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Web Application Firewall Concepts

I went through all my ModSecurity Blog posts yesterday, partly to admire myself for blogging consistently for almost 5 years and partly to understand what is that I talked about during this time. While I knew that most of my posts were pretty technical (after all, I did start my new blog to focus on other things) imagine my surprise when I realised I didn't properly cover the one thing this blog is supposed to cover: web application firewalls! The emphasize is on the word "properly": I provided a great deal of technical information but not enough content that would explain why one would deploy a web application firewall and how. This stuff had went into my conference talks and the Web Application Firewall Evaluation Criteria project, but I forgot to discuss the topics here. In an effort to fix this I am starting a series of blog posts called Web Application Firewall Concepts. Each post will be reasonably brief and cover one aspect of the technology, and I will continually update this post to serve as a table of contents. Posts in this series:

  1. Use Cases
    1. Web intrusion detection and prevention
    2. Continuous Security Assessment
    3. Virtual (or just-in-time) patching
    4. HTTP traffic logging and monitoring
    5. Learning
    6. Web application hardening
  2. Deployment models
    1. Inline
    2. Out of line
    3. Embedded
  3. Data Model
    1. Model construction
    2. Persisting information across requests
    3. Distinguishing sessions
    4. Distinguishing users
  4. Analysis Model
    1. Negative security
    2. Positive security
    3. Anomaly scoring
    4. Learning
    5. Evasion
    6. Impedance mismatch
  5. Traffic logging
  6. Special protection techniques
    1. Cookie protection
    2. Cross-Site Request Forgery
    3. Brute force attacks
    4. Denial of Service attacks
    5. PDF UXSS protection