Self-Contained Mode

Self-Contained Mode

Traditional Detection Mode (deprecated)

The default mode in CRS 3.x is Anomaly Scoring mode, you can verify this is your mode by checking that the SecDefaultAction line in the crs-setup.conf file usees the pass action:

SecDefaultAction "phase:2,pass,log"

From version 3.0 onwards, Anomaly Scoring is the default detection mode. Traditional detection mode is discouraged.

(AH) Summary: traditional, self-contained mode: a rule match (alert) causes an immediate block.

Traditional Detection Mode (or IDS/IPS mode) is the old default operating mode. This is the most basic operating mode where all of the rules are “self-contained”. In this mode there is no intelligence is shared between rules and each rule has no information about any previous rule matches. That is to say, in this mode, if a rule triggers, it will execute any disruptive/logging actions specified on the current rule.

Configuring Traditional Mode

If you want to run the CRS in Traditional mode, you can do this easily by modifying the SecDefaultAction directive in the crs-setup.conf file to use a disruptive action other than the default 'pass', such as deny:

# Default (Anomaly Mode)
SecDefaultAction "phase:2,pass,log"
# Updated To Enable Traditional Mode
SecDefaultAction "phase:2,deny,status:403,log"

Pros and Cons of Traditional Detection Mode


  • The functionality of this mode is much easier for a new user to understand.
  • Better performance (lower latency and resource usage) as the first disruptive match will stop further processing.


  • Not all rules are executed, so not all rules that could have been triggered will match. As such, logging information on a successful block is less useful, as only the first detected threat is logged
  • Not every site has the same risk tolerance
  • Lower severity alerts may not trigger traditional mode
  • Single low severity alerts may not be deemed critical enough to block, but multiple lower severity alerts in aggregate could be

Pros and Cons of Anomaly Scoring Detection Mode


  • An increased confidence in blocking - since more detection rules contribute to the anomaly score, the higher the score, the more confidence you can have in blocking malicious transactions.
  • Flexibility for setting blocking policies. Allows users to set a threshold that is appropriate for them - different sites may have different thresholds for blocking.
  • Allows several low severity events to trigger alerts while individual ones are suppressed.
  • One correlated event helps alert management.
  • Exceptions may be handled by either increasing the overall anomaly score threshold, or by adding local custom exceptions file
  • More accurate log information, as all rules execute


  • More complex for the average user.
  • Log monitoring scripts may need to be updated for proper analysis