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Windows provides a utility called Event Viewer to access the audit logs on a local host Select Start | Programs | Administrative Tools | Event Viewer to open Event Viewer In Event Viewer, select the log that you wish to view from the Log menu Figure 12-1 shows the Security log in Event Viewer Notice the key and lock icons in the first column on the left The key denotes a successful log, and the lock denotes a failure of some kind
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Investigating Windows Systems
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Figure 12-1
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The Security log viewed in Event Viewer
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Investigators are most interested in the event IDs in the Event column Each event ID represents a specific type of system event Experienced system administrators are familiar with the event IDs that are listed in Table 12-1 (You can view a list of the event IDs for each operating system on the Microsoft web site)
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ID 516 517 528 529 531 538 576
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Description Some audit event records discarded Audit log cleared Successful logon Failed logon Failed logon, locked Successful logoff Assignment and use of rights Some Security Log Event IDs
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Table 12-1
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Incident Response & Computer Forensics
ID 578 595 608 610 612 624 626 630 636 642 643
Description Privileged service use Indirect access to object Rights policy change New trusted domain Audit policy change New account added User account enabled User account deleted Account group change User account change Domain policy change Some Security Log Event IDs (continued)
Table 12-1
GO GET IT ON THE WEB Windows 2000 event IDs: http://wwwmicrosoftcom/windows2000/techinfo/reskit/ ErrorandEventMessages/defaultasp Windows XP event IDs: http://wwwmicrosoftcom/technet/treeview/defaultasp url=/ technet/prodtechnol/winxppro/reskit/prnf_msg_hlepasp
In Event Viewer, click a log entry to see its details Figure 12-2 shows an example of the details on a successful logon into a system called WEBTARGET from a remote system called THUNDAR As you become more accustomed to reviewing event logs, you will begin to recognize indicators of unauthorized or unlawful activity
What Can Happen
You want to closely monitor all the processes an employee is running on his workstation Your general counsel has advised that your corporate policy supports such logging
Where to Look for Evidence
Windows can log the creation and termination of each process on the system To enable this feature, you set the audit policy to monitor the success and failure of detailed tracking When a process is created, it is given a process ID (PID) that is unique to the process With
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Investigating Windows Systems
Figure 12-2
The event detail of a successful logon
detailed tracking turned on, you can determine every process a user executes on the system by reviewing the following event IDs: M L 592 A new process has been created 593 A process has exited
You can use this type of process tracking to log virtually every application a user ran or opened, edited, and closed In fact, even opening WordPad is logged when using detailed tracking Therefore, Windows logging, albeit cumbersome, can do some granular tracking of events
Event Log Dumps
During the initial response to an incident, it is helpful to obtain the event logs from the victim system and perform an offline review across a TCP/IP network You can use either PsLogList (Sysinternals freeware) or dumpelexe/elogdmpexe (from the Resource Kit) to dump the logs, and then use your file-transfer tool (netcat or cryptcat) to send them across the network
Incident Response & Computer Forensics
Both the PsLogList and dumpel utilities can dump any of the three event logs and can also turn the output into a delimited format For example, the following command line on a victim system dumps the Security log in a delimited, easily read format:
dumpel -l security -t
The output to PsLogList can be imported into a spreadsheet (for example, StarOffice or Microsoft Excel) for advanced manipulation, such as sorting or searching
GO GET IT ON THE WEB PsLogList: http://wwwsysinternalscom
Offline Investigation of Logs
To view the event logs from an offline system, you must obtain copies of the seceventevt, appeventevt, and syseventevt files from the forensic duplicate These log files are usually stored in the default location of \%systemroot%\System32\Config You can obtain these files via a DOS boot disk (with NTFS for DOS if the file system is NTFS) or via a Linux boot disk with the appropriate kernel to mount NTFS drives, or simply extract them from your forensic image Once you recover the three evt files, you can view the log files on your forensic workstation In Event Viewer, select Log | Open and specify the path to the copied evt files You select the log type (Security, Application, or System) when choosing the evt file to review It is possible, although unlikely, that your forensic workstation will not be able to read the imported event logs In this case, perform the following steps to access the logs: 1 Disable the EventLog service on the forensic workstation by opening Control Panel | Services and selecting Disable for the EventLog option (This change will not be effective until you reboot the workstation) 2 Use the User Manager to change the forensic workstation s audit policy to log nothing at all This will prevent your forensic workstation from writing to the evidence Security log 3 Reboot the forensic workstation, and then verify that the EventLog service is not on by viewing Control Panel | Services 4 Place the evidence evt files into the \%systemroot%\System32\Config directory Since Event Viewer automatically defaults to populating the three evt files in \%systemroot%\System32\Config, you will need to either rename the forensic workstation s evt files or overwrite whatever log files your system was currently using 5 Use Control Panel | Services to start the EventLog service by selecting Manual Start and then starting the EventLog service 6 Start Event Viewer You will now be able to view the evidence event logs
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