Developed by Thales Group CERT.

Install Watcher


Launch watcher

  • Grab the docker-compose.yml, .env files and Searx, Rss-bridge directories (keep the directory structure).

  • According to your existing infrastructure you may need to configure Watcher settings using the .env file (Static configuration).

  • docker-compose up

This should run Docker containers.

Please wait until you see:

watcher          | db_watcher is up, starting Watcher.
watcher          | Performing system checks...
watcher          | 
watcher          | System check identified no issues (0 silenced).
watcher          | October 08, 2020 - 10:28:02
watcher          | Django version 3.1.1, using settings 'watcher.settings'
watcher          | Starting development server at
watcher          | Quit the server with CONTROL-C.
  • Try to access Watcher on or http://yourserverip:9002.


  • docker-compose down to stop all containers.


Updates the state of the database in accordance with all current models and migrations. Migrations, their relationships with applications…

docker-compose down
docker-compose run watcher bash
python migrate

Create admin user

You will need to create the first superuser to access the /admin page.

docker-compose down
docker-compose run watcher bash
python createsuperuser

Populate your database

Populate your database with hundred of banned words and RSS sources related to Cyber Security.

Use populate_db script:

docker-compose down
docker-compose run watcher bash
python populate_db

Good to know

The first time you run Watcher, you will not have any new threats on the homepage, this is normal.

You just have to wait for Watcher to crawl the Internet. This will happen every 30 minutes.

Static configuration

Most of the settings can be modified from the /admin page.

There are other settings located in the .env file that you can configure.

Production Settings [Important]

In production please put DJANGO_DEBUG environment variable to False in the .env file:


Also, the Django secret key must be a large random value and it must be kept secret. There is one by default but consider to change it in the .env file:

DJANGO_SECRET_KEY=[large random value]

Time Zone settings in the .env file:

# Time Zone

If you have modified some of these parameters, don’t forget to restart all containers:

docker-compose down
docker-compose up

Access Watcher remotely within your server instance

In case of “Bad Request” Error when accessing Watcher web interface, fill ALLOWED_HOST variable (in .env file) with your Watcher Server Instance IP / or your FQDN.

It is limited to a single IP address / single FQDN.

Please use this syntax:


Now, you can restart your instance and the parameters will be taken into account:

docker-compose down
docker-compose up

SMTP Server Settings (Email Notifications)

In the .env file:

Website url, which will be the link in the email notifications body:


Now, you can restart your instance and the parameters will be taken into account:

docker-compose down
docker-compose up

TheHive Settings

If you want to use TheHive export, please fill the IP of your TheHive instance and a generated API key.

In the .env file:


Now, you can restart your instance and the parameters will be taken into account:

docker-compose down
docker-compose up

MISP Settings

If you want to use MISP export, please fill the IP of your MISP instance and an API key.

In the .env file:

# MISP Setup

Now, you can restart your instance and the parameters will be taken into account:

docker-compose down
docker-compose up

LDAP Settings

You can configure an LDAP authentication within Watcher:

In the .env file:

# LDAP Setup

Now, you can restart your instance and the parameters will be taken into account:

docker-compose down
docker-compose up


Remove the database

You may want to reset your database entirely, in case of troubleshooting or other. To do this, you need to remove the database stored in your host system and restart the instance:

docker-compose down
docker volume rm watcher-project_db_data
docker volume rm watcher-project_db_log

Now, you can rebuild the image and the parameters will be taken into account:

docker-compose up

Don’t forget to migrate.

Useful commands

Use docker-compose up -d if you want to run it in background.

Run interactive shell session on the Watcher container:

docker-compose run watcher bash

Use Watcher

User enrollment

To create a simple user, staff user or admin user:

Connect to the /admin page:

  • Click on Users.

  • Click on ADD USER.

  • Enter the Username and Password and Click on SAVE.

  • Choose the permissions:

    • Active → Is the default one, site access for users

    • Staff status → Designates whether the user can log into this admin site.

    • Superuser status → Designates that this user has all permissions without explicitly assigning them.

