Script help needed please

Jack L. Stone jackstone at
Thu Aug 14 12:32:32 PDT 2003

At 10:36 AM 8.14.2003 -0500, Jack L. Stone wrote:
>At 03:44 PM 8.14.2003 +0100, Jez Hancock wrote:
>>On Thu, Aug 14, 2003 at 08:49:49AM -0500, Jack L. Stone wrote:
>>> Server Version: Apache/1.3.27 (Unix) FrontPage/ PHP/4.3.1
>>> The above is typical of the servers in use, and with csh shells employed,
>>> plus IPFW.
>>> My apologies for the length of this question, but the background seems
>>> necessary as brief as I can make it so the question makes sense.
>>> The problem:
>>> We have several servers that provide online reading of Technical articles
>>> and each have several hundred MB to a GB of content.
>>> When we started providing the articles 6-7 years ago, folks used browsers
>>> to read the articles. Now, the trend has become a more lazy approach and
>>> there is an increasing use of those download utilities which can be left
>>> unattended to download entire web sites taking several hours to do so.
>>> Multiply this by a number of similar downloads and there goes the
>>> bandwidth, denying those other normal online readers the speed needed for
>>> loading and browsing in the manner intended. Several hundred will be
>>> reading at a time and several 1000 daily.
>>There is no easy solution to this, but one avenue might be to look at
>>bandwidth throttling in an apache module.
>>One that I've used before is mod_throttle which is in the ports:
>>which allows you to throttle users by ip address to a certain number of
>>documents and/or up to a certain transfer limit.  IIRC it's fairly
>>limited though in that you can only apply per IP limits to _every_
>>virtual host - ie in the global httpd.conf context.
>>A more finegrained solution (from what I've read, haven't tried it) is
>>mod_bwshare - this one isn't in the ports but can be found here:
>>this module overcomes some of the shortfalls of mod_throttle and allows
>>you to specify finer granularity over who consumes how much bandwidth
>>over what time period.
>>> Now, my question: Is it possible to write a script that can constantly
>>> the Apache logs to look for certain footprints of those downloaders,
>>> perhaps the names, like "HTTRACK", being one I see a lot. Whenever I see
>>> one of those sessions, I have been able to abort them by adding a rule to
>>> the firewall to deny the IP address access to the server. This aborts the
>>> downloading, but have seen the attempts constantly continue for a day or
>>> two, confirming unattended downloads.
>>> Thus, if the script could spot an "offender" and then perhaps make use of
>>> the firewall to add a rule containing the offender's IP address and then
>>> flush to reset the firewall, this would at least abort the download and
>>> free up the bandwidth (I already have a script that restarts the
>>> Is this possible and how would I go about it....???
>>If you really wanted to go down this route then I found a script someone
>>wrote a while back to find 'rude robots' from a httpd logfile which you
>>could perhaps adapt to do dynamic filtering in conjunction with your
>>If you have any success let me know.
>Interesting. Looks like a step in the right direction. Will weigh this one
>among the possibilities.
>Many thanks...!
>Best regards,
>Jack L. Stone,

Want to thank all that replied. Since this post for help, I noticed another
post about a log monitoring program "Swatch" which resides in

I did a test install of Swatch and was quite excited about its ability as
simple as the program is. It worked immediately to send me alarm(s)
(adjustable) that one of the download utilities "HTTrack" was on the
attack. And, I do mean bells went off and emails were shot to me
immediately for each attack session (not really attacks of course, but does
suck out the server's energy).

Now, I at least have a tool that will keep a vigilent watch for me and I
don't have to wait until the server slows down to realize we have a problem.

Now2 -- if I can just find a way to connect the alarm from Swatch to
somehow abort the session(s). This little program does indeed have some
more line commands that can be entered into the config file. Maybe I am 75%
of the way along.....

Best regards,
Jack L. Stone,

SageOne Net
jackstone at

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