3 hosts are running latest  Debian GNU / Linux 7.2 Wheezy
 
After having this in mind, I proceeded with installing the on 83.228.93.76 apache and removing all unnecessary modules.

!!! Important note is if you use some already existent Apache configured to run PHP or any other unnecessary stuff – make sure you remove this otherwise expect severe performance issues !!!
1. Install Apache webserver

loadbalancer:~# apt-get install --yes apache2

2. Enable mod proxy proxy_balancer and proxy_http
On Debian Linux modules are enabled with a2enmod command;

loadbalancer:~# a2enmod proxy
loadbalancer:~# a2enmod proxy_balancer
loadbalancer:~# a2enmod proxy_http

Actually what a2enmod command does is to make symbolic links from /etc/apache2/mods-available/{proxy,proxy_balancer,proxy_http} to /etc/apache2/mods-available/{proxy,proxy_balancer,proxy_http}

3. Configure Apache mod proxy to load balance traffic between JEREMIAH and ISSAIAH webservers

loadbalancer:~# vim /etc/apache2/conf.d/proxy_balancer

/etc/apache2/conf.d/proxy-balancer

Paste inside:

<Proxy balancer://mycluster> BalancerMember http://10.0.0.1 BalancerMember http://10.0.0.4 </Proxy> ProxyPass / balancer://mycluster – See more at: http://www.elastichosts.com/support/tutorials/add-a-front-end-apache-cloud-load-balancer/#sthash.29iPnZpz.dpuf

<Proxy balancer://mycluster>
BalancerMember http://10.10.10.1
BalancerMember http://10.10.10.2
</Proxy>
ProxyPass / balancer://mycluster

<Proxy balancer://mycluster> BalancerMember http://10.0.0.1 BalancerMember http://10.0.0.4 </Proxy> ProxyPass / balancer://mycluster – See more at: http://www.elastichosts.com/support/tutorials/add-a-front-end-apache-cloud-load-balancer/#sthash.29iPnZpz.dpuf

<Proxy balancer://mycluster> BalancerMember http://10.0.0.1 BalancerMember http://10.0.0.4 </Proxy> ProxyPass / balancer://mycluster – See more at: http://www.elastichosts.com/support/tutorials/add-a-front-end-apache-cloud-load-balancer/#sthash.29iPnZpz.dpuf

<Proxy balancer://mycluster> BalancerMember http://10.0.0.1 BalancerMember http://10.0.0.4 </Proxy> ProxyPass / balancer://mycluster – See more at: http://www.elastichosts.com/support/tutorials/add-a-front-end-apache-cloud-load-balancer/#sthash.29iPnZpz.dpuf

<Proxy balancer://mycluster> BalancerMember http://10.0.0.1 BalancerMember http://10.0.0.4 </Proxy> ProxyPass / balancer://mycluster – See more at: http://www.elastichosts.com/support/tutorials/add-a-front-end-apache-cloud-load-balancer/#sthash.29iPnZpz.dpuf


4. Configure Apache Proxy to access traffic from all hosts (by default it is configured to Deny from all)

<Proxy balancer://mycluster> BalancerMember http://10.0.0.1 BalancerMember http://10.0.0.4 </Proxy> ProxyPass / balancer://mycluster – See more at: http://www.elastichosts.com/support/tutorials/add-a-front-end-apache-cloud-load-balancer/#sthash.29iPnZpz.dpuf

loadbalancer:~# vim /etc/apache2/mods-enabled/proxy.conf

Change there Deny from all to Allow from all

Deny from all
/etc/apache2/mods-enabled/proxy.conf

5. Restart Apache

loadbalancer:~# /etc/init.d/apache2 restart

Once again I have to say that above configuration is actually a basic Apache cluster so hosts behind load balancer Apache there should be machines configured to interpret scripts identically. If one Apache server of the cluster dies, the other Apache + PHP host will continue serve and deliver webserver content so no interruption will happen. This is not a round robin type of load balancer. Above configuration will distribute Webserver load requested in ratio 3/4 3 parts will be served by First server and 4th parth will be delivered by 2nd Apache.
Well, that's all load balancer is configured! Now to test it open in browser www.mybalanacer-webserver.com or try to access it by IP in my case: 83.228.93.76

a2enmod proxy

Client Denied By Server Configuration Linux Apache error solution

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

Client denied by server configuration fix solution Apache feather logo

If you run Apache server on Debian Linux / Ubuntu / CentOS whatever Linux OS and you try to install a new PHP application under lets say /var/www/ getting an error in Apache error.log like:
 

[Wed Jul 31 03:36:21 2013] [error] [client 192.168.10.2] client denied by server configuration: /var/www/vea/index.php, referer: http://192.168.10.9/vea/


This is due to misconfigured AllowOverrides in some of your main configuration files.

So what is causing the error?

Reason is by default in most current Linux distributions Apache is configured to have restrictive policy following the good security practice (Restrictive by default).
Apache is configured by default to not accept AllowOverrides – i.e. AllowOverride None for DocumentRoot /, because there are plenty of administrators who run Apache without having profound understanding leaving it to interpret by default mod_rewrite rules from .htaccess files etc.

