Set SSH authentication attempt limit

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Description

The MaxAuthTries parameter specifies the maximum number of authentication attempts permitted per connection. Once the number of failures reaches half this value, additional failures are logged. to set MaxAUthTries edit /etc/ssh/sshd_config as follows:

MaxAuthTries 4

Rationale

Setting the MaxAuthTries parameter to a low number will minimize the risk of successful brute force attacks to the SSH server.

Remediation

Shell script

The following script can be run on the host to remediate the issue.

#!/bin/bash

# Remediation is applicable only in certain platforms
if [ ! -f /.dockerenv ] && [ ! -f /run/.containerenv ]; then

sshd_max_auth_tries_value='4'


if [ -e "/etc/ssh/sshd_config" ] ; then
    
    LC_ALL=C sed -i "/^\s*MaxAuthTries\s\+/Id" "/etc/ssh/sshd_config"
else
    touch "/etc/ssh/sshd_config"
fi
# make sure file has newline at the end
sed -i -e '$a\' "/etc/ssh/sshd_config"

cp "/etc/ssh/sshd_config" "/etc/ssh/sshd_config.bak"
# Insert at the beginning of the file
printf '%s\n' "MaxAuthTries $sshd_max_auth_tries_value" > "/etc/ssh/sshd_config"
cat "/etc/ssh/sshd_config.bak" >> "/etc/ssh/sshd_config"
# Clean up after ourselves.
rm "/etc/ssh/sshd_config.bak"

else
    >&2 echo 'Remediation is not applicable, nothing was done'
fi