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My VPS has around 3% CPU load, which is probably caused by sshd: unknown [net] and sshd: [accepted] commands appearing around once per second and quickly disappearing in htop.

Does it mean somebody is trying to bruteforce my password? What do I do about it?

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Try looking at your logs. – Michael Hampton Mar 9 '13 at 11:08
Yep, they're bruteforcing based on dictionary :( – Alexei Averchenko Mar 9 '13 at 11:11
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Check your /var/log/auth.log you should see a high number of failed attempts if someone is trying to attack you. It's commonly known as Internet Background noise.

You can install a a host based intrusion detection system like OSSEC and enable the active response to temporarily block offending IP addresses.

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root 5277 1.0 0.0 72228 3488 ? Ss 08:39 0:00 sshd: root [priv] sshd 5278 0.0 0.0 51472 1432 ? S 08:39 0:00 sshd: root [net], Does this mean some gained access to server? – Sai Jan 20 '15 at 14:41
  1. Check your /var/log/auth.log
  2. Install fail2ban and autoban ssh bruteforcers. You can edit /etc/fail2ban/jail.conf:

    enabled = true
    port    = 22
    filter  = sshd
    logpath  = /var/log/auth.log
    bantime = -1
    maxretry = 5
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