Sentry detects and prevents bruteforce attacks against sshd using minimal system resources.
To prevent inadvertant lockouts, Sentry auto-whitelists IPs that have connected more than 3 times and succeeded at least once. Now that forgetful colleague behind the office NAT router won’t get us locked out of our system. Again. Nor the admin whose script just failed to login 12 times in 2 seconds.
Sentry includes support for adding IPs to a firewall. Support for IPFW, PF, ipchains is included. Firewall support is disabled by default. Firewall rules may terminate existing session(s) to the host (attn. IPFW users). Get your IPs whitelisted (connect 3x or use –whitelist) before enabling the firewall option.
Sentry is written in perl, which is installed nearly everywhere you find sshd. It has no dependencies. Installation and deployment is extremely simple.
Sentry supports blocking connection attempts using tcpwrappers and several popular firewalls. It is easy to extend sentry to support additional blocking lists.
Sentry was written to protect the SSH daemon but also blocks on FTP and MUA logs. As this was written, the primary attack platform in use is bot nets comprised of exploited PCs on high-speed internet connections. These bots are used for carrying out SSH attacks as well as spam delivery. Blocking bots prevents multiple attack vectors.
The programming style of sentry makes it easy to insert code for additonal functionality.
The primary goal of Sentry is to minimize the resources an attacker can steal, while consuming minimal resources itself. Most bruteforce blocking apps (denyhosts, fail2ban, sshdfilter) expect to run as a daemon, tailing a log file. That requires a language interpreter to always be running, consuming at least 10MB of RAM. A single hardware node with dozens of virtual servers will lose hundreds of megs to daemon protection. Sentry uses resources only when connections are made.
Once an IP is blacklisted for abuse, whether by tcpd or a firewall, the resources it can consume are practically
Latest changelog sentry v1.05 2016-12-29:
– make new sshd error ‘maximum authentication attempts exceeded for root’ a naughy condition.
– improve the –update function
Installation from source:
bash || sh
curl -O $SENTRY_URL || wget $SENTRY_URL || fetch --no-verify-peer $SENTRY_URL
perl sentry.pl --update
diff sentry.pl /var/db/sentry/sentry.pl
resolve any configuration differences
cp sentry.pl /var/db/sentry/sentry.pl
chmod 755 /var/db/sentry/sentry.pl