Here is the relevant section from my /etc/fail2ban/jail.conf file:
# Fail2Ban configuration file
# Author: Cyril Jaquier
# $Revision: 611 $
# The DEFAULT allows a global definition of the options. They can be override
# in each jail afterwards.
# "ignoreip" can be an IP address, a CIDR mask or a DNS host. Fail2ban will not
# ban a host which matches an address in this list. Several addresses can be
# defined using space separator.
ignoreip = 127.0.0.1 192.168.1.1 192.168.1.254
# "bantime" is the number of seconds that a host is banned.
bantime = 43200 # set to negative number for permanent ban
# A host is banned if it has generated "maxretry" during the last "findtime"
findtime = 600
# "maxretry" is the number of failures before a host get banned.
maxretry = 3
# "backend" specifies the backend used to get files modification. Available
# options are "gamin", "polling" and "auto". This option can be overridden in
# each jail too (use "gamin" for a jail and "polling" for another).
# gamin: requires Gamin (a file alteration monitor) to be installed. If Gamin
# is not installed, Fail2ban will use polling.
# polling: uses a polling algorithm which does not require external libraries.
# auto: will choose Gamin if available and polling otherwise.
backend = auto
# This jail corresponds to the standard configuration in Fail2ban 0.6.
# The mail-whois action send a notification e-mail with a whois request
# in the body.
enabled = true
filter = sshd
action = iptables[name=SSH, port=ssh, protocol=tcp]
sendmail-whois[name=SSH, dest=root@localhost, email@example.com
logpath = /var/log/messages
maxretry = 3
I increased the bantime to 12 hours, but I don't think that's the problem.
I've tried commenting out all the other filters in jail.conf, but that just results in an error message for just the sshd filter:
WARNING Wrong value for 'bantime' in 'ssh-iptables'. Using default one: '600'
I tried creating a jail.local with a changed value of bantime, but it didn't make any difference.
As a temporary fix, I've added this to my startup scripts:
# load fail2ban
echo -n "Starting fail2ban... "
/usr/bin/fail2ban-client set ssh-iptables bantime 43200
It manually changes the bantime to 12 hours. It's a bit of a fudge, but it seems to work. I'm still a little puzzled as to why it seems to be ignoring the .conf files...