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How our firewall works!

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Recently, many of our clients have had issues with our internal firewall. While some get blocked while they are working on a wordpress installation, few others get blocked because of frequent login failures. In this context, we thought it would be a good idea to have to our clients educated on the type of firewall we use and how it operates to prevent future blocks.
In our linux servers, we use CSF (Config Server Security and Firewall) We choose this firewall because it is natively supported by cPanel® and can easily be configured along with another brute force tool we use ie. LFD (Login Failure Daemon). They work well in tandem and LFD passes on the IP information to CSF to get the intruders blocked.

If you have a login failure of more than 10 times in an hour using pop3, your IP gets permanently blocked. Same rule applies to FTP and IMAP login.

If you have a login failure of more than 5 times in an hour (outgoing email authentication) using smtp, your IP gets permanently blocked. The same rule applies to authentication via .htaccess (When you password protect directories) and when you try to access cpanel. If it fails for 5 times your IP will again get blocked permanently.

The IP block can be frustrating at times, but please be aware that every hour we receive hundreds of attacks on our IP addresses trying to get through our firewall. So, it is sometimes essential to have some discipline in place when you access the account or the server. When you set your POP3 or IMAP address, please make sure you set it to a time interval of at least 5 minutes between each mail check. Setting it to the minimum of 1 minute will increase the chance of getting your IP blocked on the server, with a single trigger.

Though white listing your IP address is an easy workaround to prevent future trouble, we always advise the clients against it. This is because your local IP or machines may get regularly infected with viruses and other spyware, if you are not in the habit of keeping your machine up to date and patched. When your IP gets whitelisted on the server, it opens up your account for further attack eventually causing bad IP reputation for your legitimate emails. This affects not only you, but all other users on the server, if you are hosted on a shared environment. Therefore, we always advise our clients to use caution and discipline when it comes to setting up passwords and also when their accounts are configured for mail access.

However, we understand that even with such precautions, you may time and again run into trouble. Don’t forget to reach out to our friendly support team whenever such an incident occurs. We will be glad to help you with it.
Happy hosting!

Sharon Rose

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