Protecting GNU MediaGoblin

GNU MediaGoblin
GNU MediaGoblin is sympa but under attack.

Objective: GNU MediaGoblin instances that have open registrations are suffering from botnets registering accounts en masse for spamming purposes and thus forcing instance maintainers to close registrations. Especially annoying thing the botnets are doing is that they do not even check if the email address lists they traded something in exchange for are valid causing massive amounts of mail returned by Mail Delivery Subsystem on the basis that the email box does not exist. Teslas_moustache on freenode irc proposed that we should look into how Fail2ban could be utilized to stop known vandals.

Fail2ban logo
Fail2ban dynamically alters firewall settings to counter vandal activity by denying access to known vandal IPs. Logo used under the clauses CC-BY-SA 3.0 courtesy of WMC user Palosirkka.

Fail2ban wiki on Fail2ban

“Fail2ban scans log files (e.g. /var/log/apache/error_log) and bans IPs that show the malicious signs — too many password failures, seeking for exploits, etc. Generally Fail2Ban is then used to update firewall rules to reject the IP addresses for a specified amount of time, although any arbitrary other action (e.g. sending an email) could also be configured. Out of the box Fail2Ban comes with filters for various services (apache, courier, ssh, etc).”

How to use Fail2ban

When properly configured Fail2ban dynamically modifies the iptables rules when it sees improper behavior.

  • Any IP addresses that can be associated with generating flood of returned mail because they try to register an account with an email address that doesn’t exist should be banned. Stupid, annoying and basic FUD technique employed to discourage MediaGoblin people.


Sharing information on vandal IP and email addresses

Also the issue has been raised that instead of lying down as the firing from the FUD campaign botnets ensues we should try to take their ground. For this it would be beneficial to form a data sharing arrangement between GMG hosters so that we can more effectively combat the FUD campaign.

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