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Configuring IntelMQ



If you installed the packages, standard Linux paths (LSB paths) are used:

  • /etc/intelmq/ (configurations)
  • /var/log/intelmq/ (logs)
  • /var/lib/intelmq/ (local states)
  • /var/run/intelmq/ (PID files)

Otherwise, the configuration directory is /opt/intelmq/etc/. Using the environment variable INTELMQ_ROOT_DIR allows setting any arbitrary root directory.

You can switch this by setting the environment variables INTELMQ_PATHS_NO_OPT and INTELMQ_PATHS_OPT, respectively.

  • When installing the Python packages, you can set INTELMQ_PATHS_NO_OPT to something non-empty to use LSB-paths.
  • When installing the deb/rpm packages, you can set INTELMQ_PATHS_OPT to something non-empty to use /opt/intelmq/ paths, or a path set with INTELMQ_ROOT_DIR.

The environment variable ROOT_DIR is meant to set an alternative root directory instead of /. This is primarily meant for package build environments an analogous to setuptool's --root parameter. Thus it is only used in LSB-mode.

Environment Variables

Name Type Description

Configuration Files


This is the main configuration file. It uses YAML format since IntelMQ 3.0. It consists of two parts:

  • Global Configuration
  • Individual Bot Configuration


Comments in YAML are currently not preserved by IntelMQ (known bug #2003).

Example runtime.yaml configuration file is installed by the tool intelmqsetup. If this is not the case, make sure the program was run. It is shipped preconfigured with 4 collectors and parsers, 6 common experts and one output bot. The default collector and the parser handle data from malware domain list, the file output bot writes all data to one of these files (based on your installation):

  • /opt/intelmq/var/lib/bots/file-output/events.txt

  • /var/lib/intelmq/bots/file-output/events.txt

The runtime.yaml configuration is divided into two sections:

  • Global configuration which is applied to each bot.
  • Individual bot configuration which overloads the global configuration and contains bot specific options.

Example configuration snippet:

global: # global configuration section
  # ...
  http_timeout_max_tries: 3
  http_timeout_sec: 30
  http_user_agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/41.0.2228.0 Safari/537.36
  http_verify_cert: true

blocklistde-apache-collector: # individual bot configuration section
  group: Collector
  name: Apache List
  module: intelmq.bots.collectors.http.collector_http
  description: Apache Collector fetches all IP addresses which have been reported within the last 48 hours as having run attacks on the service Apache, Apache-DDOS, RFI-Attacks.
    name: Apache
    rate_limit: 3600
    http_verify_cert: false # overriding the global configuration for this particular bot

Global Configuration

The global configuration parameters apply to all bots, however they can be overridden in the individual bot configuration.


The logging can be configured with the following parameters:


(required, string) Allowed values are file or syslog.


(required, string) Allowed values are CRITICAL, ERROR, WARNING, INFO or DEBUG. Defines the system-wide log level that will be use by all bots and the intelmqctl tool. We recommend logging_level WARNING for production environments and INFO if you want more details. In any case, watch your free disk space!


(required, string) When the logging_handler is file this parameter is used to set the logging directory for all the bots as well as the intelmqctl tool. Defaults to /opt/intelmq/var/log/ or /var/log/intelmq/ respectively.


(required, string) When the logging_handler is syslog. Either a list with hostname and UDP port of syslog service, e.g. ["localhost", 514] or a device name/path. Defaults to /var/log.

Log Rotation

To rotate the logs, you can use the standard Linux-tool logrotate. An example logrotate configuration is given in contrib/logrotate/ and delivered with all deb/rpm-packages. When not using logrotate, IntelMQ can rotate the logs itself, which is not enabled by default! You need to set both values.


(optional, integer) Maximum number of bytes to be stored in one logfile before the file is rotated. Defaults to 0 (log rotation disabled).


(optional, integer) Maximum number of logfiles to keep. Compression is not supported. Default is unset.

Some information can as well be found in Python's documentation on the used RotatingFileHandler.

Error Handling


(required, boolean) Whether to write the message (Event/Report) to the log file in case of an error.


(required, boolean) Whether to write an error exception to the log file in case of an error.


(required, string) Allowed values are stop or pass. In case of an error, this option defines the procedure that the bot will adopt. Use the following values:

  • stop - stop bot after retrying X times (as defined in error_max_retries) with a delay between retries (as defined in error_retry_delay). If the bot reaches the error_max_retries value, it will remove the message from the pipeline and stop. If the option error_dump_message is also enable, the bot will dump the removed message to its dump file (to be found in var/log).

  • pass - will skip this message and will process the next message after retrying X times, removing the current message from pipeline. If the option error_dump_message is also enable, then the bot will dump the removed message to its dump file. After max retries are reached, the rate limit is applied (e.g. a collector bot fetch an unavailable resource does not try forever).


(required, integer) In case of an error, the bot will try to re-start processing the current message X times as defined by this option.


(required, integer) Defines the number of seconds to wait between subsequent re-tries in case of an error.


(required, boolean) Specifies if the bot will write queued up messages to its dump file (use intelmqdump to re-insert the message).

If the path _on_error exists for a bot, the message is also sent to this queue, instead of (only) dumping the file if configured to do so.



(required, boolean) this option allows you to choose the behavior of the queue. Use the following values:

  • true - splits the messages into several queues without duplication
  • false - duplicates the messages into each queue - When using AMQP as message broker, take a look at the multithreading{.interpreted-text role="ref"} section and the instances_threads parameter.


