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My server occasionally get massively hit by (probably bots) on a small group of IPs. Is there a good way (probably in iptables) to slow down or temporarily block/tarpit connections coming from an IP that has connected many times recently?

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Yes, iptables supports this kind of dynamic rate limiting.

See here for details: http://codingfreak.blogspot.com/2010/01/iptables-rate-limit-incoming.html

  • Hmm... it seems that I cannot set a --hitcount over 20... that's not very useful in this case. Is there a way around that? – singpolyma Dec 20 '11 at 16:09
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Maybe denyhosts would be a useful tool for you.

  • I'm using denyhosts already for ssh traffic, yes :) – singpolyma Dec 20 '11 at 16:08
  • Denyhosts needs an auth log to read... These are not failures of any kind, just DNS queries. – adaptr Dec 20 '11 at 16:10

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