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Installing as a Dynamic Module for Distribution-Provided NGINX

These instructions describe the steps to install Wallarm filtering node as a dynamic module for the open source version of NGINX installed from the Debian/CentOS repositories.

All-in-one installation

Starting from Wallarm node 4.6, it is recommended to use all-in-one installation which automates all the activities listed in the steps below and makes node deployment much easier.

NGINX Open Source can be obtained from nginx.org or the default repositories of Debian/CentOS depending on your requirements, NGINX version preferences, and repository management policies. Wallarm provides packages for both nginx.org and distribution‑provided versions. This guide focuses on NGINX from Debian/CentOS repositories.

Use cases

Among all supported Wallarm deployment options, DEB/RPM packages for distribution-provided NGINX is recommended for Wallarm deployment in these use cases:

  • Your infrastructure is based on bare metal or virtual machines without using container-based methods. Typically, these setups are managed with Infrastructure as Code (IaC) tools like Ansible or SaltStack.

  • Your services are built around distribution-provided NGINX. Wallarm can extend its functionalities using these packages.

Requirements

  • Access to the account with the Administrator role and two‑factor authentication disabled in Wallarm Console for the US Cloud or EU Cloud

  • SELinux disabled or configured upon the instructions

  • Executing all commands as a superuser (e.g. root)

  • Access to https://repo.wallarm.com to download packages. Ensure the access is not blocked by a firewall

  • Access to https://us1.api.wallarm.com for working with US Wallarm Cloud or to https://api.wallarm.com for working with EU Wallarm Cloud. If access can be configured only via the proxy server, then use the instructions

  • Access to the specified IP addresses on Google Cloud Storage. This access is crucial for downloading updates to attack detection rules, and retrieving exact IPs of countries, regions, or data centers you have added to your allowlist, denylist, or graylist

  • Installed text editor vim, nano, or any other. In the instruction, vim is used

1. Add Debian/CentOS repositories

sudo apt -y install dirmngr
curl -fsSL https://repo.wallarm.com/wallarm.gpg | sudo apt-key add -
sh -c "echo 'deb https://repo.wallarm.com/debian/wallarm-node buster/4.8/' | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/wallarm.list"
sudo apt update
sudo apt -y install dirmngr
curl -fSsL https://repo.wallarm.com/wallarm.gpg | sudo gpg --no-default-keyring --keyring gnupg-ring:/etc/apt/trusted.gpg.d/wallarm.gpg --import
sudo chmod 644 /etc/apt/trusted.gpg.d/wallarm.gpg
sh -c "echo 'deb https://repo.wallarm.com/debian/wallarm-node bullseye/4.8/' | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/wallarm.list"
sudo apt update
sudo yum install -y epel-release
sudo rpm -i https://repo.wallarm.com/centos/wallarm-node/7/4.8/x86_64/wallarm-node-repo-4.8-0.el7.noarch.rpm
sudo yum install -y epel-release
sudo rpm -i https://repo.wallarm.com/centos/wallarm-node/8/4.8/x86_64/wallarm-node-repo-4.8-0.el8.noarch.rpm
sudo dnf install -y https://dl.fedoraproject.org/pub/epel/epel-release-latest-8.noarch.rpm
sudo rpm -i https://repo.wallarm.com/centos/wallarm-node/8/4.8/x86_64/wallarm-node-repo-4.8-0.el8.noarch.rpm

2. Install NGINX with Wallarm packages

The command installs the following packages:

  • nginx for NGINX

  • libnginx-mod-http-wallarm or nginx-mod-http-wallarm for the NGINX-Wallarm module

  • wallarm-node for the postanalytics module, Tarantool database, and additional NGINX-Wallarm packages

sudo apt -y install --no-install-recommends nginx wallarm-node libnginx-mod-http-wallarm
sudo apt -y install --no-install-recommends nginx wallarm-node libnginx-mod-http-wallarm
sudo yum install -y nginx wallarm-node nginx-mod-http-wallarm
sudo yum install -y nginx wallarm-node nginx-mod-http-wallarm
sudo yum install -y nginx wallarm-node nginx-mod-http-wallarm

3. Connect the Wallarm module

Copy the configuration files for the system setup:

sudo cp /usr/share/doc/libnginx-mod-http-wallarm/examples/*conf /etc/nginx/conf.d/
sudo cp /usr/share/doc/nginx-mod-http-wallarm/examples/*conf /etc/nginx/conf.d/
sudo cp /usr/share/doc/nginx-mod-http-wallarm/examples/*conf /etc/nginx/conf.d/
sudo cp /usr/share/doc/nginx-mod-http-wallarm/examples/*conf /etc/nginx/conf.d/

4. Connect the filtering node to Wallarm Cloud

The Wallarm filtering node interacts with the Wallarm Cloud. You need to connect the node to the Cloud.

When connecting node to the Cloud, you can set the node name, under which it will be displayed in the Wallarm Console UI and put the node into the appropriate node group (used to logically organize nodes in UI).