To fix this issue, hence you have to add extra configuration for AllowOverride directive for directory giving the err. In this case /vea:

<Directory /var/www/vea/> 
Options -Indexes FollowSymLinks
AllowOverride AuthConfig
FileInfo Order allow,deny
Allow from all
</Directory> 

Above rules are a bit restrictive and will allow only to have .htaccess with only for protecting directory with htaccess passsword for exmpl. – (AuthUserFile, AuthGroupFile, AuthName, AuthType) .htaccess.
-Indexes – instructs /var/www/vea directory listing to be disabled, below two lines:

Order allow, deny
Allow from all

Makes the directory Allowed to be visible by all, however note that it is possible in some of other Apache configuration files to have other rules configured for /vea documentroot /var/www/ which are preventive (Default Deny) – if this is the case just walk through all Apache configs and change where necessary to Allow from all.

In some cases it is possible Web application or Website placed requires AllowOverride All directive instead. If above <Directory>

does not help and you continue to get:

[Wed Jul 31 03:36:21 2013] [error] [client xxx.xxx.xx.x] client denied by server configuration: /var/www/php-application/index.php, referer: http://xxx.xxx.xx.xx/php-application/  

Try setting Directory rules with AllowOverride All ;

<Directory /var/www/php-application/> 
Options -Indexes FollowSymLinks
AllowOverride All
FileInfo Order allow,deny
Allow from all
</Directory> 

Debian / Ubuntu server admins should check closely for AllowOverride rules in files /etc/apache2/conf.d/*

as well as in /etc/apache2/mods-available/*:

Usually there are AllowOverride rules set from files:

/etc/apache2/conf.d/apache2-doc
/etc/apache2/conf.d/localized-error-pages
/etc/apache2/conf.d/security

and also in

/etc/apache2/mods-available/alias.conf
/etc/apache2/mods-available/userdir.conf

On Debian GNU / Linux, very common reason for getting client denied by server configuration is AllowOverride definitions in /etc/apache2/conf.d/security, default AllowOverride there are set to None, i.e.:

<Directory />
AllowOverride None
Order Deny,Allow
Deny from all
</Directory>

If that's the case with you make sure you config rules to become:

# <Directory />
# AllowOverride None
# Order Deny,Allow
# Deny from all
# </Directory>

A very useful command to find where there is occurance of AllowOverride in Apache many configs is:

root@linux:~# cd /etc/apache2
root@linux:/etc/apache2# grep -rli AllowOverride *
apache2.conf
conf.d/localized-error-pages
conf.d/apache2-doc
conf.d/security
mods-available/userdir.conf
mods-available/alias.conf
sites-available/www.website1.com
sites-available/www.website2.com
...


 

Once you did all necessary config Restart Apache:

root@linux:~# /etc/init.d/apache2 restart
....

Fixing PHP Fatal error: Call to undefined function session_register()

Monday, July 1st, 2013

While moving Website from older Debian 6 to Debian 7 server with Apache I encountered PHP Fatal error:

PHP Fatal error:  Call to undefined function session_register() in /var/www2/site/www/include/modules/core/session.class.php on line 7, referer: http://192.168.1.9/

In PHP newer than PHP 5.3, session_register(): function is obsolete, there is no need anymore to have this function initiated before using SESSION variables.

Comment out  in PHP files prompting error in Apache error.log everywhere where matched:

session_register();
session_register('session');

 

to look like this:
 

//session_register();
//session_register('session');

In newer PHP versions to initialize sessions:

 $_SESSION['session']="session_variable";

Before test it again in browser, restart Browser and Apache server to make sure some caching from Apache or Browser doesn't influence. That's all now site  works fine 🙂

Auto restart Apache on High server load (bash shell script) – Fixing Apache server temporal overload issues

Saturday, March 24th, 2012

auto-restart-apache-on-high-load-bash-shell-script-fixing-apache-temporal-overload-issues

I've written a tiny script to check and restart, Apache if the server encounters, extremely high load avarage like for instance more than (>25). Below is an example of a server reaching a very high load avarage:;

server~:# uptime
13:46:59 up 2 days, 18:54, 1 user, load average: 58.09, 59.08, 60.05
load average: 0.09, 0.08, 0.08

Sometimes high load avarage is not a problem, as the server might have a very powerful hardware. A high load numbers is not always an indicator for a serious problems. Some 16 CPU dual core (2.18 Ghz) machine with 16GB of ram could probably work normally with a high load avarage like in the example. Anyhow as most servers are not so powerful having such a high load avarage, makes the machine hardly do its job routine.

In my specific, case one of our Debian Linux servers is periodically reaching to a very high load level numbers. When this happens the Apache webserver is often incapable to serve its incoming requests and starts lagging for clients. The only work-around is to stop the Apache server for a couple of seconds (10 or 20 seconds) and then start it again once the load avarage has dropped to less than "3".

