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Preparing for Incident Response
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The utilities used to record baseline information must be trusted to work as advertised A common trick of an intruder is to substitute a trojaned utility for the original An intruder may replace the MD5 utility with a version that does not display the correct checksums If a trojaned MD5 utility is used when recording the system baseline information, the system baseline information could be inaccurate You need to ensure that you use known-good copies of system utilities when recording system baseline information The system baseline information also must be stored securely in order to be useful Storing the baseline information on the local hard drive is a bad idea! Once the system is compromised, the intruder could modify or delete the baseline information The baseline information should be stored offline in a secure environment Ideally, this means saving the information to media such as CD-ROMs and locking the CDs in a safe-deposit box
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Increasing or Enabling Secure Audit Logging
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Almost every operating system and many applications provide significant logging capabilities If investigators could review complete logs after every suspected incident, answering the question What happened would be much easier Unfortunately, the default logging capabilities of most software are less than ideal To get the most out of your logs, a little tweaking is necessary By configuring your log files, you can make them more complete and less likely to be corrupted
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Unix provides a smorgasbord of logs We ll cover the merits of each in 13 Here, we will explain how to expand the default logging capabilities so that you ll have plenty of data to review in the event of an incident Controlling System Logging Syslog, short for system logging, is the heart and soul of Unix log files Any program can generate syslog messages, which are sent to the syslogd program The syslogd program then stores the messages to any or all of several configurable locations Syslogd is controlled through the configuration file /etc/syslogconf Syslogconf consists of two fields: selector and action The selector field contains the facility (where the message is generated from) and the priority (the severity of the message) The action field controls where the message is logged To ensure that your syslog messages are useful and present, configure syslogd as follows: M Log all auth messages (which generally are security-related messages) with a priority of info or higher to the /var/log/syslog or /var/log/messages file
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Since disk space is cheap and logs are priceless, we recommend that you log everything In the event of an incident, seemingly inconsequential system messages may be surprisingly relevant To log all messages to a file, replace the selector and action fields with the wildcard *:
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Now all relative data is being saved on the system Setting Up Remote Logging If an attacker logs in to a Unix server as root using the Secure Shell service and a guessed password, the attacker s login information, including source address, will be saved in the syslog or messages file However, the attacker could delete or modify the /var/log/syslog or messages file, erasing this important evidence To avoid this problem, set up secure remote logging This is one of the more important steps of pre-incident preparation Remote logging is configured through two steps First, create a central syslog server that accepts incoming syslog messages This is a system whose only purpose is to receive syslog messages via the User Datagram Protocol (UDP) on port 514 To configure this system, you must run syslogd with the r option, which enables receiving syslog messages from the network (Syslogd is generally run through the rc startup scripts) Next, configure other servers to log their messages to this syslog server You can configure this behavior by modifying the action field in the syslogconf file as follows:
auth* @1010101
1010101 is the IP address of the remote syslog server Assuming the syslog server cannot be compromised, you have now secured the syslog messages In the event of a compromise, the syslog messages will still be valid (An attacker could add false messages but could not delete or modify existing messages) Enabling Process Accounting One of the lesser-known logging capabilities of Unix is process accounting Process accounting tracks the commands that each user executes The log file is usually found in the /var/adm, /var/log, or /usr/adm directory, and it is called either pacct or acct The file itself is not human-readable It must be viewed with the lastcomm or acctcomm command For some Unix flavors, such as Red Hat Linux, the process accounting package may not be included as part of the default installation, so you will need to install it in order to use process accounting To enable process accounting on your system, use the accton command or the startup command (usually /usr/lib/acct/startup) While the benefits of this command are extraordinary to the investigator, they are not always reliable in the event of a compromise, because the intruder can delete or modify the log file The good news is that there are no publicly available hacker tools (that we know of) that are designed to modify process accounting logs So, it is an all-or-none situation for any attacker who
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