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Server Security

Table of Contents

File Access

Follow Symbolic Link | Check Symbolic Link | Force Strict Ownership Checking | Required Permission Mask | Restricted Permission Mask | Script Restricted Permission Mask | Script Directory Restricted Permission Mask

Per Client Throttling

Static Requests/Second | Dynamic Requests/Second | Outbound Bandwidth (bytes/sec) | Inbound Bandwidth (bytes/sec) | Connection Soft Limit | Connection Hard Limit | Block Bad Request | Grace Period (sec) | Banned Period (sec)

CGI Settings

CGI Daemon Socket | Max CGI Instances | Minimum UID | Minimum GID | Force GID | umask | CGI Priority | CPU Soft Limit (sec) | CPU Hard Limit | Memory Soft Limit (bytes) | Memory Hard Limit | Process Soft Limit | Process Hard Limit

Access Denied Directories

Access Denied Directories

Access Control

Allowed List | Denied List

Web Application Firewall (WAF)

Enable WAF | Log Level | Default Action | Scan Request Body | Temporary File Path | Temporary File Permissions | Disable .htaccess Override | Enable Security Audit Log | Security Audit Log

Web Application Firewall (WAF) Rule Set

Name | Rule Set Action | Enabled | Rules Definition

Description

Specifies the server-level default setting of following symbolic links when serving static files.

Choices are Yes, If Owner Match and No.

Yes sets the server to always follow symbolic links. If Owner Match sets the server to follow a symbolic link only if the owner of the link and of the target are same. No means the server will never follow a symbolic link. This setting can be overridden in the virtual host configurations but cannot be overridden from an .htaccess file.

Syntax

Select from drop down list

Tips

For best security select No or If Owner Match. For best performance, select Yes.

See Also

Check Symbolic Link.

Description

Specifies whether to check symbolic links against Access Denied Directories when Follow Symbolic Link is turned on. If enabled, the canonical real path of the resource referred by a URL will be checked against the configurable access denied directories. Access will be denied if it falls inside an access denied directory.

Syntax

Select from radio box

Tips

For best security, enable this option. For best performance, disable it.

See Also

Follow Symbolic Link, Access Denied Directories

Force Strict Ownership Checking

Description

Specifies whether to enforce strict file ownership checking. If it is enabled, the web server will check if the owner of the file being served is the same as the owner of the virtual host. If it is different, a 403 Access Denied Error will be returned. This is turned off by default.

Syntax

Select from radio box

Tips

For shared hosting, enable this check for better security.

Required Permission Mask

Description

Specifies the required permission mask for static files that the server will serve. For example, if only files that are readable by everyone can be served, set the value to 0004. See man 2 stat for all values.

Syntax

octal numbers

See Also

Restricted Permission Mask.

Restricted Permission Mask

Description

Specifies the restricted permission mask for static files that the server will not serve. For example, to prohibit serving files that are executable, set the mask to 0111.

See man 2 stat for all values.

Syntax

octal numbers

See Also

Required Permission Mask.

Script Restricted Permission Mask

Description

Specifies the restricted permission mask for script files that the server will not serve. For example, to prohibit serving PHP scripts that are group and world writable, set the mask to 022. Default value is 000.

See man 2 stat for all values.

Syntax

octal numbers

See Also

Script Directory Restricted Permission Mask.

Script Directory Restricted Permission Mask

Description

Specifies the restricted permission mask of parent directories of script files that the server will not serve. For example, to prohibit serving PHP scripts in a directory that is group and world writable, set the mask to 022. Default value is 000. This option can be used to prevent serving scripts under a directory of uploaded files.

See man 2 stat for all values.

Syntax

octal numbers

See Also

Script Restricted Permission Mask.

Per Client Throttling

Description

These are connection control settings are based on client IP. These settings help to mitigate DoS (Denial of Service) and DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks.

Static Requests/Second

Description

Specifies the maximum number of requests to static content coming from a single IP address that can be processed in a single second regardless of the number of connections established.