If this temporary fix is not applied on time, the server load gets increased exponentially until all the server services (ssh, ftp … whatever) stop responding normally to requests and the server completely hangs …

Often this server overloads, are occuring at night time so I'm not logged in on the server and one such unexpected overload makes the server unreachable for hours.
To get around the sudden high periodic load avarage server increase, I've written a tiny bash script to monitor, the server load avarage and initiate an Apache server stop and start with a few seconds delay in between.

#!/bin/sh
# script to check server for extremely high load and restart Apache if the condition is matched
check=`cat /proc/loadavg | sed 's/\./ /' | awk '{print $1}'`
# define max load avarage when script is triggered
max_load='25'
# log file
high_load_log='/var/log/apache_high_load_restart.log';
# location of inidex.php to overwrite with temporary message
index_php_loc='/home/site/www/index.php';
# location to Apache init script
apache_init='/etc/init.d/apache2';
#
site_maintenance_msg="Site Maintenance in progress - We will be back online in a minute";
if [ $check -gt "$max_load" ]; then>
#25 is load average on 5 minutes
cp -rpf $index_php_loc $index_php_loc.bak_ap
echo "$site_maintenance_msg" > $index_php_loc
sleep 15;
if [ $check -gt "$max_load" ]; then
$apache_init stop
sleep 5;
$apache_init restart
echo "$(date) : Apache Restart due to excessive load | $check |" >> $high_load_log;
cp -rpf $index_php_loc.bak_ap $index_php_loc
fi
fi

The idea of the script is partially based on a forum thread – Auto Restart Apache on High Loadhttp://www.webhostingtalk.com/showthread.php?t=971304Here is a link to my restart_apache_on_high_load.sh script

The script is written in a way that it makes two "if" condition check ups, to assure 100% there is a constant high load avarage and not just a temporal 5 seconds load avarage jump. Once the first if is matched, the script first tries to reduce the server load by overwritting a the index.php, index.html script of the website with a one stating the server is ongoing a maintenance operations.
Temporary stopping the index page, often reduces the load in 10 seconds of time, so the second if case is not necessery at all. Sometimes, however this first "if" condition cannot decrease enough the load and the server load continues to stay too high, then the script second if comes to play and makes apache to be completely stopped via Apache init script do 2 secs delay and launch the apache server again.

The script also logs about, the load avarage encountered, while the server was overloaded and Apache webserver was restarted, so later I can check what time the server overload occured.
To make the script periodically run, I've scheduled the script to launch every 5 minutes as a cron job with the following cron:

# restart Apache if load is higher than 25
*/5 * * * * /usr/sbin/restart_apache_on_high_load.sh >/dev/null 2>&1

I have also another system which is running FreeBSD 7_2, which is having the same overload server problems as with the Linux host.
Copying the auto restart apache on high load script on FreeBSD didn't work out of the box. So I rewrote a little chunk of the script to make it running on the FreeBSD host. Hence, if you would like to auto restart Apache or any other service on FreeBSD server get /usr/sbin/restart_apache_on_high_load_freebsd.sh my script and set it on cron on your BSD.

This script is just a temporary work around, however as its obvious that the frequency of the high overload will be rising with time and we will need to buy new server hardware to solve permanently the issues, anyways, until this happens the script does a great job 🙂

I'm aware there is also alternative way to auto restart Apache webserver on high server loads through using monit utility for monitoring services on a Unix system. However as I didn't wanted to bother to run extra services in the background I decided to rather use the up presented script.

Interesting info to know is Apache module mod_overload exists – which can be used for checking load average. Using this module once load avarage is over a certain number apache can stop in its preforked processes current serving request, I've never tested it myself so I don't know how usable it is. As of time of writting it is in early stage version 0.2.2
If someone, have tried it and is happy with it on a busy hosting servers, please share with me if it is stable enough?

Check and Restart Apache if it is malfunctioning (not returning HTML content) shell script

Monday, March 19th, 2012

Check and Restart Apache Webserver on Malfunction, Apache feather logo

One of the company Debian Lenny 5.0 Webservers, where I'm working as sys admin sometimes stops to properly server HTTP requests.
Whenever this oddity happens, the Apache server seems to be running okay but it is not failing to return requested content

I can see the webserver listens on port 80 and establishing connections to remote hosts – the apache processes show normally as I can see in netstat …:

apache:~# netstat -enp 80
Active Internet connections (w/o servers)
Proto Recv-Q Send-Q Local Address Foreign Address State User Inode PID/Program name
tcp 0 0 xxx.xxx.xxx.xx:80 46.253.9.36:5665 SYN_RECV 0 0 -
tcp 0 0 xxx.xxx.xxx.xx:80 78.157.26.24:5933 SYN_RECV 0 0 -
...