Grouped nodes

To connect the node to the Cloud, use a Wallarm token of the appropriate type:

  1. Open Wallarm Console → SettingsAPI tokens in the US Cloud or EU Cloud.
  2. Find or create API token with the Deploy source role.
  3. Copy this token.
  4. Run the register-node script on a machine where you install the filtering node:

    sudo /usr/share/wallarm-common/register-node -t <TOKEN> --labels 'group=<GROUP>' -H us1.api.wallarm.com
    
    sudo /usr/share/wallarm-common/register-node -t <TOKEN> --labels 'group=<GROUP>'
    
    • <TOKEN> is the copied value of the API token with the Deploy role.
    • --labels 'group=<GROUP>' parameter puts your node to the <GROUP> node group (existing, or, if does not exist, it will be created). If you are installing filtering and postanalytics modules separately, it is recommended to put them into the same group.
  1. Open Wallarm Console → Nodes in the US Cloud or EU Cloud.
  2. Do one of the following:
    • Create the node of the Wallarm node type and copy the generated token.
    • Use existing node group - copy token using node's menu → Copy token.
  3. Run the register-node script on a machine where you install the filtering node:

    sudo /usr/share/wallarm-common/register-node -t <TOKEN> -H us1.api.wallarm.com
    
    sudo /usr/share/wallarm-common/register-node -t <TOKEN>
    
  • <TOKEN> is the copied value of the node token. If you are installing filtering and postanalytics modules separately, it is recommended to put them into the same group using the same node token.
  • You may add -n <HOST_NAME> parameter to set a custom name for your node instance. Final instance name will be: HOST_NAME_NodeUUID.

5. Enable Wallarm to analyze the traffic

By default, the deployed Wallarm node does not analyze incoming traffic.

Depending on the selected Wallarm deployment approach (in-line or Out-of-Band), configure Wallarm to either proxy traffic or process the traffic mirror.

Perform the following configuration in the /etc/nginx/conf.d/default.conf file on the machine with the installed node:

  1. Set an IP address for Wallarm to proxy legitimate traffic to. It can be an IP of an application instance, load balancer, or DNS name, etc., depending on your architecture.

    To do so, edit the proxy_pass value, e.g. Wallarm should send legitimate requests to http://10.80.0.5:

    server {
        listen 80;
        listen [::]:80 ipv6only=on;
    
        ...
    
        location / {
            proxy_pass http://10.80.0.5; 
            ...
        }
    }
    
  2. For the Wallarm node to analyze the incoming traffic, set the wallarm_mode directive to monitoring:

    server {
        listen 80;
        listen [::]:80 ipv6only=on;
        wallarm_mode monitoring;
    
        ...
    }
    

    The monitoring mode is the recommended one for the first deployment and solution testing. Wallarm provides safe blocking and blocking modes as well, read more.

  1. For the Wallarm node to accept mirrored traffic, set the following configuration in the server NGINX block:

    wallarm_force server_addr $http_x_server_addr;
    wallarm_force server_port $http_x_server_port;
    # Change 222.222.222.22 to the address of the mirroring server
    set_real_ip_from  222.222.222.22;
    real_ip_header    X-Forwarded-For;
    real_ip_recursive on;
    wallarm_force response_status 0;
    wallarm_force response_time 0;
    wallarm_force response_size 0;
    
    • The set_real_ip_from and real_ip_header directives are required to have Wallarm Console display the IP addresses of the attackers.
    • The wallarm_force_response_* directives are required to disable analysis of all requests except for copies received from the mirrored traffic.
  2. For the Wallarm node to analyze the mirrored traffic, set the wallarm_mode directive to monitoring:

    server {
        listen 80;
        listen [::]:80 ipv6only=on;
        wallarm_mode monitoring;
    
        ...
    }
    

    Since malicious requests cannot be blocked, the only mode Wallarm accepts is monitoring. For in-line deployment, there are also safe blocking and blocking modes but even if you set the wallarm_mode directive to a value different from monitoring, the node continues to monitor traffic and only record malicious traffic (aside from the mode set to off).

6. Restart NGINX

Providing user with root permission

If you are running NGINX as a user that does not have root permission, then add this user to the wallarm group using the following command:

usermod -aG wallarm <user_name>;

where <user_name> is the name of the user without root permission.

sudo systemctl restart nginx
sudo systemctl restart nginx
sudo systemctl restart nginx
sudo systemctl restart nginx

7. Configure sending traffic to the Wallarm instance

Depending on the deployment approach being used, perform the following settings:

Update targets of your load balancer to send traffic to the Wallarm instance. For details, please refer to the documentation on your load balancer.

Configure your web or proxy server (e.g. NGINX, Envoy) to mirror incoming traffic to the Wallarm node. For configuration details, we recommend to refer to your web or proxy server documentation.

Inside the link, you will find the example configuration for the most popular of web and proxy servers (NGINX, Traefik, Envoy).

8. Test Wallarm node operation

  1. Send the request with test Path Traversal attack to a protected resource address:

    curl http://localhost/etc/passwd
    
  2. Open Wallarm Console → Attacks section in the US Cloud or EU Cloud and make sure the attack is displayed in the list.
    Attacks in the interface

9. Fine-tune the deployed solution

The dynamic Wallarm module with default settings is installed for NGINX stable. The filtering node may require some additional configuration after deployment.

Wallarm settings are defined using the NGINX directives or the Wallarm Console UI. Directives should be set in the following files on the machine with the Wallarm node:

  • /etc/nginx/conf.d/default.conf with NGINX settings

  • /etc/nginx/conf.d/wallarm.conf with global filtering node settings

    The file is used for settings applied to all domains. To apply different settings to different domain groups, use the file default.conf or create new configuration files for each domain group (for example, example.com.conf and test.com.conf). More detailed information about NGINX configuration files is available in the official NGINX documentation.

  • /etc/nginx/conf.d/wallarm-status.conf with Wallarm node monitoring settings. Detailed description is available within the link

  • /etc/default/wallarm-tarantool or /etc/sysconfig/wallarm-tarantool with the Tarantool database settings

Below there are a few of the typical settings that you can apply if needed:

Limitations