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Howtoforge shows you how to prevent brute force attacks with BlockHosts on Debian GNU/Linux

In this article I will show how to install and configure BlockHosts on a Debian Lenny system. BlockHosts is a Python tool that observes login attempts to various services, e.g. SSH, FTP, etc., and if it finds failed login attempts again and again from the same IP address or host, it stops further login attempts from that IP address/host. By default, BlockHosts supports services that use TCP_WRAPPERS, such as SSH, i.e. services, that use /etc/hosts.allow or /etc/hosts.deny, but it can also block other services using iproute or iptables.
  Preventing Brute Force Attacks With BlockHosts On Debian Lenny