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File Integrity Monitoring

by Megan Daudelin
September 9, 2015

File integrity monitoring is a key component of any information security program. Changes to configurations, files, and file attributes across the network are common, but the few that impact file or configuration integrity can be hidden within a large volume of daily changes. These changes can also reduce security posture and in some cases may be leading indicators of a breach in progress. Values monitored for unexpected changes to files or configuration items include credentials, privileges and security settings, content, core attributes and size, hash values, and configuration values. Several compliance regulations require file integrity monitoring, including PCI DSS, HIPAA, and NERC SIP.

The File Integrity Monitoring dashboard assists security teams in tracking file integrity events on the network. The dashboard relies on normalized logs processed by the Log Correlation Engine (LCE), which provides an enhanced view of the events on the network related to file integrity. Data is filtered and displayed based on operating system, IP address, event type, and normalized event keywords.

The components in this dashboard provide several views into the file integrity status of the network. These views help security teams monitor file integrity events to ensure that necessary security measures are implemented. The detailed event information shows analysts the most common file change events and where they originate. Trend data demonstrates the rates of events over time; spikes in activity could be indicative of intentional measures such as patches or updates being applied, or they could be an indication of malicious activity on the network. Counts of events by IP address are tracked to show which hosts generate the greatest counts of file integrity events so that necessary steps can be taken. Events are also tracked by operating system and file type to help teams understand the ratio of file integrity events occurring on Windows or Unix hosts compared to the whole network, as well as the ratio of total Windows or Unix file integrity events to events of specific file types. Together, the components in this dashboard provide a platform from which to monitor file integrity events on the network.

The dashboard and its components are available in the SecurityCenter Feed, a comprehensive collection of dashboards, reports, assurance report cards and assets. The dashboard can be easily located in the SecurityCenter Feed under the category Monitoring.

The dashboard requirements are:

  • SecurityCenter 4.8.2
  • LCE 4.6.0
  • LCE Client 4.4.0

SecurityCenter Continuous View (CV) provides continuous network monitoring, vulnerability identification, risk reduction, and compliance monitoring. Nessus is continuously updated with information about advanced threats and zero-day vulnerabilities, and new types of regulatory compliance configuration audits. By integrating with LCE, SecurityCenter CV provides the most comprehensive view of vulnerability data.

This dashboard contains the following components:

  • File and Directory Change Event Details - Past 7 Days: This table lists the events related to file changes detected in the past 7 days by count. This table uses the Normalized Event Summary tool and filters based on the keyword "File" and the "detected-change" type. The data in this table can be useful in determining the most common file change events and where they originate.
  • File and Directory Change Event Details - Past 25 Days: This table lists the events related to file changes detected in the past 25 days by count. This table uses the Normalized Event Summary tool and filters based on the keyword "File" and the "detected-change" type. The data in this table can be useful in determining the most common file change events and where they originate.
  • Unix and Windows File Integrity Trend - Past 25 Days: This area chart depicts the trend of file integrity events over the past 25 days on Unix and Windows operating systems. This chart uses LCE "detected-change" events filtered by Unix and Windows operating systems. This trend data demonstrates the rates of events over time. Spikes in activity could be indicative of intentional measures such as patches or updates being applied, or they could be an indication of malicious activity on the network.
  • IP Addresses with File Integrity Events - Past 15 Days: This table lists the IP addresses that have file change events attributed to them in the past 15 days. These addresses are listed by count and filtered based on the keyword "File" and the "detected-change" type. This table is helpful in identifying the hosts with the greatest counts of file integrity events so that necessary steps can be taken.
  • File Integrity Monitoring Trend - Past 25 Days: This line chart illustrates the rate of file integrity events over the past 25 days. This chart is filtered based on the "detected-change" type. This trend data depicts the rates of events over time. Spikes in activity could be indicative of intentional measures such as patches or updates being applied, or they could be an indication of malicious activity on the network.
  • Windows File Integrity Events - Past 7 Days: This matrix displays the number of file integrity events seen on Windows hosts in the past 7 days. The columns filter the total number of events by executable, library, configuration, and miscellaneous files. This matrix can be helpful in understanding the ratio of file integrity events occurring on Windows hosts compared to the whole network, as well as the ratio of total Windows file integrity events to events of specific file types.
  • Unix File Integrity Events - Past 7 Days: This matrix displays the number of file integrity events seen on Unix hosts in the past 7 days. The columns filter the total number of events by executable, library, configuration, and miscellaneous files. This matrix can be helpful in understanding the ratio of file integrity events occurring on Unix hosts compared to the whole network, as well as the ratio of total Unix file integrity events to events of specific file types.