When this limit is reached, all future requests are tar-pitted until the next second. Request limits for dynamically generated content are independent of this limit. Per-client request limits can be set at server- or virtual host-level. Virtual host-level settings override server-level settings.

Syntax

Integer number

Tips

Trusted IPs or sub-networks are not affected.

See Also

Dynamic Requests/Second

Dynamic Requests/Second

Description

Specifies the maximum number of requests to dynamically generated content coming from a single IP address that can be processed in each second regardless of the number of connections established. When this limit is reached, all future requests to dynamic content are tar-pitted until the next second.

The request limit for static content is independent of this limit. This per client request limit can be set at server or virtual host level. Virtual host-level settings override server-level settings.

Syntax

Integer number

Tips

Trusted IPs or sub-networks are not restrained by this limit.

See Also

Static Requests/Second

Outbound Bandwidth (bytes/sec)

Description

The maximum allowed outgoing throughput to a single IP address, regardless of the number of connections established. The real bandwidth may end up being slightly higher than this setting for efficiency reasons. Bandwidth is allocated in 4KB units. Set to 0 to disable throttling. Per-client bandwidth limits (bytes/sec) can be set at the server or virtual host level where virtual host level settings override server level settings.

Syntax

Integer number

Tips

Set the bandwidth in 8KB units for better performance.

Trusted IPs or sub-networks are not affected.

See Also

Inbound Bandwidth (bytes/sec)

Inbound Bandwidth (bytes/sec)

Description

The maximum allowed incoming throughput from a single IP address, regardless of the number of connections established. The real bandwidth may end up being slightly higher than this setting for efficiency reasons. Bandwidth is allocated in 1KB units. Set to 0 to disable throttling. Per-client bandwidth limits (bytes/sec) can be set at the server or virtual host level where virtual host level settings override server level settings.

Syntax

Integer number

Tips

Trusted IPs or sub-networks are not affected.

See Also

Outbound Bandwidth (bytes/sec)

Connection Soft Limit

Description

Specifies the soft limit of concurrent connections allowed from one IP. This soft limit can be exceeded temporarily during Grace Period (sec) as long as the number is below the Connection Hard Limit, but Keep-Alive connections will be closed as soon as possible until the number of connections is lower than the limit. If number of connections is still over the limit after the Grace Period (sec), that IP will be blocked for the Banned Period (sec).

For example, if a page contains many small graphs, the browser may try to set up many connections at same time, especially for HTTP/1.0 clients. You would want to allow those connections for a short period.

HTTP/1.1 clients may also set up multiple connections to speed up downloading and SSL requires separate connections from non-SSL connections. Make sure the limit is set properly, as not to adversely affect normal service. The recommended limit is between 5 and 10.

Syntax

Integer number

Tips

A lower number will enable serving more distinct clients.
Trusted IPs or sub-networks are not affected.
Set to a high value when you are performing benchmark tests with a large number of concurrent client machines.

Connection Hard Limit

Description

Specifies the maximum number of allowed concurrent connections from a single IP address. This limit is always enforced and a client will never be able to exceed this limit. HTTP/1.0 clients usually try to set up as many connections as they need to download embedded content at the same time. This limit should be set high enough so that HTTP/1.0 clients can still access the site. Use Connection Soft Limit to set the desired connection limit.

The recommended limit is between 20 and 50 depending on the content of your web page and your traffic load.

Syntax

Integer number

Tips

A lower number will enable serving more distinct clients.
Trusted IPs or sub-networks are not affected.
Set to a high value when you are performing benchmark tests with a large number of concurrent client machines.

Block Bad Request

Description

Block IPs that keep sending badly-formated HTTP requests for the Banned Period (sec). Default is Yes. This helps to block botnet attacks that repeatedly sending junk requests.

Syntax

Select from radio box

Grace Period (sec)

Description

Specifies how long new connections can be accepted after the number of connections established from one IP is over the Connection Soft Limit. Within this period, new connections will be accepted if the total connections is still below the Connection Hard Limit. After this period has elapsed, if the number of connections still higher than the Connection Soft Limit, then the offending IP will be blocked for the Banned Period (sec).

