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SpiderLabs Blog

ModSecurity 2.2.0 Development Releases

Hello all. As this is my first official blog entry, let me first start off with a short introduction...

My name is Brian Rectanus (pronounced rec-tan-us, for those curious). As some of you may already know, I was hired by Breach Security, Inc. in February as the primary ModSecurity developer. So far, I have worked on mainly bug-fixes and smaller features in the ModSecurity 1.9.x and 2.1.x branches, but most of my time is being spent on the upcoming version 2.2.0 release. My PGP key for verifying archive signatures can be found on most any PGP keyserver (

With 2.2.0, Ivan and I will be periodically releasing a development branch that is a stabilized version of the main ModSecurity development branch. This is partially so that users can have access to new features sooner, but is primarily meant to be a means to allow the ModSecurity community to become more involved in the future of ModSecurity as well as to keep ModSecurity as stable as possible for official releases. With the development releases, users will have a chance to preview upcoming changes and provide valuable feedback to the developers before changes, features, configuration syntax, etc. become finalized.

Typically there will be 3-4 development releases followed by release candidates, then a final release. Each development release will enhance upon the previous by adding more features and changes. Once Ivan and I are happy with the changes, I will close the branch to new features and start the release candidates -- with only bug fixes and minor changes -- until the code is stabilized. At that point I will release the final version.

With that, I am happy to announce the general availability of the first development release for ModSecurity version 2.2.0. The source code is available in the download section of the ModSecurity Website. Below is an outline of the new features and changes in this release so far. Please see the documentation included in the release for full details and usage examples. Please direct any comments to the ModSecurity User Support mailing list.

Changes since version 2.1.1

  • Experimental support for content injection. You can use @prepend value and @append value to inject content into the output.
  • PDF XSS protection added. Ivan is giving a talk on this at OWASP in Milan this week.
  • Geographical lookups by IP address/hostname were added. With this you can access the country, city, postal code, etc. -- within a new GEO collection -- from any existing ModSecurity variable by using the new @geoLookup operator.
  • String comparison operators -- @streq, @beginsWith and @endsWith -- to allow an easier-to-use non-regular expression operator. Values will have macros interpreted prior to a match, so that you can do "@streq %{REMOTE_ADDR}", etc.
  • A length transformation -- t:length -- transforms a value into a numeric character length.
  • Whitespace trimming transformations are now available. Use t:trimLeft, t:trimRight or t:trim to trim whitespace from the left, right or both, respectively.
  • Added the filename and line number of the rule to the debug log on its execution. I will add it to the audit log in the next development release.
  • Removed support for CGI style HTTP_HEADER_NAME variables for request headers. The 2.x REQUEST_HEADERS:Header-Name should now be used.
  • Removed support for %0 - %9 TX variables that expanded to numbered captures. Use %{TX.0} - %{TX.9} instead.
  • Various other bug fixes and smaller changes. See the CHANGES file in the release for more details.

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