Specific text causes 403 error when posting.

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jefmcg
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Specific text causes 403 error when posting.

Post by jefmcg » Mon Jul 01, 2019 4:08 pm

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Please describe your problem. I was creating a topic with a slightly satirical tone. The text content was

"https://www.cyclinguk.org/womensfestival

Anyone want to kick of a discussion about how this affects transgender and intersexed, or when the Men's Festival of Cycling is?"

And the title: "July is Women's Festival Of Cycling - um - Month!"

Every time I tried to submit it, I got a 403 error. I trimmed the text down to just the URL, and it posted fine. I went to edit it back to my original text, and I got a 403 error again when I hit submit. But I was able to split the contents across two posts, and then it worked fine.

It's just bizarre.

I can set up an account where you can play with it, if that is needed.

Here's the thread: https://cyclingrelated.uk/viewtopic.php ... 97&p=11552
Generated by SRT Generator

Notes: if I reply to any thread using just the text above, I get a 403 error. There is nothing in the phpBB error logs, and the only thing in the server error logs is repeated " File not found [/home/cyclingrelated/public_html/403.shtml]"

Thanks

jefmcg
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Re: Specific text causes 403 error when posting.

Post by jefmcg » Mon Jul 01, 2019 4:08 pm

https://www.cyclinguk.org/womensfestival

Anyone want to kick of a discussion about how this affects transgender and intersexed, or when the Men's Festival of Cycling is?
---------------------------------------------------
Edit: just checking the bug didn't occur here. It doesn't so it's specific to my server.

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Re: Specific text causes 403 error when posting.

Post by Brf » Mon Jul 01, 2019 4:16 pm

This type of error is almost always because of your host's mod_security rules. You would need to contact them about removing whatever rule is causing the error.

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Re: Specific text causes 403 error when posting.

Post by Lumpy Burgertushie » Mon Jul 01, 2019 4:20 pm

and to find it, post half of the contents. check it, if it works then post the other half. then post half of that, etc. etc. until you find the exact word or phrase that is triggereing the 403 then you can tell your host exactly what is triggering the mod security on the server.


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Re: Specific text causes 403 error when posting.

Post by Brf » Mon Jul 01, 2019 4:24 pm

Some of the blocked words are pretty innocuous.
I remember once an animal lover's board that was having problems posting the word "cat".

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Re: Specific text causes 403 error when posting.

Post by jefmcg » Mon Jul 01, 2019 4:38 pm

Thanks for the replies. It's not a word or phrase, it's the combination. if I put the URL in one post and the comment below it in a second post, then I don't get an error.

I have a reseller account, so I think I control modsecurity etc. What should I be looking for?

Note: There are around 10,000 on the site, and a lot of "bad" words - I don't like censorship. No one has experienced this problem before.

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Re: Specific text causes 403 error when posting.

Post by Lumpy Burgertushie » Mon Jul 01, 2019 6:16 pm

I have a reseller account as well but I don't have any access to server software that I am aware of.

it is not bad words , it is not censorship. It is usually words or phrases that may be associated with hacking scripts etc.

you are going to have to ask your host what is triggering it so they can restructure the mod security settings.

luck,
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Re: Specific text causes 403 error when posting.

Post by Mick » Mon Jul 01, 2019 10:13 pm

You might get an idea from the server logs.
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Re: Specific text causes 403 error when posting.

Post by jefmcg » Mon Jul 01, 2019 10:20 pm

Mick wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 10:13 pm
You might get an idea from the server logs.
Thanks...
jefmcg wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 4:08 pm
the only thing in the server error logs is repeated " File not found [/home/cyclingrelated/public_html/403.shtml]"

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Re: Specific text causes 403 error when posting.

Post by AbaddonOrmuz » Tue Jul 02, 2019 1:56 am

jefmcg wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 4:08 pm
the only thing in the server error logs is repeated " File not found [/home/cyclingrelated/public_html/403.shtml]"
Usually the audit logs are stored in a separate file, you would need to check the exact name of it in the configuration file, /var/log/httpd/ is a good place to start looking for it.
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Re: Specific text causes 403 error when posting.

Post by thecoalman » Tue Jul 02, 2019 11:50 am

jefmcg wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 4:38 pm
Thanks for the replies. It's not a word or phrase, it's the combination. if I put the URL in one post and the comment below it in a second post, then I don't get an error.

I have a reseller account, so I think I control modsecurity etc. What should I be looking for?

Note: There are around 10,000 on the site, and a lot of "bad" words - I don't like censorship. No one has experienced this problem before.
If it's mod security it's not triggering on something because of censorship, it will be triggered because of something that could be used exploit a script. In your case it would false positive.

You can look in your hosting control panel, if mod security is installed you may be able to disable in and then test to see if the error still persists. If it goes away, Re-enable mod security. If you do not have access to the configuration contact your host, they can disable the specific rule causing the issue. They will probably want the time and the IP that caused the error.

It's entirely possible it;s not mod security, as already mentioned the error logs should give you more information.

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Re: Specific text causes 403 error when posting.

Post by jefmcg » Tue Jul 02, 2019 12:33 pm

Lumpy Burgertushie wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 6:16 pm
I have a reseller account as well but I don't have any access to server software that I am aware of.

Yeah. I did not need to install or support Apache, and I don't have access to the server logs.

Thanks everyone. I'm going to leave it as it is for now. If it's only going to affect one in 10,000 posts, it probably will never occur again before my little forum peters out. If it is a new thing caused by some change on the server, then you have given my enough info to raise a ticket if the problem starts happening regularly.

Cheers!

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Re: Specific text causes 403 error when posting.

Post by Lumpy Burgertushie » Tue Jul 02, 2019 11:27 pm

your choice of course but why do you not want to contact your host support when they probably can fix it for you very quickly . if they have mod security set incorrectly then I would suggest that the likely hood of it happening again are really quite high.

luck,
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Re: Specific text causes 403 error when posting.

Post by thecoalman » Tue Jul 02, 2019 11:57 pm

Lumpy Burgertushie wrote:
Tue Jul 02, 2019 11:27 pm
if they have mod security set incorrectly....
It's not a matter of it being set incorrectly. Mod Security itself is front end for rule sets. The rule sets can obtained from various sources, free, paid or even make your own. There could be hundreds or thousands of rules that can protect a site against all kinds of attacks known and unknown. Of course they cannot account for every piece of web software and false positives are going to occur.

If you have administrative privileges for Mod Security you can see what rules have been triggered, what IP triggered them and why. You can simply disable the single rule causing the issue.

To reiterate this may not be Mod Security issue though, it typically issues a 404 and the OP said they were getting 403.

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