Also the apache forked child processes show normally in process list:

apache:~# ps axuwwf|grep -i apache
root 46748 0.0 0.0 112300 872 pts/1 S+ 18:07 0:00 \_ grep -i apache
root 42530 0.0 0.1 217392 6636 ? Ss Mar14 0:39 /usr/sbin/apache2 -k start
www-data 42535 0.0 0.0 147876 1488 ? S Mar14 0:01 \_ /usr/sbin/apache2 -k start
root 28747 0.0 0.1 218180 4792 ? Sl Mar14 0:00 \_ /usr/sbin/apache2 -k start
www-data 31787 0.0 0.1 219156 5832 ? S Mar14 0:00 | \_ /usr/sbin/apache2 -k start

In spite of that, in any client browser to any of the Apache (Virtual hosts) websites, there is no HTML content returned…
This weird problem continues until the Apache webserver is retarted.
Once webserver is restarted everything is back to normal.
I use Apache Check Apache shell script set on few remote hosts to regularly check with nmap if port 80 (www) of my server is open and responding, anyways this script just checks if the open and reachable and thus using it was unable to detect Apache wasn't able to return back HTML content.
To work around the malfunctions I wrote tiny script – retart_apache_if_empty_content_is_returned.sh

The scripts idea is very simple;
A request is made a remote defined host with lynx text browser, then the output of lines is counted, if the output returned by lynx -dump http://someurl.com is less than the number returned whether normally invoked, then the script triggers an apache init script restart.

I've set the script to periodically run in a cron job, every 5 minutes each hour.
# check if apache returns empty content with lynx and if yes restart and log it
*/5 * * * * /usr/sbin/restart_apache_if_empty_content.sh >/dev/null 2>&1

This is not perfect as sometimes still, there will be few minutes downtime, but at least the downside will not be few hours until I am informed ssh to the server and restart Apache manually

A quick way to download and set from cron execution my script every 5 minutes use:

apache:~# cd /usr/sbin
apache:/usr/sbin# wget -q http://www.pc-freak.net/bscscr/restart_apache_if_empty_content.sh
apache:/usr/sbin# chmod +x restart_apache_if_empty_content.sh
apache:/usr/sbin# crontab -l > /tmp/file; echo '*/5 * * * *' /usr/sbin/restart_apache_if_empty_content.sh 2>&1 >/dev/null

 

How to disable nginx static requests access.log logging

Monday, March 5th, 2012

NGINX logo Static Content Serving Stop logging

One of the companies, where I'm employed runs nginx as a CDN (Content Delivery Network) server.
Actually nginx, today has become like a standard for delivering tremendous amounts of static content to clients.
The nginx, server load has recently increased with the number of requests, we have much more site visitors now.
Just recently I've noticed the log files are growing to enormous sizes and in reality this log files are not used at all.
As I've used disabling of web server logging as a way to improve Apache server performance in past time, I thought of implying the same little "trick" to improve the hardware utilization on the nginx server as well.

To disable logging, I proceeded and edit the /usr/local/nginx/conf/nginx.conf file, commenting inside every occurance of:

access_log /usr/local/nginx/logs/access.log main;

to

#access_log /usr/local/nginx/logs/access.log main;

Next, to load the new nginx.conf settings I did a restart:

nginx:~# killall -9 nginx; sleep 1; /etc/init.d/nginx start

I expected, this should be enough to disable completely access.log, browser request logins. Unfortunately /usr/local/nginx/logs/access.log was still displaying growing with:

nginx:~# tail -f /usr/local/nginx/logs/access.log

After a bit thorough reading of nginx.conf config rules, I've noticed there is a config directive:

access_log off;

Therefore to succesfully disable logging I had to edit config occurance of:

access_log /usr/local/nginx/logs/access.log main

to

After a bit thorough reading of nginx.conf config rules, I've noticed there is a config directive:

access_log off;

Therefore to succesfully disable logging I had to edit config occurance of:

access_log /usr/local/nginx/logs/access.log main

to

access_log /usr/local/nginx/logs/access.log main
access_log off;

Finally to load the new settings, which thanksfully this time worked, I did nginx restart:

nginx:~# killall -9 nginx; sleep 1; /etc/init.d/nginx start

And hooray! Thanks God, now nginx logging is disabled!

As a result, as expected the load avarage on the server reduced a bit 🙂

Secure Apache webserver against basic Denial of Service attacks with mod_evasive on Debian Linux

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

Secure Apache against basic Denial of Service attacks with mod evasive, how webserver DDoS works

One good module that helps in mitigating, very basic Denial of Service attacks against Apache 1.3.x 2.0.x and 2.2.x webserver is mod_evasive

I’ve noticed however many Apache administrators out there does forget to install it on new Apache installations or even some of them haven’t heard about of it.
Therefore I wrote this small article to create some more awareness of the existence of the anti DoS module and hopefully thorugh it help some of my readers to strengthen their server security.

Here is a description on what exactly mod-evasive module does:

debian:~# apt-cache show libapache2-mod-evasive | grep -i description -A 7

Description: evasive module to minimize HTTP DoS or brute force attacks
mod_evasive is an evasive maneuvers module for Apache to provide some
protection in the event of an HTTP DoS or DDoS attack or brute force attack.
.
It is also designed to be a detection tool, and can be easily configured to
talk to ipchains, firewalls, routers, and etcetera.
.
This module only works on Apache 2.x servers

How does mod-evasive anti DoS module works?

