Ubuntu Fail2ban fails to parse Apache access.log

Duplicate of original post: https://troubleshoot-coltpython.blogspot.com/2013/11/ubuntu-fail2ban-fails-to-parse-apache.html

I was trying to setup Fail2ban to block WordPress login bruteforce attacks, but Fail2ban somehow failed to parse access.log

When parsing log file with command:

fail2ban-regex /var/log/apache2/access.log /etc/fail2ban/filter.d/apache-wp-login.conf

CPU rises to 100% usage until I kill the process. I made a quick fix – workaround with redirecting needed content from access.log to another log file.

My setup is as follows:

OS: Ubuntu Server 12.04 LTS
Fail2ban: 0.8.6-3wheezy2build0.12.04.1
Python: 2.7.3-0ubuntu2.2

Fail2ban configuration:

 nano /etc/fail2ban/fail2ban.conf 
# Fail2Ban configuration file
# Author: Cyril Jaquier
# $Revision$


# Option: loglevel
# Notes.: Set the log level output.
# 1 = ERROR
# 2 = WARN
# 3 = INFO
# 4 = DEBUG
# Values: NUM Default: 3

loglevel = 4

# Option: logtarget
# Notes.: Set the log target. This could be a file, SYSLOG, STDERR or STDOUT.
# Only one log target can be specified.
# Values: STDOUT STDERR SYSLOG file Default: /var/log/fail2ban.log

logtarget = /var/log/fail2ban.log

# Option: socket
# Notes.: Set the socket file. This is used to communicate with the daemon. Do
# not remove this file when Fail2ban runs. It will not be possible to
# communicate with the server afterwards.
# Values: FILE Default: /var/run/fail2ban/fail2ban.sock
socket = /var/run/fail2ban/fail2ban.sock

We add a new entry for WordPress

Add configuration to /etc/fail2ban/jail.conf


enabled = true
port = http,https
filter = apache-wp-login
logpath = /var/log/apache2/apache-wp-login.log
maxretry = 3
findtime = 60

Now me make new filter for WordPress. Some servers logs are in different format so we have to make different regex entries. These are two most common configurations:

Log format example 1:

www.domain.si:80 - - [08/Nov/2013:13:20:46 +0100] "POST /en/wp-login.php HTTP/1.1" 200 1784 "http://www.domain.si/en/wp-login.php" "Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/31.0.1623.0 Safari/537.36"

Log format example 2: - - [08/Nov/2013:13:40:12 +0000] "POST /wp-login.php HTTP/1.1" 200 1756 "http://domain.wordpress.com/wp-login.php" "Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64; rv:25.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/25.0"

Create /etc/fail2ban/filter.d/apache-wp-login.conf

For log format example 1 use:

failregex = ^[^\:]+\:80 <HOST> .* "POST
ignoreregex =

ATTENTION! Don’t apply this filter to default access.log, it would block all POST request, not only WordPress. Only use it with modified log file we will create bellow.

For log format example 2 use:

failregex = <HOST>.*] "POST /wp-login.php

ATTENTION! Don’t apply this filter to log format example 1, it would block your own server, because <HOST> regex would match your domain (www.domain.si).

Now we create new log file for parsing (/var/log/apache2/apache-wp-login.log). We only want to filter out POST requests for wp-login.php and write them to new log file called apache-wp-login.log

tail --follow=name /var/log/apache2/access.log | grep --line-buffered wp-login.php &amp;amp;gt; /var/log/apache2/apache-wp-login.log &amp;amp;amp;

Add this command to /etc/rc.local so it would run at reboot:


#!/bin/sh -e
# rc.local
# This script is executed at the end of each multiuser runlevel.
# Make sure that the script will "exit 0" on success or any other
# value on error.
# In order to enable or disable this script just change the execution
# bits.
# By default this script does nothing.

# Fail2ban WordPress Login
tail -f /var/log/apache2/access.log | grep --line-buffered wp-login.php > /var/log/apache2/apache-wp-login.log &

exit 0
Restart Fail2ban and you’re done.

/etc/init.d/fail2ban restart

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