Firewall Rule for unused file types using Regex

Here is a question about Firewall rules that use Match Regex. This is for Enterprise customers who want a simple way to block requests for file types that your website does not use.

We have a number of robots who request files trying to obtain information from our websites that might have been left “unprotected”. They request hundreds of .tar or .7z files with a variety of names. They request executable files that we do not furnish like .exe or .dll or even .cgi.

There is not a lot of information documented on Regular Expressions in the Cloudflare documentation, so let me share with you two very helpful links. Documentation on Regular Expressions is available here:

Even better is a testing tool found here. I like this tool in particular because it allows you to asses how simple or complex your regular expression is from a runtime performance perspective. You want your regular expression to execute as quickly as possible! See this tool:

What we have tried to do is block many of the most popular requested file types that our sites do not furnish. We have a Firewall rule that blocks

URI Matches .+\.(exe|dll|cgi|tar|7z|rar|gz|sql|bck|bak|bz2|tgz)$

or equivalently:

(http.request.uri matches “.+\\.(exe|dll|cgi|tar|7z|rar|gz|sql|bck|bak|bz2|tgz)$”)

But this does not actually work! Do you have any suggestions?


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Hi @rongordon,

Thanks for the tip, great idea! I get many, many such requests, which are often caught by different other rules, but this one has a sharper focus on this specific type of request.

Actually your tip may also benefit users with a Business Plan, as it also allows for Regex matches in Firewall Rules.

If I may suggest an improvement, I think your idea would work best if you use the field http.request.uri.path, instead of http.request.uri, as this may include a query string. From the Firewall Rules help page:

Field name Type Example value Notes
http.request.full_uri String htt­ps:// The full URI as received by the web server (does not include #fragment which is not sent to web servers)
http.request.uri String /articles/index?section=539061&expand=comments The absolute URI of the request
http.request.uri.path String /articles/index The path of the request

Also, one nice feature of Firewall Rules is that if you click on Edit expression you can add the lower() function, so that the requested path will be converted to lowercase before the match is done. This way, attackers using uppercase will not be able to bypass the rule:

(lower(http.request.uri.path) matches ".+.(exe|dll|cgi|tar|7z|rar|gz|sql|bck|bak|bz2|tgz)$")

Again, thank you for the tip!

Sorry, @floripare I spoke too soon. On further testing my rule actually does not work!
Something must be wrong with my regex but I cannot see what.
I did adjust my rule to use http.request.uri.path and the lower() function. Both make sense. But requests like still come through! Can you help please?

It’s working here!

Perhaps you have either a Firewall Rule or an IP Access Rule whitelisting your IP?

Also, I edited the rule to include a backslash before the dot:

(lower(http.request.uri.path) matches ".+\.(exe|dll|cgi|tar|7z|rar|gz|sql|bck|bak|bz2|tgz)$")
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OK! I have it working here.

I could not use the simple Expression Builder. Instead, I had to code it explicitly as
(http.request.uri.path matches “.+\.(exe|dll|cgi|tar|7z|rar|gz|sql|bck|bak|bz2|tgz)$”)

When using the simple Expression Builder, I could not get it to properly use just one backslash between the + and the . in the expression above.

This does not work:

This works:

And yes, in the final implementation I did use lower(http.request.uri.path)
Thanks for that tip!

1 Like

The escaping of the escaping backslash is a known, yet unfixed, issue.

Also, you wouldnt need the .+.

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