I know we sort of touched on this a few weeks back, but due to the new updates, we will need to revisit this again.

First of all, AlienVault can collect logs in a variety of ways:

a) Device sends logs = this is a classic syslog server set up. Previously we had to go through the rustic rsyslog set up etc in order to get the systems to talk to us. Not anymore. With the new updates, AV sets up easier, faster and less typing needed.

b) AV collects logs = there are several ways AV does that. One is through database plugins, where AV talks direct to the database and gets information from tables. Another way is through Windows Management Istrumentation (WMI), Security device event exchange (SDEE for CISCO).

c) AV collects through HIDS (where you install host intrusion agent for windows and LINUX)

We are going to explore the normal ways which is through a) and c). The B) method is a little advanced and we’ll look at it separately.

For basic logging, get your device to first send logs over to AV.

You will find it hard to believe, but this can be fantastically difficult, especially if your client is not up to par in terms of technicality. One example is that they are not even knowledgeable of their own network. Usually we do just a packet inspection on our interface and if I don’t see stuff coming in from your device, I handoff to you.

Except we don’t.

In PKF Avant Edge, we take responsibility even when it’s clearly NOT our responsibility. It’s silly but unfortunately it’s in our DNA to solve problems even if its not ours.

We have some experience where we troubleshoot for our clients up to firewall policies to be enabled, routing to be enabled etc. if I get 1RM everytime I hear a client say, “No firewall, no ACL! There is no filtering, problem is on your side”, I will be a millionaire. No kidding. It helps that our background is in NOC (network operations centre), so we don’t get bullied too often by network admins.

Once AV receives the logs, all we need to do is to go to ASSET -> Detail and in the tab ‘Plugins’, click on it and select the plugin to enable. Once done, your system is being monitored automatically. There should be a ‘receiving’ under the plugin. To be sure, you can go to command line and type avdevicelog (assuming you’ve put in the alias as suggested in previous post) and you should see a folder with the IP addresses of the systems you are receiving logs in. Go to the folder and just tail -f the file there.

If you see ‘No’ under the receiving data, don’t worry. AV sometimes gets confused as well. Just check the actual logs if it’s in there. Furthermore, go to avagentlog and cat agent.log | grep <pluginid>. You should see quite a fair bit of things here. For instance:

Oct 14 08:48:52 VirtualUSMAllInOne ossim-agent: Alienvault-Agent[INFO]: Plugin[1686] Total lines [14457] TotalEvents:[14457] EPS: [0.00] elapsed [10.01] seconds

This shows that Alienvault is seeing a total lines 14,457 and processing these as events. It means its working.

For an idea where its mapping, go to /etc/ossim/agent and more config.yml. You should see the device-log file mapping for example

– /etc/ossim/agent/plugins/vmware-esxi.cfg:
DEFAULT: {device:, device_id: 29b1cd29-70ac-11e5-a5e9-000c93c2e358}
config: {location: /var/log/alienvault/devices/}

If you see logs coming in but no events, remember – Logs become events become alarms.

That probably would mean your plugin isn’t interpreting the logs properly, and it’s time to dive into creating a plugin or modifying a plugin.

We recommend to copy the plugin and create a new plugin altogether.

For instance, when our Juniper logs had additional dates in there due to an intermediate logger, we created a new plugin, but used the old Juniper plugin and just changed the regex to handle the new fields and it worked terrifically.

Remember a new plugin also requires a new corresponding SQL file, which are found in avsql (if you use the alias we suggested).

Writing plugins is another article. For now, you have successfully set AV up to receive logs, create events and create alarms. No need to set up rsyslog command line anymore and no need to enable those plugins through the alienvault-setup menu. Just go asset->Details->Plugins and you are good to go!