Top 11 Reasons to Secure and Protect Your Logs

by Anton Chuvakin

Following my now-famous Top 11 Reasons to Collect and Preserve Computer Logs and Top 11 Reasons to Look at Your Logs, here is the promised "Top 11 Reasons to Secure and Protect Your Logs"

  1. Let's review why you are reviewing logs. Will logs that might have been changed by somebody, somewhere, somehow still be useful for items 1-11 from here? No? Secure them!
  2. Oooh, logs in court? Challenges abound! To respond to them, one needs to protect the logs so you can claim that they are both authentic and reliable.
  3. A human error still beats an evil hacker as the main cause of IT problems. Are your logs safe from it? Available when needed? Protect them from crashes and other faults!
  4. PCI DSS just says so: "Secure audit trails so they cannot be altered." Wonna do it- or pay the fines?
  5. Do you protect financial records? Identity info? Passwords? Some of it ends up in logs - thus making them more sensitive. Secure the C-I-A of logs!
  6. Do you look at logs during incident investigation? Do you want them to be "true" or full of random (if creative...) cr*p, inserted by the guilty party? Secure the logs!
  7. Think that "attacks vs logging" are theoretical? Think again. Are your logs safe or vulnerable? Is your logging tool 0wned?
  8. Syslog + UDP = log injection. Are you protected (reliable TCP, confirmed delivery, encryption - SSH, SSL, VPN)?
  9. Why change logs? No, really, why change logs? If you never change logs - and you never should - hash them right away after collection to make them immutable.
  10. Logs are backed up on tape - who will see them? Well, whoever restores the tape, that's who! Encrypt them to protect them from accidental and malicious disclosure if tape is lost.
  11. Why log access to logs? Same reason why you had the logs in the first place - to review who did what. Who broke through and stole the logs? Who browsed them without permission? Only logs will tell - if you have them!

Overall, one need to strive for having no holes in log safeguards from log birth to analyst conclusion based on log information...

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