ModSec, commonly known as ModSec, is an Open Source web server firewall. Originally developed as an auxiliary module for the OpenLDAP Project, it has now grown into an all-inclusive web security solution that is able to detect and prevent attacks from all sources.
The basic premise behind this server security software is the fact that it relies on two different levels of configuration in order to function. These levels are:
Although the OpenLDAP project has long been the primary source of ModSec code, there is no limit to how widely the program can be used. The program is designed with the aim of providing an integrated web security solution that provides comprehensive protection against a wide range of attack scenarios and can be used independently or on a managed hosting environment.
What makes ModSec special is that it is able to be configured into a user-level application that will provide full-fledged security for the web server. It is also able to be configured as a managed service, meaning that the security of a server is taken care of by an outside administrator. For those who do not wish to use the latter option, there is the option of manually configuring the program using a configuration management tool (CM).
The basic configuration of ModSec is easy enough to complete; the process involves the application of a series of simple rules.
If a given server is under attack and is expected to fail, the module checks if the system’s IP address and hostname have been blacklisted. If so, the module then checks to see if the host is a victim of the attack. This will normally result in the blocking of the attack.
When a system is under attack, ModSec will attempt to determine which source the attack originated from. Once the source has been identified, the module will attempt to block all traffic originating from that source on all IP addresses and hosts. This means that if a hacker has compromised one IP address, the module will attempt to prevent all incoming requests to that IP.
In addition to being able to monitor and stop attack attempts, ModSec allows administrators to set up the system to allow access only to authorized users. This is achieved by adding authorization filters on the user interface to block unauthorized users and groups. This allows for better control over who has access to the server’s files.
While there is no need to install a separate dedicated firewall to allow access to the server, many hosting services will provide ModSec through their web-based management console. If this is the case, the administrator of the service will be given the ability to set the firewall and other configuration options as needed. This helps ensure that only authorized users have access to the server’s database and other resources.
Web-based management consoles typically offer more flexibility than the command-line interface used by the older software that was used for administration of the ModSec firewall. Many hosts will include this feature with their hosting package, especially since it offers a more flexible approach. The web-based management console can also be used for other purposes such as monitoring and controlling upgrades to the software itself. and other system components.
As is common for most IT managers, most hosting companies do not want to spend the time required to install and configure the ModSecurity software. In most cases, this means they will let their clients use the software as it is instead. with a manual installation of the system by a web-based control panel.
However, if a hosting company does not provide a control panel, a client system can be used instead. This means that the client can set up and install the program on their own servers. These systems are generally much cheaper than the more expensive ones that are provided with some hosting packages. They are also much less complex than the more expensive software and do not require the installation of any additional software.
ModSecurity is easy to use, and even if it was not, most clients would not have the skills or time to configure the program manually. They can just use the automatic installation feature provided with most hosting packages.