To prevent brute force attacks against ssh I've added some iptables rules (below). The question is: How can I list the blocked IP addresses?

iptables -A INPUT -i eth0 -p tcp --dport 22 -m state --state NEW -m recent --set --name SSH
iptables -A INPUT -i eth0 -p tcp --dport 22 -m state --state NEW -m recent --update --seconds 60 --hitcount 8 --rttl --name SSH -j DROP

6 Answers 6


One option would be to log any of your dropped packets with a rule like:

iptables -A INPUT -i eth0 -p tcp --dport 22 -m state --state NEW -m recent --update --seconds 60 --hitcount 8 --rttl -j LOG --log-prefix "FW_DROPPED: "

Insert that immediately before the DROP rule. Then, you can grep the syslog file for anything with "FW_DROPPED" in it and the list of IPs will be there. The entries in the log file look something like this:

Jun  3 08:05:57 some-machine kernel: [15852451.420557] FW_DROPPED: IN=eth0 OUT= MAC=00:50:ba:4a:d9:e3:00:12:17:3a:e3:64:08:00 SRC= DST= LEN=48 TOS=0x00 PREC=0x00 TTL=106 ID=10941 PROTO=TCP SPT=58212 DPT=22 WINDOW=65535 RES=0x00 SYN URGP=0

So, snipping out what follows "SRC=" will show you the dropped IPs. Sort that, eliminating duplicates, and you'll have your list.

I've found the Iptables Tutorial to be the most useful documentation for iptables/netfilter.

  • Yes, this is the way to do it.
    – Brent
    Jun 3, 2009 at 16:18
  • 1
    This would require you to duplicate your rules as you don't log and drop in the same rule. Jun 3, 2009 at 16:23
  • 4
    It would be even better if he creates a user chain where he logs and drops the offending packets. By doing this, unnecessarily duplication is removed. It can be done like this: iptables -N attacks; iptables -A INPUT -i eth0 -p tcp --dport 22 -m state --state NEW -m recent --update --seconds 60 --hitcount 8 --rttl --name SSH -j attacks; iptables -A attacks -j LOG --log-prefix "FW_DROPPED: "; iptables -A attacks -j DROP Jun 3, 2009 at 17:00
  • 1
    Agreed. Tables/chains are the way to go; the whole point of iptables, really. I create separate tables for accepted, silently dropped, audibly rejected, discarded, suspected floods, illegal, suspected probes, suspected scans, unknown types, and watched traffic. My FWs are based on this old script (warning: self-promotion): code.google.com/p/klondike-firewall/source/browse/trunk/…
    – yukondude
    Jun 3, 2009 at 17:27
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    The ipt_recent module that ipozgaj and David Pashley referenced is a pretty nifty addition, although it can't provide the same fine-grained reason a particular IP was dropped (as you can with different --log-prefix settings) or keep track of a long history of attacks with timestamps. Definitely a good idea to use both techniques in concert though.
    – yukondude
    Jun 3, 2009 at 19:00

You can find details under /proc/net/ipt_recent/SSH.

This article has more information.

  • This article does not seem to exist anymore. Nov 17, 2019 at 23:17
  • 1
    On newer kernels, this is /proc/net/xt_recent/SSH Apr 9, 2020 at 7:28

Look at


where YOURNAME is the name you used with --name option in your iptables rule.

  • On some distros (e.g. Debian), the valid path is: /proc/net/xt_recent/[list-name]
    – itachi
    Mar 9, 2017 at 10:40

Here is a simple one liner:

$ iptables -L -n --line

What I do, for example for input address spoofing, is to define the chain SPOOF_REJECT:

iptables -N SPOOF_REJECT
iptables -A SPOOF_REJECT -j LOG --log-prefix "Input spoof detected: "

then to send packets to this chain if they are spoofed:

iptables -A INPUT -i $EXT_DEV1 -s $INT_NET -j SPOOF_REJECT
iptables -A INPUT -i $EXT_DEV2 -s $INT_NET -j SPOOF_REJECT

You could do something like this for each category of packets you drop or reject to get a line in the syslog to look for, then periodically grep, cut, sort, to get just the IP addresses from these log lines.

The benefit to using individual chains for each category is that your configuration gets more straightforward and it gets easier to read your iptables configuration. As you add more and more rules, you'll be glad that you used individual chains for specific different actions.

  • How exactly, do you detect spoofed packets? In my experience this is impossible in the general case.
    – MarkR
    Jun 3, 2009 at 20:25
  • The above is just an example. Here, I'm looking for any packet arriving at the INPUT chain that is coming from an external device yet claims to come from an IP address internal to my network. In this case, I can absolutely detect address spoofing, but yes, in the general case things are different.
    – Eddie
    Jun 4, 2009 at 2:22

"The question is: How can I list the blocked IP addresses?"

Create a BANNED chain:

iptables -N BANNED
iptables -F BANNED

Create a logging chain:

iptables -N BANNEDLOG
iptables -F BANNEDLOG
iptables -A BANNEDLOG -j LOG --log-prefix "BANNED:" --log-level 6
iptables -A BANNEDLOG -j DROP

Add jump to banned chain in the INPUT chain before most other rules

iptables -A INPUT -j BANNED

Now add ipaddresses to the banned chain:

flock -w 5 /var/lock/iptables -c 'iptables -A BANNED -s -i eth0 -m comment --comment "2012-03-19 23:49:33 accesslog" -j BANNEDLOG'

You can also use it like a database with the comment options, so you can know when and why etc. flock is important when iptables is being frequently updated by many processes - it appears that iptables doesn't have any locking built in to it.

To view the banned addresses and rules in the banned chain:

iptables -S BANNED

To view just sorted unique ipaddresses:

iptables -S BANNED | egrep -o '[0-9]+\.[0-9]+\.[0-9]+\.[0-9]+' | sort -u

I have a number of daemons running on my servers checking the syslog files and weblogs, so if anything nasty is being attempted by anyone, their address is automatically banned for a few days, depending on type and severity and number of previous attacks. The info is logged into a mysql database, and periodically expired. The addresses are also distributed to every other machine in the cluster over mysql replication so they are also protected and keep in sync. My software also looks up the owner of the network and mails a complaint to the ISP.

After 10 years of work, I hope to make it available for everyone to use soon. I currently have about 1.5 million ip address histories and hundreds of thousands of mail and ssh attacks reported, helping to clean the net. If more would use it then I hope it would have more impact.

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