Detection is performed by creating an internal dynamic hash table of IP Addresses and URIs, and denying any single IP address which matches the criterias:

  • Requesting the same page more than number of times per second
  • Making more than N (number) of concurrent requests on the same child per second
  • Making requests to Apache during the IP is temporarily blacklisted (in a blocking list – IP blacklist is removed after a time period))

These anti DDoS and DoS attack protection decreases the possibility that Apache gets DoSed by ana amateur DoS attack, however it still opens doors for attacks who has a large bot-nets of zoombie hosts (let’s say 10000) which will simultaneously request a page from the Apache server. The result in a scenario with a infected botnet running a DoS tool in most of the cases will be a quick exhaustion of system resources available (bandwidth, server memory and processor consumption).
Thus mod-evasive just grants a DoS and DDoS security only on a basic, level where someone tries to DoS a webserver with only possessing access to few hosts.
mod-evasive however in many cases mesaure to protect against DoS and does a great job if combined with Apache mod-security module discussed in one of my previous blog posts – Tightening PHP Security on Debian with Apache 2.2 with ModSecurity2
1. Install mod-evasive

Installing mod-evasive on Debian Lenny, Squeeze and even Wheezy is done in identical way straight using apt-get:

deiban:~# apt-get install libapache2-mod-evasive
...

2. Enable mod-evasive in Apache

debian:~# ln -sf /etc/apache2/mods-available/mod-evasive.load /etc/apache2/mods-enabled/mod-evasive.load

3. Configure the way mod-evasive deals with potential DoS attacks

Open /etc/apache2/apache2.conf, go down to the end of the file and paste inside, below three mod-evasive configuration directives:

<IfModule mod_evasive20.c>
DOSHashTableSize 3097DOS
PageCount 30
DOSSiteCount 40
DOSPageInterval 2
DOSSiteInterval 1
DOSBlockingPeriod 120
#DOSEmailNotify hipo@mymailserver.com
</IfModule>

In case of the above configuration criterias are matched, mod-evasive instructs Apache to return a 403 (Forbidden by default) error page which will conserve bandwidth and system resources in case of DoS attack attempt, especially if the DoS attack targets multiple requests to let’s say a large downloadable file or a PHP,Perl,Python script which does a lot of computation and thus consumes large portion of server CPU time.

The meaning of the above three mod-evasive config vars are as follows:

DOSHashTableSize 3097 – Increasing the DoSHashTableSize will increase performance of mod-evasive but will consume more server memory, on a busy webserver this value however should be increased
DOSPageCount 30 – Add IP in evasive temporary blacklist if a request for any IP that hits the same page 30 consequential times.
DOSSiteCount 40 – Add IP to be be blacklisted if 40 requests are made to a one and the same URL location in 1 second time
DOSBlockingPeriod 120 – Instructs the time in seconds for which an IP will get blacklisted (e.g. will get returned the 403 foribden page), this settings instructs mod-evasive to block every intruder which matches DOSPageCount 30 or DOSSiteCount 40 for 2 minutes time.
DOSPageInterval 2 – Interval of 2 seconds for which DOSPageCount can be reached.
DOSSiteInterval 1 – Interval of 1 second in which if DOSSiteCount of 40 is matched the matched IP will be blacklisted for configured period of time.

mod-evasive also supports IP whitelisting with its option DOSWhitelist , handy in cases if for example, you should allow access to a single webpage from office env consisting of hundred computers behind a NAT.
Another handy configuration option is the module capability to notify, if a DoS is originating from a number of IP addresses using the option DOSEmailNotify
Using the DOSSystemCommand in relation with iptables, could be configured to filter out any IP addresses which are found to be matching the configured mod-evasive rules.
The module also supports custom logging, if you want to keep track on IPs which are found to be trying a DoS attack against the server place in above shown configuration DOSLogDir “/var/log/apache2/evasive” and create the /var/log/apache2/evasive directory, with:
debian:~# mkdir /var/log/apache2/evasive

I decided not to log mod-evasive DoS IP matches as this will just add some extra load on the server, however in debugging some mistakenly blacklisted IPs logging is sure a must.

4. Restart Apache to load up mod-evasive debian:~# /etc/init.d/apache2 restart
...

Finally a very good reading which sheds more light on how exactly mod-evasive works and some extra module configuration options are located in the documentation bundled with the deb package to read it, issue:

debian:~# zless /usr/share/doc/libapache2-mod-evasive/README.gz

How to Secure Apache on FreeBSD against Range header DoS vulnerability (affecting Apache 1.3/2.x)

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

How to Secure Apache webserver on FreeBSD and CentOS against Range: header Denial of Service attack

Recently has become publicly known for the serious hole found in all Apache webserver versions 1.3.x and 2.0.x and 2.2.x. The info is to be found inside the security CVE-2011-3192 https://issues.apache.org/bugzilla/show_bug.cgi?id=51714

Apache remote denial of service is already publicly cirtuculating, since about a week and is probably to be used even more heavily in the 3 months to come. The exploit can be obtained from exploit-db.com a mirror copy of #Apache httpd Remote Denial of Service (memory exhaustion) is for download here

The DoS script is known in the wild under the name killapache.pl
killapache.pl PoC depends on perl ForkManager and thus in order to be properly run on FreeBSD, its necessery to install p5-Parallel-ForkManager bsd port :


freebsd# cd /usr/ports/devel/p5-Parallel-ForkManager
freebsd# make install && make install clean
...

