Production Transform Server using Apache2

Modified on: Thu, 5 May, 2022 at 4:16 PM


The instructions in this section serves as an example only. Your specific environment and requirements might require another solution. This article provides instructions for setting up a transform host server with an Apache-based web server.

Apache Server

This basic setup guide was tested on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS using Apache2 and Python 3.

Note: This is only an example and requires additional design and configuration to serve as a secure and reliable production Transform server.

Install system and Python dependencies:

Refresh APT repositories:

$ sudo apt update

Install Apache2:

$ sudo apt install apache2 -y

Install WSGI Apache module:

For Python3

$ sudo apt install libapache2-mod-wsgi-py3 -y

Install Python3:

$ sudo apt install python3 -y

Install Python3 pip:

$ sudo apt install python3-pip -y

Configure Python3 and pip3 as the default for your system:

$ echo "alias python=python3" >> ~/.bash_aliases
$ echo "alias pip=pip3" >> ~/.bash_aliases
$ source ~/.bash_aliases

Confirm if the Apache2 server is running:

$ sudo systemctl status apache2


$ sudo service apache2 status

Note: If you enabled a firewall on your server, you will be required to open the applicable ports before using the webserver.

Install Maltego Python Transform Library (Maltego-TRX):

$ sudo -H pip3 install maltego-trx

Prepare the Transform project

In this basic setup guide, it is assumed that the Transform project was created in the following folder:

$ cd /var/www/

$ sudo maltego-trx start TRX

This will create the Transform project folder "/var/www/TRX" with the recommend subfolder structure.

The Apache2 web server will run as the “www-data” user. Set the “www-data” user as the owner of the Transform project folder. Use the following command to change folder ownership:

$ sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/TRX/

Follow the instructions provided in the Transform writing guide to create and code Transforms. In this basic setup guide, it is assumed that an existing Transform project is ready to be hosted.

Configure Apache2

Various configuration files are required for Apache2 to serve the Transform project and act as a Transform Server.

Apache2 will run a WSGI server from the project file, e. g. "/var/www/TRX/", listing on port "8080".

Create an apache configuration file, e.g. "TRX.conf”, and copy it to the Apache2 “sites-available” folder:

$ sudo vi TRX.conf

$ sudo cp ./TRX.conf /etc/apache2/sites-available/TRX.conf

The basic content of the configuration file should be:

<VirtualHost *:8080>
WSGIDaemonProcess TRX user=www-data group=www-data threads=25 python-path=/var/www/TRX/ home=/var/www/TRX/
WSGIScriptAlias / /var/www/TRX/
      <Directory /var/www/TRX>
        WSGIProcessGroup TRX
          WSGIApplicationGroup %{GLOBAL}
          Order deny,allow
          Allow from all

Note: The default (host) port can be configured here to use any other open port on which you prefer to expose the Transform.

Please take note that the “python-path” parameter must point to the Transform project folder, e.g. “/var/www/TRX/”.

Activate the Transform configuration file, e.g. “TRX.conf”:

$ sudo a2ensite TRX

Edit the Apache2 ports file, e.g. “/etc/apache2/ports.conf”, and add “Listen 8080” below the last “Listen” line:

$ sudo nano /etc/apache2/ports.conf
NameVirtualHost *:80
Listen 80
Listen 8080

Apply these configuration changes by restarting or reloading Apache2

To restart Apache2, use the following command:

$ sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart

Or to reload Apache2, use the following command:

$ sudo service apache2 reload

Adjust the ‘TRX’ site configuration defined in /etc/apache2/sites-available to meet your requirements. The presented configuration will route all traffic on port 8080 to the WSGI script TRX.wsgi located in /var/www/TRX.

Test your configuration

Test the configuration by browsing to the following URL:

http://<your server name or IP>:8080/

* Update <your server name or IP> with appropriate values.

A valid and correct configuration will return the following response:

You have reached a Maltego Transform Server.

Retrieve the Transform links by running the following command from the Transform project folder:

$ cd /var/www/TRX/

$ python list

The output of the “list” command will contain Transform server URLs:

= Transform Server URLs =
/run/dnstoip/: DNSToIP
/run/greetperson/: GreetPerson

Test the Transform server URLs by concatenating them to the Transform server URL:

http://<your server name or IP>:8080/run/dnstoip/

* Update <your server name or IP> with appropriate values.

A valid and correct configuration will return the following response:

Transform found with name 'dnstoip', you will need to send a POST request to run it.

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