Securing a web server is critical if it is Internet facing. A steady flood of random and targeted attacks is going to happen as soon as the server is available over the Internet. Installing a firewall and a brute force attack detection tool should be one of the very first steps for a web master. In the past we recommended APF and BFD of R-fx Networks as the software to use, but both tools have not kept up with the pace and are very much outdated. A competing product developer stepped up to the plate and grabbed the opportunity to position his own software solution in the market. Best of all – the solution is freely available at Configserver.com.
CSF and LFD are very easy to install and to configure – especially if you are using a cpanel & WHM server. Here are the instructions on how to install CSF and LFD.
1) Log into your server and switch to the root user
2) Switch directories to your download directory
3) Download the latest version of the software: # wget http://www.configserver.com/free/csf.tgz
4) Untar the package: # tar -xzf csf.tgz
5) Switch into the new extracted folder: # cd csf
6) Run the installer: # sh install.sh
7) If you are still running APF and BFD on your server it is necessary to disable those applications: # sh disable_apf_bfd.sh
If you are running WHM you can now configure CSF and LFD from WHM. CSF/LFD comes pre-configured for a cpanel/WHM server and so there is not that much to do after the installation. Log into WHM and inspect the new configuration utility. As an example you can uninstall APF and BFD from here with the click of the button. If you want to manually edit the CSF/LFD configuration you can do so at / etc/csf/*. Make sure to make backups before you make changes as well as using the debug mode to avoid being locked out.
If for whatever reason you need to uninstall CSF and LFD you can do this easily yourself as well. Login to your server via SSH and switch to the root user.
1) Switch to the folder holding the uninstaller: # cd /etc/csf
2) Run the uninstaller: # sh uninstall.sh
All done. We highly recommend to make yourself familar with the product and how it works. CSF / LFD comes with a readme.txt file that you really should read. The readme file will give a great insight into how both apps work and what you need to configure to have your server properly configured.