I noticed a significant increase in the number of hosts attempting to authenticate to my Exim submission ports (465 and 587). As a result, I have implemented a number of security measures. These measures have effectively blocked the attempts. This post outlines the main measures that I have implemented. This includes ACLs and fail2ban blacklisting.
fail2ban runs as root by default. This is unnecessary for its functionality, other than to alter firewall rules. The firewall rules can be safely done, using sudo to enable the required calls. The Debian/Ubuntu init.d file has provisions to start fail2ban as a non-root user, but newer releases use systemd to start and stop the process. This requires a different procedure. This procedure is for my servers which use Shorewall to maintain the firewall.