Syntax

Integer number

Tips

Set to a proper number big enough for downloading a complete page but low enough to prevent deliberate attacks.

Banned Period (sec)

Description

Specifies how long new connections will be rejected from an IP if, after the Grace Period (sec) has elapsed, the number of connections is still more than the Connection Soft Limit. If IPs are getting banned repeatedly, we suggest that you increase your banned period to stiffen the penalty for abuse.

Syntax

Integer number

CGI Settings

Description

The following settings control CGI processes. Memory and process limits also serve as the default for other external applications if limits have not been set explicitly for those applications.

CGI Daemon Socket

Description

A unique socket address used to communicate with the CGI daemon. LiteSpeed server uses a standalone CGI daemon to spawn CGI scripts for best performance and security. Default socket is "uds://$SERVER_ROOT/admin/conf/.cgid.sock". If you need to put in another location, specify a Unix domain socket here.

Syntax

UDS://path

Example

UDS://tmp/lshttpd/cgid.sock

Max CGI Instances

Description

Specifies the maximum number of concurrent CGI processes the server can start. For each request to a CGI script, the server needs to start a standalone CGI process. On a Unix system, the number of concurrent processes is limited. Excessive concurrent processes will degrade the performance of the whole system and are one way to perform a DoS attack. LiteSpeed server pipelines requests to CGI scripts and limits concurrent CGI processes to ensure the optimal performance and reliability. The hard limit is 2000.

Syntax

Integer number

Tips

A higher limit does not necessarily translate to faster performance. In most cases, a lower limit gives better performance and security. A higher limit will only help when I/O latency is excessive during CGI processing.

Minimum UID

Description

Specifies the minimum user ID of external applications. Execution of an external script with a user ID lower than the value specified here will be denied. If LiteSpeed web server is started by "root" user, it can run external applications in the "suEXEC" mode like Apache (to change to a user/group ID other than the web server's).

Syntax

Integer number

Tips

Set it high enough to exclude all system/privileged users.

Minimum GID

Description

Specifies the minimum group ID of external applications. Execution of an external with a group ID lower than the value specified here will be denied. If LiteSpeed web server is started by the "root" user, it can run external applications in the "suEXEC" mode found in Apache (to change to a user/group ID other than the web server's).

Syntax

Integer number

Tips

Set it high enough to exclude all groups used by system users.

Force GID

Description

Specifies a group ID to be used for all external applications started in suEXEC mode. When set to non-zero value, all suEXEC external applications (CGI/FastCGI/LSAPI) will use this group ID. This can be used to prevent an external application from accessing files owned by other users.

For example, in a shared hosting environment, LiteSpeed runs as user "www-data", group "www-data". Each docroot is owned by a user account, with a group of "www-data" and permission mode 0750. If Force GID is set to "nogroup" (or any group other than 'www-data'), all suEXEC external applications will run as a particular user but in the group "nogroup". These external application processes will still be able to access files owned by that particular user (because of their user ID), but will not have group permission to access anyone else's files. The server, on the other hand, still can serve files under any user's docroot directory (because of its group ID).

Syntax

Integer number

Tips

Set it high enough to exclude all groups used by system users.

umask

Description

Sets default umask for CGI processes. See man 2 umask for details. This also serves as the default value for external applications umask.

Syntax

value valid range [000]-[777].

See Also

ExtApp umask

CGI Priority

Description

Specifies priority of the external application process. Value ranges from -20 to 20. A lower number means a higher priority.

A CGI process cannot have a higher priority than the web server. If this priority is set to a lower number than the server's, the server's priority will be used for this value.

Syntax

int

See Also

Server Priority

CPU Soft Limit (sec)

Description

Specifies CPU consumption time limit in seconds for a CGI process. When the process reaches the soft limit, it will be notified by a signal. The operating system's default setting will be used if the value is absent or set to 0.

Syntax

Integer number

CPU Hard Limit

Description

Specifies maximum CPU consumption time limit in seconds for a CGI process. If the process continues to consume CPU time and reach the hard limit, the process will be force killed. The operating system's default setting will be used if the value is absent or set to 0.

