Windows Audit Reports

by Cody Dumont
August 26, 2014

Governance, Risk Management, and Compliance is a substantial part of any information assurance program. The GRC requires information systems to be audited, regardless of the standard to which the audit is performed. These reports provide the audit results for Windows, Windows File Contents, and SCAP Audits for Windows..

One of the initial steps in a successful GRC program is to set configuration guidelines and establish a supportable set of security policies. SecurityCenter CV can measure compliance, using audit files that cover a wide range of major regulations and other auditable standards. Tenable provides over 500 audit files, which are available for download from the Tenable Support Portal, in categories such as operating systems, applications, databases, and network devices. Tenable products can be used to audit systems based on SCAP content, and many Tenable audit policies have been certified by the Center for Internet Security (CIS). For more information on using audit files, see the Nessus Compliance Checks: Auditing System Configurations and Content document.

These reports are available in the SecurityCenter Feed, an app store of dashboards, reports, and assets. The reports can be easily located in the SecurityCenter Feed by selecting category Compliance & Configuration Assessment, and then selecting tags audit and compliance. The requirements for these reports are:

  • SecurityCenter 4.8.1
  • Nessus 5.2.7
  • Compliance Data

Audit files can be customized to match the values defined in an organization’s corporate policies. The organization can review several audit files and then create a specific audit file that applies directly its policies. When an audit is performed, for each individual compliance check, Nessus attempts to determine if the host is compliant, non-compliant, or if the results are inconclusive and need to be verified manually. Unlike a vulnerability check that only reports if the vulnerability is actually present, a compliance check always reports a result. This way, the data can be used as the basis of an audit report to show that a host passed or failed a specific test, or if it could not be properly tested.

SecurityCenter Continuous View (SC CV) is the market leader in providing a unique combination of vulnerability detection, compliance auditing, and reporting. SC CV supports auditing more technologies than any other vendor including operating systems, network devices, hypervisors, databases, tablets, phones, web servers, and critical infrastructure. Nessus is continuously updated with information about advanced threats and zero-day vulnerabilities, and new types of regulatory compliance configuration audits. This makes SC CV the market-defining continuous network monitoring platform, and Nessus the market-defining vulnerability scanning for auditors and security analysts.

Windows Audit Report - SecurityCenter Center (SC CV) using Nessus can test for any setting that can be configured as a 'policy' under the Microsoft Windows framework. There are several hundred registry settings that can be audited and the permissions of files, directories, and objects can also be analyzed. The audit policy can check many settings; for example, with Access Control Lists the audit policy can audit ACL's applied to Registry, Services, and File Access. Other more complex checks can check the Group Policy settings, Registry entries, or local system policies currently applied to the Windows computer. More information about audit files can be found in the Tenable Discussion Forums, Tenable Support Portal, Nessus Compliance Checks, and Nessus Compliance Reference.

Windows File Contents Audit Report - SecurityCenter Center (SC CV) using Nessus can perform Windows Content audit checks. The content audit checks differ from Windows Configuration audit checks in that they are designed to search a Windows file system for specific file types containing sensitive data rather than enumerate system configuration settings. The content audit checks include a range of options to help the auditor narrow down the search parameters and more efficiently locate and display noncompliant data. An example of noncompliant content is PII (Personally Identifiable Information) or PHI (Protected Health Information). More information about audit files can be found in the Tenable Discussion Forums, Tenable Support Portal, Nessus Compliance Checks, and Nessus Compliance Reference.

SCAP Windows Audit Report - SecurityCenter Center (SC CV) using Nessus can assess Windows systems based on the Security Content Automation Protocol (SCAP). SCAP relies on multiple standards, which may change as threat and desktop environments evolve. Tenable was an early adopter of NIST SCAP content and is one of the first vendors to implement NIST CVSS version 2 scoring, as well as one of the first to provide SCAP testing content to customers. SecurityCenter CV 4.8 and higher have been designed to work with the official XCCDF Tier IV content used in the SCAP program. More information about the audit files can be found in the Tenable Discussion Forums, Tenable Support Portal, and SecurityCenter 4.7 SCAP Assessments.