Web Application Firewall

We use ModSecurity as additional protection against application level attacks such as cross site-scripting and SQL injections. By default, the core rules set will be loaded, and we block common vulnerabilities and zero day attacks by adding some more global rules.

Identify Blocks

When a request was blocked by the web application firewall, the HTTP status will be returned. To distinguish a 403 returned by the web application firewall from a 403 returned due to missing access rights, we add a custom error text to the web application firewall errors:

Request has been blocked by the Web Application Firewall.

If available, not the debug infos sent to the client to identify the request within the available log files:

nginx Error Log

For each blocked reqeust, there are detailed informations available in the error log file

YYYY/MM/DD HH:MM:SS [error] 171896#0: *29428 [client 2a04:500::1] ModSecurity: Access denied with code 403 (phase 2). Matched "Operator `Ge' with parameter `5' against variable `TX:ANOMALY_SCORE' (Value: `5' ) [file "/etc/nginx/modsecurity/crs/rules/REQUEST-949-BLOCKING-EVALUATION.conf"] [line "80"] [id "949110"] [rev ""] [msg "Inbound Anomaly Score Exceeded (Total Score: 5)"] [data ""] [severity "2"] [ver ""] [maturity "0"] [accuracy "0"] [tag "application-multi"] [tag "language-multi"] [tag "platform-multi"] [tag "attack-generic"] [hostname "2a04:500::1"] [uri "/"] [unique_id "154850909196.529239"] [ref ""], client: 2a04:500::1, server: example.net, request: "GET /?union%20select=%22waf%20demo HTTP/2.0", host: "example.net"


For details, see the ModSecurity documentation.

ModSecurity Audit Log

More detailed informations including a full dump of the request and response can be obtained from the audit log file. It is located in /var/log/nginx/modsecurity.log and readable by the Generic Admin User.

Custom Configuration

The rules added by us and the core rules set are there for a reason and do comply with the HTTP RFC. Even though, it can be required to adapt the rules instead of changing your application.

You can configure the rules in the Website Level nginx configuration in located ~/cnf/nginx.conf:

# disable blocking triggered requests but still detect and log them
modsecurity_rules 'SecRuleEngine DetectionOnly';

# disable certain rule
modsecurity_rules 'SecRuleRemoveById 90001';

# add custom rule
modsecurity_rules 'SecRule "ARGS_NAMES|ARGS" "@contains blocked-value" "deny,msg:blocled,id:91001,chain"'


To apply the changes reload the nginx configuration with the nginx-reload shortcut.


For details, see the ModSecurity documentation.

Disable Altogether

If you cannot adapt the rules to your need, it is possible to disable the web application altogether by enabling Disable WAF in the corresponing websites Advanced tab.


We do not recommend to disable the web application firewall.