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Appsec rules syntax

CrowdSec AppSec rules

Rules are the core of the AppSec Component. They are used to detect and block attacks.

There are 2 types of rules:

  • In-band rules are evaluated synchronously and will block the processing of the request until they are evaluated thus allowing a real-time remediation
  • Out-band rules Out-band rules are dealt with asynchronously and will not delay the processing of the request. They won't allow remediation at first sight but are very useful for handling expensive evaluations or as part of a more complex detection logic (eg, blocking an exploit that spans multiple requests).

In-band rules and out-band rules differ slightly in their default behavior when a rule matches:

  • When an in-band rule matches:
    • an alert is created inside CrowdSec: allowing immediate and long-term remediation against the offending IP.
    • Note: No event will be generated by default.
  • When an out-band rule matches
    • An event will be generated and sent through the normal parsers/scenarios pipeline, allowing the detection of more complex behaviors.
    • Note: no alert will be generated from this out-band rule only, the parsers/scenarios pipeline is responsible for raising alerts from processed events

Rules File Format

The rule files share some common directives with the scenarios:

  • a name and description
  • a rules section describing the rule to match the HTTP request
  • a label section
name: crowdsecurity/example-rule
description: "Detect example pattern"
- zones:
- lowercase
type: contains
value: this-is-a-appsec-rule-test
type: exploit
service: http
behavior: "http:exploit"
confidence: 3
spoofable: 0
label: "A good description of the rule"
- cve.CVE-xxxx-xxxxx
- attack.Txxxx

The rules contain one or more conditions that can be linked together by an operator (or/and). Each condition contains:



The target allows to specify which part of the requests needs to be inspected. You can have more than one.

  • (mandatory) zones one or more of:
    • ARGS: Query string parameters
    • ARGS_NAMES: Name of the query string parameters
    • BODY_ARGS: Body args
    • BODY_ARGS_NAMES: Name of the body args
    • HEADERS: HTTP headers sent in the request
    • HEADERS_NAMES: Name of the HTTP headers sent in the request
    • METHOD: HTTP method of the request
    • PROTOCOL: HTTP protocol used in the query (HTTP/1.0, HTTP/1.1, ...)
    • URI: The URI of the request
    • RAW_BODY: The entire body of the request
    • FILENAMES: The name of the files sent in the request
  • (optional) variables containing one or more variable names to restrict the matching operation to (only relevant for ARGS, BODY_ARGS and HEADERS)
#match only in 'foo' and 'bar' query string parameters
- zones:
- foo
- bar
#match in any args or part of the URI
- zones:



Match provides the pattern to match the target against, including optional transformations.

  • (mandatory) match containing both:

    • (mandatory) type indicates the matching method, one of:

      • regex: matches target against value (value is a RE2 regexp)
      • equals: target is a string equal to value
      • startsWith: target starts with value
      • endsWith: target ends with value
      • contains: target contains value
      • libinjectionSQL: target is detected by lib injection SQL
      • libinjectionXSS: target is detected by lib injection XSS
      • gt: target is greater than value
      • lt: target is lower than value
      • gte: target is greater or equal to value
      • lte: target is lower or equal to value
    • (mandatory) value a string that is compared to the target

  • (optional) transform section, containing one or more operations that will be applied on target before performing the match operation:

    • lowercase
    • uppercase
    • b64decode : base64 decode
    • hexdecode : hex decode
    • length : transform target to a number representing the string's length
# we want the query parameter foo to be equal to 'toto'
- zones:
- foo
type: equal
value: toto
# we want URI to contain any variation of 'blah' (ie. blah BLah BlAH ...)
- zones:
- uppercase
type: contains
value: BLAH

Seclang Support

In order to support your existing/legacy rules set, CrowdSec's AppSec Component is also able to load rules in the seclang format (ModSecurity rules).

We recommend using this format only to use existing rules you may have.

ModSecurity syntax support is provided by coraza, and the reference documentation is available here.

There are 2 ways to provide crowdsec with seclang rules:

  • Provide rules directly by using the seclang_rules parameter in your rule file
  • Provide a file containing the rules by using the seclang_rules_file parameter in your rule file. The file must be located inside CrowdSec data directory

The default paths for the data directory per OS:

  • Linux: /var/lib/crowdsec/data
  • Freebsd: /var/db/crowdsec/data
  • Windows: C:\programdata\crowdsec\data
name: example/secrules
- SecRule ARGS:ip ";" "t:none,log,deny,msg:'semi colon test',id:2"
- my-rule-file.conf