  • You may enter an Email address for email notifications.

  • Click on SAVE.

Add email notifications subscriber

Receive email notifications when subscribing to a topic.

Connect to the /admin page:

  • Click on Subscribers.

  • Click on ADD SUBSCRIBER.

  • Select the User and Click on SAVE.

Add your RSS source to Threats Detection

As you know this feature allow the detection of emerging vulnerabilities, malwares using social networks & other RSS sources (,,,…).

Watcher currently provides hundreds of RSS cybersecurity sources (Populate default RSS sources).

However, you can add your RSS Cybersecurity source to your Watcher instance:

  • First, make sure you have a URL leading to an RSS file (Atom 1.0, Atom 0.3, RSS 2.0, RSS 2.0 with Namespaces, RSS 1.0).

  • Your RSS file must be composed of several articles.

  • Please consider the use of https over http.

Connect to the /admin page:

  • Click on Sources in THREATS_WATCHER part.

  • Click on ADD SOURCE.

  • Fill Url text input.

  • Click on SAVE.

How to use RSS-Bridge to add more sources from Facebook, GoogleSearch, YouTube…

RSS-Bridge is, by default, configured with Twitter only, but users can use it for all other sources like Facebook, DuckDuckGo, GoogleSearch…

To do so, you need to add the new bridge needed in the Watcher/Rss-bridge/whitelist.txt file.

An RSS-Bridge source URL looks like this:

To add your own custom url, simply change the bridge, if necessary, with the associated parameters (just keep & format=Mrss).

You can test RSS-Bridge API with a public instance like this one:

RSS API request example:

Thehive & MISP Export

You can export monitored DNS to TheHive or MISP:

  • Go to /website_monitoring page.

  • Add new DNS to monitored.

  • Click on the blue upload/cloud button.

  • Choose which service you want to use.


If the export do not work as expected, this may be related with the version of your TheHive or MISP instance.

In fact, if you are using an outdated TheHive/MISP instance, the client API version will not correspond with your TheHive/MISP instance version:

  • Update Thehive or MISP.

Remove & Add to Blocklist

There is a blocklist to prevent a false positive trendy words from reappearing again.

To add 1 word:

  • Go to the landing page.

  • Authenticate and Click on the “Delete & Blocklistbutton.

To add several words:

  • Go to /admin page.

  • Click on Trendy words.

  • Check words that you want to remove & blocklist.

  • Click on Action dropdown.

  • Select “Delete & Blocklist selected trendy words”.

Archived Alerts

Once you have processed an alert, you can archive it.

To archived 1 alert:

  • Go to the alert that you want to archived.

  • Select the “disablebutton.

To archived several alerts:

  • Go to /admin page.

  • Click on Alerts.

  • Check alerts that you want to archived.

  • Click on Action dropdown.

  • Select “Disable selected alerts”.

Update Watcher

To update Watcher image please follow the instructions below:

  • Stop all containers: docker-compose down

  • Remove the old docker images: docker rmi felix83000/watcher searx/searx rssbridge/rss-bridge

  • Pull the newer docker images: docker-compose up

This will update the all project Watcher, Rss-bridge and Searx.

Verify that your local files /.env, /docker-compose.yml and /Searx/ are up-to-date.

Sometimes you will see in Watcher logs a database migration request in red. If so, please follow the migration process.


If you want to modify the project and Pull Request (PR) your work, you will need to setup your development environment.

Open a Pull Request (PR) to contribute to this project

  • Fork the official Watcher repository

  • Install Git

  • Open a terminal: git clone <your_forked_repository.git>

  • Switch to the dev branch: git checkout -b feature/<name_of_the_new_feature>

  • Make your changes on the working files and then: git add *

  • Add a commit message and description: git commit -m "Title" -m "Description"

  • Publish the changes: git push origin feature/<name_of_the_new_feature>

  • Back to GitHub on your forked repository, click Under Contribute > Open Pull Request and then Confirm the operation

  • Done! Your work will be reviewed by the team!

