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A Rack middleware IP filter that uses Http:BL to exclude suspicious robots.


>= 0
 Project Readme

HttpBL is drop-in IP-filtering middleware for Rails 2.3+ and other Rack-based 
applications. It resolves information about each request's source IP address 
from the Http:BL service at, and denies access to
clients whose IP addresses are associated with suspicious behavior like impolite
crawling, comment-spamming, dictionary attacks, and email-harvesting.

	*	Deny access to IP addresses that are associated with suspicious 
		behavior which exceeds a customizable threshold.
	*	Expire blocked IPs that have not been associated with suspicious
		behavior after a customizable period of days.
	* 	Identify common search engines by IP address (not User-Agent), and
		disallow access to a specific subset.
	*	Optionally use memcached to avoid repeated look-ups per client-session


	gem install httpbl
Basic Usage

HttpBL is Rack middleware, and can be used with any Rack-based application. First,
you must obtain an API key for the Http:BL service at

To add HttpBL to your middleware stack, simply add the following to

	require 'httpbl'
	use HttpBL, :api_key => "YOUR API KEY"
For Rails 2.3+ add the following to environment.rb:
	require 'httpbl'
	config.middleware.use HttpBL, :api_key => "YOUR API KEY"
Advanced Usage

To insert HttpBL at the top of the Rails rackstack:
	(use 'rake middleware' to confirm that Rack::Lock is at the top of the stack)
	config.middleware.insert_before(Rack::Lock, HttpBL, :api_key => "YOUR API KEY")
To customize HttpBL's filtering behavior, use the available options:

	use HttpBL, :api_key => "YOUR API KEY",
				:deny_types => [1, 2, 4],
				:threat_level_threshold => 0,
				:age_threshold => 5,
				:blocked_search_engines => [0],
				:memcached_server => "",
				:memcached_options => {see: memcache-client documentation}

Available Options:

The following options (shown with default values) are available to 
customize the behavior of the httpbl middleware filter:

	:deny_types => [1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128]
		Project Honeypot classifies suspicious behavior as belonging to
		certain types, which are identified in the API's response to
		each IP lookup. You can tell HttpBL to only deny certain kinds
		of behavior by changing this to a subset of those possible.
		As of March 2009, only types 1, 2, and 4 have been specified,
		but additional types are reserved for the future and HttpBL checks
		against all of the anticipated type codes by default.  Thus, 
		there may be a very small performance advantage to setting
		:deny_types => [1, 2, 4] simply to exclude checks for codes 
		that aren't (yet) being used; however, this will have to be 
		updated if more codes come into use, whereas the default 
		requires no further attention.
		The current types are:
			1: Suspicious
			2: Harvester
			4: Comment Spammer
	:threat_level_threshold => 2
		The threat level reported by Project Honeypot is based on a 
		logarithmic scale, approximated by:
			1: 1 spam
			25: 100 spam
			50: 10,000 spam
			100: 1,000,000 spam.
		in which spam is pronounced spam even in the plural.
		Choosing a threat level threshold can be tricky business if
		one isn't sure how accurate the measure of threat is, since it 
		would be improper to block legitimate traffic by mistake. Because
		the email addresses that Project Honeypot uses as spam-bait are unique,
		artificial, and well-hidden, NO email should be sent to those addresses
		at all, and it is fair to assume that even the low threat level 
		associated with just a few spam is still significant.
		With that in mind, the default threshold is 2; if you want to
		filter more aggressively, set :threat_level_threshold => 0
	:age_threshold => 10
		This sets the number of days that IP addresses that have been
		associated with suspicous activity must wait to regain access after
		the suspicious activity has ceased. Keeping this at a sane value will
		allow IPs that are reassigned or cleaned up to expire from the blacklist.
		If you want to be more aggressive (require a longer cool-off-period),
		set :age_threshold => 30; if you want to let IPs back in after just a
		few days, set :age_threshold => 5
	:blocked_search_engines => []
		Because Project Honeypot identifies search engine traffic by IP
		address, this filter may be used to exclude certain robots from your
		site. If one presumes that request-IPs are at least marginally more
		difficult to spoof than User-Agent strings, this filter may be marginally
		more effective than some other robot detection systems.
		If there are particular search engines that you would like to exclude
		from your site, set :blocked_search_engines => [0, ... ] where the codes
		defined by are:
			0: Undocumented
			1: AltaVista	
			2: Ask
			3: Baidu
			4: Excite
			5: Google
			6: Looksmart
			7: Lycos
			8: MSN
			9: Yahoo
			10: Cuil
			11: InfoSeek
			12: Miscellaneous
	:memcached_server => nil
	:memcached_options => {}
		When using httpbl in a production environment, it is *strongly* recommended
		that you configure httpbl to use memcached to temporarily store the blacklist
		status of client ip addresses.  This greatly enhances the efficiency of the
		filter because it need only look up each client ip address once per session,
		instead of once per request.  It also reduces the potential burden of a 
		popular web application that uses httpbl on project honeypot's api services.
		Simply set :memcached_server and :memcached_options according to the 
		conventions of the memcache-client ruby library; for example:
		:memcached_server => '', :memcached_options => {:namespace => 'my_app'}
		memcache-client is included in rails by default, but if you're using rack 
		without rails, you will need to install and require the memcache-client gem. 
	:dns_timeout => 0.5
		DNS requests to the Http:BL service shouldn't take this long, but if
		they do, you can modify this setting to prevent the request from 
		hanging until a system default timeout.  Of course, setting this timeout 
		too low will essentially disable the filter (but 0 is a bad idea), if responses
		can't be returned from the API before the request is permitted.  
		Best not to mess with it unless you know what you're doing - it's a safety