Here is an example of the exploit running against an Apache webserver host.


freebsd# perl httpd_dos.pl www.targethost.com 50
host seems vuln
ATTACKING www.targethost.com [using 50 forks]
:pPpPpppPpPPppPpppPp
ATTACKING www.targethost.com [using 50 forks]
:pPpPpppPpPPppPpppPp
...

In about 30 seconds to 1 minute time the DoS attack with only 50 simultaneous connections is capable of overloading any vulnerable Apache server.

It causes the webserver to consume all the machine memory and memory swap and consequently makes the server to crash in most cases.
During the Denial of Service attack is in action access the websites hosted on the webserver becomes either hell slow or completely absent.

The DoS attack is quite a shock as it is based on an Apache range problem which started in year 2007.

Today, Debian has issued a new versions of Apache deb package for Debian 5 Lenny and Debian 6, the new packages are said to have fixed the issue.

I assume that Ubuntu and most of the rest Debian distrubtions will have the apache’s range header DoS patched versions either today or in the coming few days.
Therefore work around the issue on debian based servers can easily be done with the usual apt-get update && apt-get upgrade

On other Linux systems as well as FreeBSD there are work arounds pointed out, which can be implemented to close temporary the Apache DoS hole.

1. Limiting large number of range requests

The first suggested solution is to limit the lenght of range header requests Apache can serve. To implement this work raround its necessery to put at the end of httpd.conf config:


# Drop the Range header when more than 5 ranges.
# CVE-2011-3192
SetEnvIf Range (?:,.*?){5,5} bad-range=1
RequestHeader unset Range env=bad-range
# We always drop Request-Range; as this is a legacy
# dating back to MSIE3 and Netscape 2 and 3.
RequestHeader unset Request-Range
# optional logging.
CustomLog logs/range-CVE-2011-3192.log common env=bad-range
CustomLog logs/range-CVE-2011-3192.log common env=bad-req-range

2. Reject Range requests for more than 5 ranges in Range: header

Once again to implement this work around paste in Apache config file:

This DoS solution is not recommended (in my view), as it uses mod_rewrite to implement th efix and might be additionally another open window for DoS attack as mod_rewrite is generally CPU consuming.


# Reject request when more than 5 ranges in the Range: header.
# CVE-2011-3192
#
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP:range} !(bytes=[^,]+(,[^,]+){0,4}$|^$)
# RewriteCond %{HTTP:request-range} !(bytes=[^,]+(?:,[^,]+){0,4}$|^$)
RewriteRule .* - [F]

# We always drop Request-Range; as this is a legacy
# dating back to MSIE3 and Netscape 2 and 3.
RequestHeader unset Request-Range

3. Limit the size of Range request fields to few hundreds
To do so put in httpd.conf:


LimitRequestFieldSize 200

4. Dis-allow completely Range headers: via mod_headers Apache module

In httpd.conf put:


RequestHeader unset Range
RequestHeader unset Request-Range

This work around could create problems on some websites, which are made in a way that the Request-Range is used.

5. Deploy a tiny Apache module to count the number of Range Requests and drop connections in case of high number of Range: requests

This solution in my view is the best one, I’ve tested it and I can confirm on FreeBSD works like a charm.
To secure FreeBSD host Apache, against the Range Request: DoS using mod_rangecnt, one can literally follow the methodology explained in mod_rangecnt.c header:


freebsd# wget http://people.apache.org/~dirkx/mod_rangecnt.c
..
# compile the mod_rangecnt module
freebsd# /usr/local/sbin/apxs -c mod_rangecnt.c
...
# install mod_rangecnt module to Apache
freebsd# /usr/local/sbin/apxs -i -a mod_rangecnt.la
...

Finally to load the newly installed mod_rangecnt, Apache restart is required:


freebsd# /usr/local/etc/rc.d/apache2 restart
...

I’ve tested the module on i386 FreeBSD install, so I can’t confirm this steps works fine on 64 bit FreeBSD install, I would be glad if I can hear from someone if mod_rangecnt is properly compiled and installed fine also on 6 bit BSD arch.

Deploying the mod_rangecnt.c Range: Header to prevent against the Apache DoS on 64 bit x86_amd64 CentOS 5.6 Final is also done without any pitfalls.


[root@centos ~]# uname -a;
Linux centos 2.6.18-194.11.3.el5 #1 SMP Mon Aug 30 16:19:16 EDT 2010 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux
[root@centos ~]# /usr/sbin/apxs -c mod_rangecnt.c
...
/usr/lib64/apr-1/build/libtool --silent --mode=link gcc -o mod_rangecnt.la -rpath /usr/lib64/httpd/modules -module -avoid-version mod_rangecnt.lo
[root@centos ~]# /usr/sbin/apxs -i -a mod_rangecnt.la
...
Libraries have been installed in:
/usr/lib64/httpd/modules
...
[root@centos ~]# /etc/init.d/httpd configtest
Syntax OK
[root@centos ~]# /etc/init.d/httpd restart
Stopping httpd: [ OK ]
Starting httpd: [ OK ]

After applying the mod_rangecnt patch if all is fine the memory exhaustion perl DoS script‘s output should be like so:


freebsd# perl httpd_dos.pl www.patched-apache-host.com 50
Host does not seem vulnerable

All of the above pointed work-arounds are only a temporary solution to these Grave Apache DoS byterange vulnerability , a few days after the original vulnerability emerged and some of the up-pointed work arounds were pointed. There was information, that still, there are ways that the vulnerability can be exploited.
Hopefully in the coming few weeks Apache dev team should be ready with rock solid work around to the severe problem.