Syntax

Integer number

Memory Soft Limit (bytes)

Description

Specifies the memory consumption limit in bytes for an external application process or an external application started by the server.

The main purpose of this limit is to prevent excessive memory usage because of software bugs or intentional attacks, not to impose a limit on normal usage. Make sure to leave enough head room, otherwise your application may fail and 503 error may be returned. It can be set at the server- level or at an individual external application level. The server-level limit will be used if it is not set at the individual application level.

The operating system's default setting will be used if the value is absent at both levels or set to 0.

Syntax

Integer number

Tips

Do not over adjust this limit. This may result in 503 errors if your application needs more memory.

Memory Hard Limit

Description

Much the same as Memory Soft Limit (bytes), except the soft limit can be raised up to the hard limit from within a user process. The hard limit can be set at server level or at an individual external application level. The server-level limit will be used if it is not set at an individual application level.

The operating system's default will be used if the value is absent at both levels or set to 0.

Syntax

Integer number

Example

[A] Do not over adjust this limit. This may result in 503 errors if your application need more memory.

Process Soft Limit

Description

Limits the total number of processes that can be created on behalf of a user. All existing processes will be counted against this limit, not just new processes to be started.

The limit can be set at the server level or at an individual external application level. The server-level limit will be used if it is not set at an individual application level. The operating system's default setting will be used if this value is 0 or absent at both levels.

Syntax

Integer number

Tips

To control how many processes LSWS will make for users in suEXEC mode, use the suEXEC Max Conn setting. PHP scripts can call for forking processes and the number of processes needed for normal functioning can be above the suEXEC Max Conn setting. The main purpose of this limit is as a last line of defense to prevent fork bombs and other attacks caused by PHP processes creating other processes.
Setting this setting too low can severely hurt functionality. The setting will thus be ignored below certain levels.
When using suEXEC Daemon mode, the actual process limit will be higher than this setting to make sure parent processes are not limited.

Process Hard Limit

Description

Much the same as Process Soft Limit, except the soft limit can be raised up to the hard limit from within a user process. The hard limit can be set at the server level or at an individual external application level. The server-level limit will be used if it is not set at an individual application level. The operating system's default value will be used if the value is absent at both levels or set to 0.

Syntax

Integer number

Access Denied Directories

Description

Specifies directories that should be blocked from access. Add directories that contain sensitive data to this list to prevent accidentally exposing sensitive files to clients. Append a "*" to the path to include all sub-directories. If both Follow Symbolic Link and Check Symbolic Link are enabled, symbolic links will be checked against the denied directories.

Syntax

Comma-delimited list of directories

Tips

Of critical importance: This setting only prevents serving static files from these directories. This does not prevent exposure by external scripts such as PHP/Ruby/CGI.

Access Control

Description

Specifies what sub networks and/or IP addresses can access the server. At the server level, this setting will affect all virtual hosts. You can also set up access control unique to each virtual host at the virtual host level. Virtual host level settings will NOT override server level settings.

Blocking/Allowing an IP is determined by the combination of the allowed list and the denied list. If you want to block only certain IPs or sub-networks, put * or ALL in the Allowed List and list the blocked IPs or sub-networks in the Denied List. If you want to allow only certain IPs or sub-networks, put * or ALL in the Denied List and list the allowed IPs or sub-networks in the Allowed List. The setting of the smallest scope that fits for an IP will be used to determine access.

Server Level: Trusted IPs or sub-networks must be specified in the Allowed List by adding a trailing "T". Trusted IPs or sub-networks are not affected by connection/throttling limits. Only server level access control can set up trusted IPs/sub-networks.

Tips

Use this at the server level for general restrictions that apply to all virtual hosts.

Allowed List

Description

Specifies the list of IPs or sub-networks allowed. * or ALL are accepted.

Syntax

Comma delimited list of IP addresses or sub-networks. A trailing "T" can be used to indicate a trusted IP or sub-network, such as 192.168.1.*T.