Setup Watcher environment

Use a Linux server, we recommend the use of a Virtual Machine (Ubuntu 20.04 and Ubuntu 21.10 LTS in our case).

Then, follow the steps below:

  • Update and upgrade your machine: sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y

  • Install Python and Node.js: sudo apt install python3 python3-pip -y & sudo apt install nodejs -y

  • Pull Watcher code: git clone <your_forked_repository.git>

  • Move to the following directory: cd Watcher/Watcher

  • Install python-ldap dependencies: sudo apt install -y libsasl2-dev python-dev libldap2-dev libssl-dev

  • Install mysqlclient dependency: sudo apt install default-libmysqlclient-dev

  • Install Python dependencies: pip3 install -r requirements.txt

  • Install NLTK/punkt dependency: python3 ./

    • If you have a proxy, you can configure it in script.

  • Install Node.js dependencies:

    • sudo apt install npm -y

    • npm install

  • Install MySQL:

    • sudo apt install mysql-server -y

    • sudo mysql_secure_installation

      • Enter root password.

      • You may now enter Y and ENTER. Accept all fields. This will remove some anonymous users and the test database, disable remote root logins, and load these new rules so that MySQL immediately respects any changes made.

Create & Configure Watcher database:

sudo mysql 
CREATE USER 'watcher'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'Ee5kZm4fWWAmE9hs!';
use db_watcher;
systemctl status mysql.service
  • cd Watcher/watcher

In change HOST variable to localhost:

   'default': {
       'ENGINE': 'django.db.backends.mysql',
       'CONN_MAX_AGE': 3600,
       'NAME': 'db_watcher',
       'USER': 'watcher',
       'PASSWORD': 'Ee5kZm4fWWAmE9hs!',
       'HOST': 'localhost',
       'PORT': '3306',
       'OPTIONS': {
           'init_command': "SET sql_mode='STRICT_TRANS_TABLES'",
  • [IMPORTANT] When commit put HOST variable back to db_watcher

  • cd ..

  • Migrate the database: python3 migrate

  • Run Watcher: python3 runserver

Deploy a simple SMTP server to test the email notifications

If you are working on a test environment and willing to have email alerts, here is a simple way to configure the SMTP settings to make it work.

  • Grab the docker-compose file: here.

  • Run the command: docker-compose up

  • The mails will be available here by default: localhost:5000

  • Modify the mail settings in the environment variables: vi /.env


    • SMTP_SERVER=localhost

  • Launch Watcher: python3 Watcher/Watcher/ runserver

Modify the frontend

If you need to modify the frontend /Watcher/Watcher/frontend:

From /Watcher/Watcher/, run the command below:

npm run dev

Let this command run in background. Now, when modifying some frontend ReactJs files it will automatically build them into one file (/Watcher/Watcher/frontend/static/frontend/main.js).

[IMPORTANT] When commit you have to run 1 time the command below:

npm run build

Migrations: Change the database schema

Migrations are Django’s way of propagating changes you make to your models (adding a field, deleting a model, etc.) into your database schema. They’re designed to be mostly automatic, but you’ll need to know when to make migrations, when to run them, and the common problems you might run into.

The commands

There are several commands which you will use to interact with migrations and Django’s handling of database schema:

  • migrate, which is responsible for applying and unapplying migrations.

  • makemigrations, which is responsible for creating new migrations based on the changes you have made to your models.

  • sqlmigrate, which displays the SQL statements for a migration.

  • showmigrations, which lists a project’s migrations and their status.

Change a model (adding a field, deleting a model, etc.)

When you are making a change to a model, for instance, adding a new field to: /Watcher/Watcher/data_leak/ Then, you need to create a new migration based on the changes you have made:

  • Go to /Watcher/Watcher/ and run this command: python3 makemigrations

[IMPORTANT] Run the makemigrations command only once, when you have made all the changes. Otherwise, it will create several unnecessary migration files.

Build the documentation

Modify some function comments or the /Watcher/ file.

Go to /Watcher/docs and run:


When commit please add the all /Watcher/docs folder and the file:

git add ../docs ../