How to install and configure Nginx ModSecurity on CentOS 9 Stream

How to install and configure Nginx ModSecurity on CentOS Stream 9

ModSecurity is an open source and great module to securing sites around the world.

ModSecurity protects against Layer 7 attacks.

It will prevent SQL injection (SQLi), local file inclusion (LFI), and cross‑site scripting (XSS).

There are repository from, however now they activated subscriptions.

You have a choice use their subscription for 10 USD a month per server or compile it your self.

This article write using official Nginx repository, latest stable version is 1.25.0.

Also Read: How to install and configure Nginx ModSecurity on CentOS 7

How to install ModSecurity

Below is how to compile and install Nginx ModSecurity on CentOS Stream 9

dnf groupinstall "Development Tools"
dnf --enablerepo=crb install gcc-c++ flex bison yajl yajl-devel curl-devel curl GeoIP-devel doxygen zlib-devel
dnf --enablerepo=crb install lmdb lmdb-devel libxml2 libxml2-devel ssdeep ssdeep-devel lua lua-devel pcre-devel
cd /usr/src/
git clone --depth 1 -b v3/master --single-branch
cd ModSecurity/
git submodule init
git submodule update
make install

If you see error message fatal: No names found, cannot describe anything.”, you can ignore it.

ModSecurity will be installed on /usr/local/modsecurity

Compile and Install Nginx ModSecurity on CentOS 9 Stream

Now you need to clone ModSecurity-nginx and compile as dynamic module.

cd /usr/src
git clone --depth 1

First, check your Nginx version with command below:

nginx -V

Example output:

# nginx -V
nginx version: nginx/1.25.0
built by gcc 11.3.1 20220421 (Red Hat 11.3.1-2) (GCC)
built with OpenSSL 3.0.8+quic 7 Feb 2023 (running with OpenSSL 3.0.9+quic 30 May 2023)
TLS SNI support enabled
configure arguments: --prefix=/etc/nginx --sbin-path=/usr/sbin/nginx --modules-path=/usr/lib64/nginx/modules --conf-path=/etc/nginx/nginx.conf --error-log-path=/var/log/nginx/error.log --http-log-path=/var/log/nginx/access.log --pid-path=/var/run/ --lock-path=/var/run/nginx.lock --http-client-body-temp-path=/var/cache/nginx/client_temp --http-proxy-temp-path=/var/cache/nginx/proxy_temp --http-fastcgi-temp-path=/var/cache/nginx/fastcgi_temp --http-uwsgi-temp-path=/var/cache/nginx/uwsgi_temp --http-scgi-temp-path=/var/cache/nginx/scgi_temp --user=nginx --group=nginx --with-compat --with-file-aio --with-threads --with-http_addition_module --with-http_auth_request_module --with-http_dav_module --with-http_flv_module --with-http_gunzip_module --with-http_gzip_static_module --with-http_mp4_module --with-http_random_index_module --with-http_realip_module --with-http_secure_link_module --with-http_slice_module --with-http_ssl_module --with-http_stub_status_module --with-http_sub_module --with-http_v2_module --with-http_v3_module --with-mail --with-mail_ssl_module --with-stream --with-stream_realip_module --with-stream_ssl_module --with-stream_ssl_preread_module --add-module=/home/builder/rpmbuild/BUILD/nginx-1.25.0/ngx_brotli --add-module=/home/builder/rpmbuild/BUILD/nginx-1.25.0/ngx_cache_purge-2.3 --add-module=/home/builder/rpmbuild/BUILD/nginx-1.25.0/ngx_http_geoip2_module-3.4 --with-http_v3_module --with-cc-opt='-O2 -flto=auto -ffat-lto-objects -fexceptions -g -grecord-gcc-switches -pipe -Wall -Werror=format-security -Wp,-D_FORTIFY_SOURCE=2 -Wp,-D_GLIBCXX_ASSERTIONS -specs=/usr/lib/rpm/redhat/redhat-hardened-cc1 -fstack-protector-strong -specs=/usr/lib/rpm/redhat/redhat-annobin-cc1 -m64 -march=x86-64-v2 -mtune=generic -fasynchronous-unwind-tables -fstack-clash-protection -fcf-protection -fPIC' --with-ld-opt='-Wl,-z,relro -Wl,-z,now -pie'

Now you need to download Nginx source, depend on your Nginx version.

In this example is Nginx 1.25.0

cd /usr/src
tar zxvf nginx-1.25.0.tar.gz
cd nginx-1.25.0
./configure --with-compat --add-dynamic-module=../ModSecurity-nginx
make modules
cp objs/ /etc/nginx/modules
cp /usr/src/ModSecurity/modsecurity.conf-recommended /etc/nginx/modsecurity.conf
cp /usr/src/ModSecurity/unicode.mapping /etc/nginx/unicode.mapping

Compiled Nginx ModSecurity located in objs.

Enable SecRuleEngine, edit /etc/nginx/modsecurity.conf and change configuration below:

SecRuleEngine DetectionOnly
SecRuleEngine On

Configure Nginx to use ModSecurity module on CentOS 9 Stream

To load ModSecurity on Nginx, edit /etc/nginx/nginx.conf and add this code in top of configuration.

error_log  /var/log/nginx/error.log warn;
pid        /var/run/;

load_module modules/;

And add configuration of Mod Security on your server block with this code:

server {
	modsecurity on;
	modsecurity_rules_file /etc/nginx/modsec_includes.conf;

Get OWASP ModSecurity Core Rule Set (CRS) from or

cd /etc/nginx
mv owasp-modsecurity-crs-3.2.0 owasp-modsecurity-crs
cp owasp-modsecurity-crs/crs-setup.conf.example owasp-modsecurity-crs/crs-setup.conf

Create /etc/nginx/modsec_includes.conf and add code below

include modsecurity.conf
include /etc/nginx/owasp-modsecurity-crs/crs-setup.conf
include /etc/nginx/owasp-modsecurity-crs/rules/*.conf

# Additional custom rules here, example disable Mod Security Rule on RSS URL
SecRule REQUEST_URI "@beginsWith /rss/" "phase:1,t:none,pass,id:'26091902',nolog,ctl:ruleRemoveById=200002"

Check your Nginx configuration with command below:

nginx -t
nginx: the configuration file /etc/nginx/nginx.conf syntax is ok
nginx: configuration file /etc/nginx/nginx.conf test is successful

If no problem, restart nginx with command:

systemctl restart nginx

Testing Nginx ModSecurity

Check on your rules for blacklist user agent, for Comodo rules is bl_agents

curl -I -H "User-Agent: floodgate"

Example response:

# curl -I -H "User-Agent: floodgate"
HTTP/1.1 403 Forbidden
Server: nginx
Date: Sat, 26 Oct 2019 18:07:01 GMT
Content-Type: text/html
Content-Length: 146
Connection: keep-alive

If the respons is forbidden, your Nginx ModSecurity is working.

Don’t forget to check /var/log/modsec/audit.log there is many rules is false positive.

Example, OWASP ModSecurity Core Rule Set rules will block your WordPress admin post.



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