Example

Sub-networks: 192.168.1.0/255.255.255.0, 192.168.1.0/24, 192.168.1, or 192.168.1.*
IPv6 addresses: ::1 or [::1]
IPv6 subnets: 3ffe:302:11:2:20f:1fff:fe29:717c/64 or [3ffe:302:11:2:20f:1fff:fe29:717c]/64

Tips

Trusted IPs or sub-networks set at the server level access control will be excluded from connection/throttling limits.

Denied List

Description

Specifies the list of IPs or sub-networks disallowed.

Syntax

Comma delimited list of IP addresses or sub-networks. * or ALL are accepted.

Example

Sub-networks: 192.168.1.0/255.255.255.0, 192.168.1.0/24, 192.168.1, or 192.168.1.*
IPv6 addresses: ::1 or [::1]
IPv6 subnets: 3ffe:302:11:2:20f:1fff:fe29:717c/64 or [3ffe:302:11:2:20f:1fff:fe29:717c]/64

Enable WAF

Description

Specifies whether to enable request content deep inspection. This feature is equivalent to Apache's mod_security, which can be used to detect and block requests with ill intention by matching them to known signatures.

Syntax

Select from radio box

Log Level

Description

Specifies the level of detail of the Web Application Firewall engine's debug output. This value ranges from 0 - 9. 0 disables logging. 9 produces the most detailed log. The the server and virtual host's error log Log Level must be set to at least INFO for this option to take effect. This is useful when testing request filtering rules.

Syntax

Integer number

See Also

Server Log Level, Virtual Host Log Level

Default Action

Description

Specifies the default actions that should be taken when a censoring rule is met. Default value is deny,log,status:403, which means to deny access with status code 403 and log the incident in the error log.

See Also

Rule Set Action

Scan Request Body

Description

Specifies whether to check the body of an HTTP POST request. Default is "No".

Syntax

Select from radio box

Temporary File Path

Description

Temporary directory where files being uploaded to server will be stored while request body parser is working. Default value is /tmp.

Syntax

Absolute path or path starting with $SERVER_ROOT (for Server and VHost levels).

Temporary File Permissions

Description

Global setting determining file permissions used for files stored in the Temporary File Path directory.

Syntax

3 digits octet number. Default value is 666.

Disable .htaccess Override

Description

Disable turning off mod_security engine in .htaccess. This is a global setting only available at the server level. Default is "No".

Syntax

Select from radio box

Enable Security Audit Log

Description

Specifies whether to enable audit logging. This feature is equivalent to Apache's mod_security audit engine. If it is enabled and Security Audit Log is set, detailed request information will be saved.

Syntax

Select from radio box

See Also

Security Audit Log

Security Audit Log

Description

Specifies the path of the security audit log, which gives more detailed information. This extra information can be useful if, for example, you wish to track the actions of a particular user. Use Enable Security Audit Log to turn on the logging.

Syntax

Filename which can be an absolute path or a relative path to $SERVER_ROOT.

See Also

Enable Security Audit Log

Web Application Firewall (WAF) Rule Set

Description

Rules configured here only work for virtual hosts configured with a native LSWS configuration, not for virtual hosts using Apache httpd.conf.

Name

Description

Give a group of censorship rules a name. For display only.

Syntax

String

Enabled

Description

Specifies whether to enable this rule set. With this option, a rule set can be quickly turned on and off without adding or removing the rule set. Default is "Yes".

Syntax

Select from radio box

Rules Definition

Description

Specifies a list of censorship rules.

If you are using an Apache config file, you have to set up rules in httpd.conf. Rules defined here will have no effect.

Syntax

String. Syntax of censoring rules follows that of Apache's mod_security directives. "SecFilter", "SecFilterSelective", and "SecRule" can be used here. You can copy and paste security rules from an Apache configuration file.

For more details about rule syntax, please refer to the Mod Security documentation.

Tips

Rules configured here only work for vhosts configured in native LSWS configuration, not for vhosts from Apache httpd.conf.

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