Welcome! Log In Create A New Profile


Re: SSL handshake attack mitigation

November 06, 2019 03:24PM
IMHO you did the right thing with fail2ban. I don't see how a firewall is "expensive" other than they they are a little RAM heavy. Half the internet traffic is bots. That doesn't even count the hot linkers. So the reality is you will need a firewall to block what doesn't have eyeballs, namely datacenters. At a bare minimum you should be blocking all of AWS from everything except port 25.

Firewalls have a low CPU load. I think when the dust settles, killing the trouble makers at the source is the way to go.

  Original Message  

From: nginx-forum@forum.nginx.org
Sent: November 6, 2019 11:41 AM
To: nginx@nginx.org
Reply-to: nginx@nginx.org
Subject: SSL handshake attack mitigation


I run a bunch of sites on nginx-plus-r19 (OpenSSL 1.0.2k-fips) and was
recently hit by a nasty DDoS SSL handshake attack.

I noticed nginx worker processes suddenly eating all available CPU and the
"Handshakes failed" counter in the nginx plus dashboard suddenly climbing
out of proportion to the successful handshakes.

If I understand correctly, the limit_req directive would not be effective in
mitigating this type of attack since the SSL handshake occurs earlier in the
request chain.

I ended up setting the error_log level to "info" and feeding the failed
handshake client IPs to fail2ban.

My first question is regarding the particular error log messages produced
during the attack - see example below:

[info] 8050#8050: *146 SSL_do_handshake() failed (SSL: error:14094416:SSL
routines:ssl3_read_bytes:sslv3 alert certificate unknown:SSL alert number
46) while SSL handshaking, client: XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX, server:

The "certificate unknown" seems to suggest that nginx is trying to verify
the certificate of the client, yet "ssl_verify_client" should be off by
default, so why does nginx care about that certificate?

My second question - is there a better way of mitigating this type of
attack? (Preferably without putting an expensive firewall in front of

I would also like to put in a feature request to have a limit_req equivalent
for SSL handshakes.


Posted at Nginx Forum: https://forum.nginx.org/read.php?2,286113,286113#msg-286113

nginx mailing list
nginx mailing list
Subject Author Posted

SSL handshake attack mitigation

mogwai November 06, 2019 02:41PM

Re: SSL handshake attack mitigation

gariac November 06, 2019 03:24PM

Re: SSL handshake attack mitigation

Sergey A. Osokin November 06, 2019 03:36PM

Re: SSL handshake attack mitigation

Sergey Kandaurov November 07, 2019 07:12AM

Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login

Online Users

Guests: 185
Record Number of Users: 8 on April 13, 2023
Record Number of Guests: 421 on December 02, 2018
Powered by nginx      Powered by FreeBSD      PHP Powered      Powered by MariaDB      ipv6 ready