Configuring Fail2Ban on Linux Servers (BLOCK/DROP IP addresses that get SSH or IMAP password wrong more than 3 times)

So, I was figuring, because of all the brute force attacks on my servers that I would bother to install fail2ban. Something even better than this would be to change the port your SSH runs on..

Step 1. Install Fail2ban
Ubuntu and Debian Systems

apt-get install fail2ban

Redhat, Fedora and CentOS based Systems

yum install fail2ban

Step 2. Copy the reference config file and edit it in Vi (or nano)

cp /etc/fail2ban/jail.conf /etc/fail2ban/jail.local
vi /etc/fail2ban/jail.local

Step 3. Configure bantime (default 600seconds), and the max_retry (3 attempts).
If someone tries to connect 3 times or more with the wrong password, they’ll be added to IPTABLES DROP rule for 600 seconds

# "bantime" is the number of seconds that a host is banned.
bantime  = 600

maxretry = 3

By default fail2ban starts banning people on SSH immediately, but I found it was also possible to configure fail2ban to block ip addresses attempting to brute force hack my email accounts, here is how I did it.


enabled  = false
port     = smtp,ssmtp,submission,imap2,imap3,imaps,pop3,pop3s
filter   = postfix-sasl
# You might consider monitoring /var/log/mail.warn instead if you are
# running postfix since it would provide the same log lines at the
# "warn" level but overall at the smaller filesize.
logpath  = /var/log/mail.log

It’s possible to alter this configuration but for most people the logpath for SSH is auth.log


enabled  = true
port     = ssh
filter   = sshd
logpath  = /var/log/auth.log
maxretry = 6

Step 4: Restart the Fail2ban service

# most init.d based systems
/etc/init.d/fail2ban restart
# some systemD systems
service fail2ban restart