Getting fail2ban to work with Symfony2 the proper(?) way

Posted on Sat 21 June 2014 in Web development

NOTE: This is a repost of an old article. I noticed that it was generating a bunch of 404s for some people, so I figured I'd dig it up.

Described as "a script kiddie's worst nightmare", fail2ban is a tool that reads log files, tries to match lines to predefined rules or filters, extracts an IP address from those lines and "bans" the host that IP address belongs to, in a certain way.

It is extremely customizable, can send email notifications and do even more cool stuff. If you want to learn more about fail2ban, you can visit its homepage here.

This blog post will be focusing on making this wonderful tool work properly with Symfony2, so you can automatically ban anyone trying to gain access to your application in a harmful manner for a certain period.

Creating the Authentication Failure Handler

Fail2ban needs a host or IP address so it can ban any offenders. This makes a lot of sense, since generally it'll be creating temporary iptables rules that drop packets coming from the offending IP address on ports 80 and 443.

Symfony however does not log the offender's IP address when authentication fails, so we'll have to add that functionality ourselves by extending the Default Authentication Failure Handler.

The only functionality we'll add is the logging of IP addresses when authentication fails, in order to be able to extra data from our logs (stored in app/logs/) using fail2ban.


# src/Your/ExampleBundle/EventHandler/AuthenticationFailureHandler.php
namespace Your\ExampleBundle\EventHandler;

use Symfony\Component\HttpFoundation\Request;
use Symfony\Component\Security\Core\Exception\AuthenticationException;
use Symfony\Component\Security\Http\Authentication\DefaultAuthenticationFailureHandler;

class AuthenticationFailureHandler extends DefaultAuthenticationFailureHandler
    public function onAuthenticationFailure(Request $request, AuthenticationException $exception)
        if (null !== $this->logger && null !== $request->getClientIp()) {
            $this->logger->error(sprintf('Authentication failure for IP: %s', $request->getClientIp()));

        return parent::onAuthenticationFailure($request, $exception);

As you can see, the only real functionality we've added is the logging. Now for the matching service definition:

# src/Your/ExampleBundle/Resources/config/services.yml
        class: Your\ExampleBundle\EventHandler\AuthenticationFailureHandler
        arguments: ["@http_kernel", "@security.http_utils", {}, "@logger"]
            - { name: 'monolog.logger', channel: 'security' }

You'll also need to tell Symfony to use your handler by specifying a failure_handler in your security.yml, like so:

# app/config/security.yml
            pattern: ^/
                provider: fos_userbundle
                csrf_provider: form.csrf_provider
                failure_handler: your.examplebundle.authenticationfailurehandler
            logout:       true
            anonymous:    true

Alright, that's it for the Symfony part. You should be seeing the IP address of any offenders in your app/logs/%kernel.environment%.log file, like so:

[2013-11-03 23:24:55] security.INFO: Authentication request failed: Bad credentials [] []
[2013-11-03 23:24:55] security.ERROR: Authentication failure for IP: [] []

Next up: the fail2ban filter!

Creating a custom fail2ban filter for Symfony2

To create a new filter for fail2ban, we'll create a file in /etc/fail2ban/filter.d/symfony.conf with the following contents:

failregex = Authentication\sfailure\sfor\sIP:\s<HOST>\s

That was easy, right? We should create a jail in /etc/fail2ban/jail.local which uses our new filter. The definition for this jail will depend on your configuration, but a basic one could look like this:

enabled   = true
filter    = symfony
logpath   = /var/www/my-project/app/logs/prod.log
port      = http,https
bantime   = 600
banaction = iptables-multiport
maxretry  = 3

Now all that remains is to execute service fail2ban reload and to test your new setup.