High CPU

Following are some of the functionality and high CPU related debugging issues encoutered and the best practices to follow when working with Web App Firewall:

Check Policy hits, Bindings, Network configuration, Web App Firewall configuration:

  • Identify misconfiguration
  • Identify vserver that is serving the affected traffic

Inspect logs in the following log files for security violations and recent configuration changes:

  • /var/log/ns.log
  • /var/nslog/import.log
  • /var/nslog/aslearn.log
  • tail -f /var/log/ns.log | grep APPFW_SIGNATURE_MATCH


Jun 13 01:11:09 <> CEF:0|Citrix|NetScaler|NS11.0|APPFW| APPFW_SIGNATURE_MATCH|6|src= spt=61141 method=GET request= msg=Signature violation rule ID 807: web-cgi /wwwboard/passwd.txt access cn1=140 cn2=841 cs1=pr_ffc cs2=PPE0 cs3=OyTgjbXBqcpBFeENKDlde3OkMQ00001 cs4=ALERT cs5=2015 cs6=web-cgi act=not blocked

Isolate the traffic that is effected:

  • Isolate the profile
  • Isolate the security check
  • Isolate the URL, virtual server and traffic parameters

Conditional profile level trace helps identify the traffic and violation records:

  • set appfw profile <profile> -trace ON
  • start nstrace -mode APPFW -size 0
  • stop nstrace

Note: Ensure that the trace is collected with -size 0 option.

Check appfw, dht, IP reputation activity counters:

  • nsconmsg -g as_ -g appfwreq_ -g iprep -d current

Monitor window size for resets in connection:

Appfw sets the window size to 9845 when NetScaler resets the connection due to an invalid http message.


  • Malformed request received - connection reset
  • High CPU related issues
  • Check data sheets for system limits
  • Inspect for cpu usage, appfw, DHT and memory related activity. Monitor appfw sessions
  • nsconmsg -g cc_cpu_use -g appfwreq -g as -g dht -g mem_AS_OBJ -g mem_AS_COMPONENT -d current

Monitor memory allocated and freed from Web App Firewall components and objects during the target time period. It helps in isolating the protection leading to high CPU usage.

  • Profiler output
  • Observe logs

Isolate appfw check leading to high CPU:

  • startURLClosure
  • Formfiledconsistency
  • CSRF
  • Cookie protections
  • Referer header check

Ascertain that autoupdate of signatures is not leading to high CPU (Disable to confirm).

High CPU

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