In 2 years duration these is the second serious Apache Denial of Service vulnerability after before a one and a half year the so called Slowloris Denial of Service attack was capable to DoS most of the Apache installations on the Net.

Slowloris, has never received the publicity of the Range Header DoS as it was not that critical as the mod_range, however this is a good indicator that the code quality of Apache is slowly decreasing and might need a serious security evaluation.

How to Secure Apache on FreeBSD and CentOS against Range: header DoS attack (affecting Apache 1.3/2.x)

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

How to Secure Apache webserver on FreeBSD and CentOS against Range: header Denial of Service attack

Recently has become publicly known for the serious hole found in all Apache webserver versions 1.3.x and 2.0.x and 2.2.x. The info is to be found inside the security CVE-2011-3192 https://issues.apache.org/bugzilla/show_bug.cgi?id=51714

Apache remote denial of service is already publicly cirtuculating, since about a week and is probably to be used even more heavily in the 3 months to come. The exploit can be obtained from exploit-db.com a mirror copy of #Apache httpd Remote Denial of Service (memory exhaustion) is for download here

The DoS script is known in the wild under the name killapache.pl
killapache.pl PoC depends on perl ForkManager and thus in order to be properly run on FreeBSD, its necessery to install p5-Parallel-ForkManager bsd port :

freebsd# cd /usr/ports/devel/p5-Parallel-ForkManager
freebsd# make install && make install clean
...

Here is an example of the exploit running against an Apache webserver host.

freebsd# perl httpd_dos.pl www.targethost.com 50
host seems vuln
ATTACKING www.targethost.com [using 50 forks]
:pPpPpppPpPPppPpppPp
ATTACKING www.targethost.com [using 50 forks]
:pPpPpppPpPPppPpppPp
...

In about 30 seconds to 1 minute time the DoS attack with only 50 simultaneous connections is capable of overloading any vulnerable Apache server.

It causes the webserver to consume all the machine memory and memory swap and consequently makes the server to crash in most cases.
During the Denial of Service attack is in action access the websites hosted on the webserver becomes either hell slow or completely absent.

The DoS attack is quite a shock as it is based on an Apache range problem which started in year 2007.

Today, Debian has issued a new versions of Apache deb package for Debian 5 Lenny and Debian 6, the new packages are said to have fixed the issue.

I assume that Ubuntu and most of the rest Debian distrubtions will have the apache's range header DoS patched versions either today or in the coming few days.
Therefore work around the issue on debian based servers can easily be done with the usual apt-get update && apt-get upgrade

On other Linux systems as well as FreeBSD there are work arounds pointed out, which can be implemented to close temporary the Apache DoS hole.

1. Limiting large number of range requests

The first suggested solution is to limit the lenght of range header requests Apache can serve. To implement this work raround its necessery to put at the end of httpd.conf config:

# Drop the Range header when more than 5 ranges.
# CVE-2011-3192
SetEnvIf Range (?:,.*?){5,5} bad-range=1
RequestHeader unset Range env=bad-range
# We always drop Request-Range; as this is a legacy
# dating back to MSIE3 and Netscape 2 and 3.
RequestHeader unset Request-Range
# optional logging.
CustomLog logs/range-CVE-2011-3192.log common env=bad-range
CustomLog logs/range-CVE-2011-3192.log common env=bad-req-range

2. Reject Range requests for more than 5 ranges in Range: header

Once again to implement this work around paste in Apache config file:

This DoS solution is not recommended (in my view), as it uses mod_rewrite to implement th efix and might be additionally another open window for DoS attack as mod_rewrite is generally CPU consuming.

# Reject request when more than 5 ranges in the Range: header.
# CVE-2011-3192
#
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP:range} !(bytes=[^,]+(,[^,]+){0,4}$|^$)
# RewriteCond %{HTTP:request-range} !(bytes=[^,]+(?:,[^,]+){0,4}$|^$)
RewriteRule .* - [F]

# We always drop Request-Range; as this is a legacy
# dating back to MSIE3 and Netscape 2 and 3.
RequestHeader unset Request-Range

3. Limit the size of Range request fields to few hundreds
To do so put in httpd.conf:

LimitRequestFieldSize 200

4. Dis-allow completely Range headers: via mod_headers Apache module

In httpd.conf put:

RequestHeader unset Range
RequestHeader unset Request-Range

This work around could create problems on some websites, which are made in a way that the Request-Range is used.

