Gravwell Blog

Gravwell and Windows Event Logging

Dec 18, 2017 9:00:00 AM / by Kris Watts posted in Case study, EventLog, Windows, Security

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TL;DR

We are going to dive into Windows and show how to get logs flowing into Gravwell in under 5 minutes with the WinEvent ingester. Using the Windows queries we will audit login behavior, RDP usage, some Windows Defender, and identify when Bob from accounting is copying sensitive financial data to external storage devices. Also, Taylor Swift is involved; don't panic, just stay with me.

Overview

This Gravwell post is all about the wild world of Windows Event logging and analytics. Both Unix and Windows provide standardized central logging facilities; however, the structure and format of the stored logs are dramatically different. Syslog and most other logging systems with roots in Unix approach logging as an unstructured stream: a log entry is a string of text, no more, no less (we are going to ignore journald and its binary madness). Windows, however, logs all events in fully-formed XML and the logging system is integrated into the operating system itself.  We should also note that logging in Windows is... less than ideal.  If you are coming from the Unix world, throw out all your assumptions; things are different here.

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