Dashboards for NGINX App Protect


NGINX App Protect is a new generation WAF from F5 which is built in accordance with UNIX philosophy such that it does one thing well everything else comes from integrations. NGINX App Protect is extremely good at HTTP traffic security. It inherited a powerful WAF engine from BIG-IP and light footprint and high performance from NGINX. Therefore NGINX App Protect brings fine-grained security to all kinds of insertion points where NGINX use to be either on-premises or cloud-based.

Therefore NGINX App Protect is a powerful and flexible security tool but without any visualization capabilities which are essential for a good security product. As mentioned above everything besides primary functionality comes from integrations. In order to introduce visualization capabilities, I've developed an integration between NGINX App Protect and ELK stack (Elasticsearch, Logstash, Kibana) as one of the most adopted stacks for log collection and visualization. Based on logs from NGINX App Protect ELK generates dashboards to clearly visualize what WAF is doing.

Overview Dashboard

Currently, there are two dashboards available. "Overview" dashboard provides a high-level view of the current situation and also allows to discover historical trends. You are free to select any time period of interest and filter data simply by clicking on values right on the dashboard. Table at the bottom of the dashboard lists all requests within a time frame and allows to see how exactly a request looked like.

False Positives Dashboard

Another useful dashboard called "False Positives" helps to identify false positives and adjust WAF policy based on findings. For example, the chart below shows the number of unique IPs that hit a signature. Under normal conditions when traffic is mostly legitimate "per signature" graphs should fluctuate around zero because legitimate users are not supposed to hit any of signatures. Therefore if there is a spike and amount of unique IPs which hit a signature is close to the total amount of sources then likely there is a false positive and policy needs to be adjusted.


This is an open-source and community-driven project. The more people contribute the better it becomes. Feel free to use it for your projects and contribute code or ideas directly to the repo.

The plan is to make these dashboards suitable for all kinds of F5 WAF flavors including AWAF and EAP. This should be simple because it only requires logstash pipeline adjustment to unify logs format stored in elasticsearch index.

If you have a project for AWAF or EAP going on and would like to use dashboards please feel free to develop and create a pull request with an adjusted logstash pipeline to normalize logs from other WAFs.

Github repo: https://github.com/464d41/f5-waf-elk-dashboards

Feel free to reach me with questions. Good luck!

Published Jun 22, 2020
Version 1.0

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1 Comment

  • Hi Mikhail

    I am trying to integrate logstash with app protect. Seems it is not work. Using a filebeat for this one. 

    The yaml file is edited with the correct path, the nginx App protect is on and logging is enabled and log are being sent to /var/log/app_protect/security.logs

    When I search for the security logs don't see anything