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What are security logging and monitoring failures?

Educative Team

Security logging and monitoring

Logging and monitoring provide raw data that helps to identify possible threats. This happens when the system administration looks deeply into the data and identifies unusual patterns. These processes act as pillars that are the foundation for a robust security framework.

In case of security incidents or data loss in a system, logging and monitoring help find the actual cause for any failure. However, sometimes it isn't possible to dig deeper into the problem and track things because there are no monitoring logs.

Importance of logging and monitoring systems

It’s essential to have functional logging and monitoring systems, as they provide logs and information to give timely alerts to the system if any malfunction or error occurs. This protects the system from further damage.

However, these issues don't frequently cause any vulnerability. Logging and monitoring become especially important in tracing back when the system shows any abnormal behavior. Their failure or absence highly impacts transparency, visibility, and incident alerting.

If the system doesn't maintain any logging mechanism, or these mechanisms fail, there is no audit trail for events and security analysis. Therefore, attackers can keep damaging our system because their identity and method of attacking cannot be easily determined.

The illustration below shows how logs help identify the patterns. The illustration also provides information for system improvement and maintenance.

How logging and monitoring help identify patterns for a system

Vulnerabilities and threats of these failures

Here are some of the vulnerabilities of logging and monitoring failures:

  • There is no logging for login and failed attempts.
  • Weak monitoring systems are unable to detect suspicious or alarming future situations.
  • In the case of locally stored logs, if a server fails, these logs become unavailable.
  • Monitoring and logging are not protected for integrity. Therefore, anyone can corrupt the data to give a false alarm.
  • We might be unable to find any insight or useful information due to vague and broken logs.

Threats

Here are some threats caused due to poor logging and monitoring:

  • Botnet attacks
  • DNS attacks
  • Insider threats
  • Malware traffic
  • Ransomware attacks
  • Advanced persistent threats

How to avoid failures

The following measures can be taken to avoid logging and monitoring failures:

  • Make sure that all login and failed attempts are logged properly.
  • Maintain an updated copy of all the logs that are useful in case the server faces any issues.
  • The logs should be kept in a formatted manner that can be used by other functions and log management solutions. Unformatted logs can be a burden to look into.
  • Ensure that the monitoring and logging system alerts in real time. Alerting and alarming the system after the damage has been done is not beneficial.
  • Protect the logs to ensure their integrity.

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security
logging
monitoring
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