(required, integer) time interval (in seconds) between messages processing. int value.


(optional, string) trusted CA certificate for IMAP connections (supported by some bots).


(optional, string) Allowed values are redis and amqp. Selects the message broker IntelMQ should use. As this parameter can be overridden by each bot, this allows usage of different broker systems and hosts, as well as switching between them on the same IntelMQ instance. Defaults to redis.


(required, string) See source_pipeline_broker.


(required, string) Hostname or path to Unix socket that the bot will use to connect and receive messages.


(optional, integer) Broker port that the bot will use to connect and receive messages. Can be empty for Unix socket.


(optional, string) Broker password that the bot will use to connect and receive messages. Can be null for unprotected broker.


(required, integer) broker database that the bot will use to connect and receive messages (requirement from redis broker).


(optional, string) broker IP, FQDN or Unix socket that the bot will use to connect and send messages.


(optional, integer) broker port that the bot will use to connect and send messages. Can be empty for Unix socket.


(optional, string) broker password that the bot will use to connect and send messages. Can be null for unprotected broker.


(required, integer) broker database that the bot will use to connect and send messages (requirement from redis broker).


(optional, string) Proxy to use for HTTP.


(optional, string) Proxy to use for HTTPS.


(optional, string) User-Agent to be used for HTTP requests.


(optional, boolean) Verify the TLS certificate of the server. Defaults to true.

Individual Bot Configuration


For the individual bot configuration please see the Bots document in the User Guide.

Run Mode

This sections provides more detailed explanation of the two run modes of the bots.


Most of the cases, bots will need to be configured as continuous run mode (the default) in order to have them always running and processing events. Usually, the types of bots that will require the continuous mode will be Parsers, Experts and Outputs. To do this, set run_mode to continuous in the runtime.yaml for the bot. Check the following example:

  name: Parser
  group: Parser
  module: intelmq.bots.parsers.blocklistde.parser
  description: Blocklist.DE Parser is the bot responsible to parse the report and sanitize the information.
  enabled: false
  run_mode: continuous
  parameters: ...

You can now start the bot using the following command:

intelmqctl start blocklistde-apache-parser

Bots configured as continuous will never exit except if there is an error and the error handling configuration requires the bot to exit. See the Error Handling section for more details.


In many cases, it is useful to schedule a bot at a specific time (i.e. via cron(1)), for example to collect information from a website every day at midnight. To do this, set run_mode to scheduled in the runtime.yaml for the bot. Check out the following example:

  name: Generic URL Fetcher
  group: Collector
  module: intelmq.bots.collectors.http.collector_http
  description: All IP addresses which have been reported within the last 48 hours as having run attacks on the service Apache, Apache-DDOS, RFI-Attacks.
  enabled: false
  run_mode: scheduled
    feed: Apache
    ssl_client_certificate: null

You can schedule the bot with a crontab-entry like this:

0 0 * * * intelmqctl start blocklistde-apache-collector

Bots configured as scheduled will exit after the first successful run. Setting enabled to false will cause the bot to not start with intelmqctl start, but only with an explicit start, in this example intelmqctl start blocklistde-apache-collector.

Additional Runtime Parameters

Some of the parameters are deliberately skipped from the User Guide because they are configured via graphical user interface provided by the IntelMQ Manager. These parameters have to do with configuring the pipeline: defining how the data is exchanged between the bots. Using the IntelMQ Manager for this have many benefits as it guarantees that the configuration is correct upon saving.

However as an administrator you should be also familiar with the manual (and somewhat tedious) configuration. For each bot there are two parameters that need to be set:


(optional, string) The name of the source queue from which the bot is going to processing data. Each bot has maximum one source queue (collector bots don't have any source queue as they fetch data from elsewhere). Defaults to the bot id appended with the string -queue.

Example: a bot with id example-bot will have a default source queue named example-bot-queue.


(optional, object) Bots can have multiple destination queues. Destination queues can also be grouped into named paths. There are two special path names _default and _on_error. The path _default is used if the path is not is specified by the bot itself (which is the most common case). In case of an error during the processing, the message will be sent to the _on_error path if specified (optional).

Only few of the bots (mostly expert bots with filtering capabilities) can take advantage of arbitrarily named paths. Some expert bots are capable of sending messages to paths, this feature is explained in their documentation, e.g. the Filter expert and the Sieve expert.


  # ...
    # ...
        - <first destination pipeline name>
        - <second destination pipeline name>
        - <optional first destination pipeline name in case of errors>
        - <optional second destination pipeline name in case of errors>
        - <second destination pipeline name>
        - <third destination pipeline name>


This configuration is used to specify the fields for all message types. The harmonization library will load this configuration to check, during the message processing, if the values are compliant to the configured harmonization format. Usually, this configuration doesn't need any change. It is mostly maintained by the IntelMQ maintainers.


  "<message type>": {
    "<field 1>": {
      "description": "<field 1 description>",
      "type": "<field value type>"
    "<field 2>": {
      "description": "<field 2 description>",
      "type": "<field value type>"


  "event": {
    "destination.asn": {
      "description": "The autonomous system number from which originated the connection.",
      "type": "Integer"
    "": {
      "description": "Country-Code according to ISO3166-1 alpha-2 for the destination IP.",
      "regex": "^[a-zA-Z0-9]{2}$",
      "type": "String"