Being flooded by wpad.dat

Sandman asked:

So, my apache server was slow, and I looked in the log files. Turned out they had grown to 12GB of accesses from tons and tons of different hosts trying to access /wpad.dat on one of my Vhosts.

Now, the virtual host in question is the “catch-all” vhost that is invoked when a browser doesn’t supply a known hostname.

I am currently getting thousands of requests per minute to “/wpad.dat” and as far as Google can tell me, this is something that has something to do with proxy servers? But I don’t use proxy servers, so why am I being literally bombarded by these requests.

I am getting more requests per minute for this non-existant file than I am getting normal requests. So my assumption is that I am under some form of attack. Funny thing is that it generally only occurs at night (here in Sweden) and not during the day.

A sample size of the latest 500 requests (i.e. half a minute) shows that it consists of 200 different hosts, and a small sample of those shows that they are all valid hosts (not TOR proxies) so is this some DNS servers being incorrectly configured? I do run a DNS server on the machine.

Please help! 🙂

The host they are accessing is “” so what they do is access thousands of times per minute.

Now, is my DNS failover host. So all my clients point their subdomains to, which in turn points them to the current IP (master server of failover server).

As it seems – this means I am getting tons and tons of requests to – could that mean that my DNS is misconfigured?

My answer:

The first thing I would do is to try to find out where these requests are going to, i.e. their destination. Apache doesn’t log the hostname by default, so you can either use tcpdump to get a brief capture and inspect it for the Host: request header, or change your Apache log format to log it. I prefer to log it in the otherwise useless second field, for example:

LogFormat "%h %{Host}i %u %t \"%r\" %>s %b \"%{Referer}i\" \"%{User-agent}i\"" combined

Once you know who these mistaken requests are being addressed to, what to do next may become clear. For instance, it might turn out to be some big company in which case you can go find their network admins and yell at them.

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