5. Deploy a tiny Apache module to count the number of Range Requests and drop connections in case of high number of Range: requests

This solution in my view is the best one, I've tested it and I can confirm on FreeBSD works like a charm.
To secure FreeBSD host Apache, against the Range Request: DoS using mod_rangecnt, one can literally follow the methodology explained in mod_rangecnt.c header:

freebsd# wget http://people.apache.org/~dirkx/mod_rangecnt.c
..
# compile the mod_rangecnt modulefreebsd# /usr/local/sbin/apxs -c mod_rangecnt.c
...
# install mod_rangecnt module to Apachefreebsd# /usr/local/sbin/apxs -i -a mod_rangecnt.la
...

Finally to load the newly installed mod_rangecnt, Apache restart is required:

freebsd# /usr/local/etc/rc.d/apache2 restart
...

I've tested the module on i386 FreeBSD install, so I can't confirm this steps works fine on 64 bit FreeBSD install, I would be glad if I can hear from someone if mod_rangecnt is properly compiled and installed fine also on 6 bit BSD arch.

Deploying the mod_rangecnt.c Range: Header to prevent against the Apache DoS on 64 bit x86_amd64 CentOS 5.6 Final is also done without any pitfalls.

[root@centos ~]# uname -a;
Linux centos 2.6.18-194.11.3.el5 #1 SMP Mon Aug 30 16:19:16 EDT 2010 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux
[root@centos ~]# /usr/sbin/apxs -c mod_rangecnt.c
...
/usr/lib64/apr-1/build/libtool --silent --mode=link gcc -o mod_rangecnt.la -rpath /usr/lib64/httpd/modules -module -avoid-version mod_rangecnt.lo
[root@centos ~]# /usr/sbin/apxs -i -a mod_rangecnt.la
...
Libraries have been installed in: /usr/lib64/httpd/modules
...
[root@centos ~]# /etc/init.d/httpd configtest
Syntax OK
[root@centos ~]# /etc/init.d/httpd restart
Stopping httpd: [ OK ]
Starting httpd: [ OK ]

After applying the mod_rangecnt patch if all is fine the memory exhaustion perl DoS script's output should be like so:

freebsd# perl httpd_dos.pl www.patched-apache-host.com 50
Host does not seem vulnerable

All of the above pointed work-arounds are only a temporary solution to these Grave Apache DoS byterange vulnerability , a few days after the original vulnerability emerged and some of the up-pointed work arounds were pointed. There was information, that still, there are ways that the vulnerability can be exploited.
Hopefully in the coming few weeks Apache dev team should be ready with rock solid work around to the severe problem.

In 2 years duration these is the second serious Apache Denial of Service vulnerability after before a one and a half year the so called Slowloris Denial of Service attack was capable to DoS most of the Apache installations on the Net.

Slowloris, has never received the publicity of the Range Header DoS as it was not that critical as the mod_range, however this is a good indicator that the code quality of Apache is slowly decreasing and might need a serious security evaluation.
 

How to fix php “Fatal error: Class ‘SimpleXMLElement’ not found” and “Fatal error: Class ‘JLoader’ not found” on FreeBSD

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

One of the contact forms running on a FreeBSD server configured to work on top of Apache+MySQL suddenly stopped working.

The errors that appeared on the webpage during a page request to the form url was:

Fatal error: Class 'SimpleXMLElement' not found in /var/www/joomla/plugins/system/plugin_googlemap2_helper.php on line 2176 Fatal error: Class 'JLoader' not found in /var/www/joomla/plugins/libraries/loader.php on line 161

As you see in the output the website which was causing the issues was running a Joomla version 1.5.23 Stable configured with RSForm!ver 1.5.x (as a contact form solution) and Google Maps version 2.13b plugins.

The Google Map from Google Maps plugin and the RSform were configured to appear on one physical configured article in Joomla and seemed to work just until now. However yesterday suddenly the error messages:
Fatal error: Class ‘SimpleXMLElement’ not found
Fatal error: Class ‘JLoader’ not found

came out of nothing, it’s really strange as I don’t remember doing any changes to either Joomla or the PHP installation on this server.
There is one more guy who has access to the Joomla installation which I suspect might have changed something in the Joomla, but this scenario is not very likely.

Anyways as the problem was there I had to fix it up. Obviously as the error message Fatal error: Class ‘SimpleXMLElement’ not found reported the server php simplexml was missing!

Just to assure myself the php simplexml extension is not present on the server I used the classical method of setting up a php file with phpinfo(); in it to check all the installed php extensions on the server.

Finally to solve the issue I had to install the module from ports php5-simplexml , e.g.:

freebsd# cd /usr/ports/textproc/php5-simplexml
freebsd# make install clean

Afterwards to make the new settings take place I did restart of my Apache server:

freebsd# /usr/local/etc/rc.d/apache2 restart
Syntax OK
Stopping apache2.
Waiting for PIDS: 63883.
Performing sanity check on apache2 configuration:
Syntax OK
Starting apache2.

Now my Joomla contact form is back to normal 😉

If someone has any idea why this error occured without any php or server modifications, and how comes that all worked fine beforehand even though I did not have the simplexml module instlaled on the server o_O, I would be enormously greatful.