NetVision Company Blog

A Discussion on Effective Audit of User Access

Tracking Failed Logon attempts to Active Directory

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One method of monitoring possible inappropriate access attempts to Active Directory is to watch for Failed Logon attempts.  One way to do that is to monitor specific events in the Security Event Log on ALL servers within an environment.  The challenge with this has always been trying to monitor and gather all the appropriate information across all systems within an environment.

NetVision has greatly simplified this by centralizing the effort and applying filters at the event source that allow the system to gather only appropriate data and act upon the event information according to pre-defined rules (record it, write to file, send an alert, etc.)

NetVision reports on the following types of Failed Logons:

  1. Failed Logon attempts to the Local System
  2. Failed Logon because an account is Disabled
  3. Failed Logon because an account is Expired
  4. Failed Logon because an account is Locked
  5. Failed Logon because of Machine Restrictions
  6. Failed Logon because of an accounts Password is Expired
  7. Failed Logon because of a Time Restriction
  8. Failed Logon because of an account Type Restriction
  9. Failed Logon because an account is Unknown

NetVision allows you to gather and process ALL Failed Logons centrally so you can evaluate the events, build appropriate reports, and take action on possibly inappropriate behaviors within your environment.

UPDATED: We can also track and report on failed logon attempts without relying on the security event log, making it easy to capture and report on a subset of users (such as system administrators) without having to store ALL failed logon attempts across the enterprise.  …forgot to mention that in the original post.

Actionable Intelligence

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In my other blog, I recently discussed how Actionable Intelligence seems to be the achilles heal of SIEM solutions.  I promised to continue that discussion with a few words about NetVision’s approach to the problem.  And it’s quite simple actually.

The SIEMs and enterprise log management vendors seemed to have started from a different viewpoint.  They began by thinking about the dozens (or hundreds) of systems and applications that generate logs.  They thought about how to best collect logs from heterogeneous sources and then attempted to correlate information across different types of data.  For some organizations, these solutions must seem heaven-sent.  How else would you deal with all that log information?  How else would you collect, capture, and store those logs in case you need to look through them in the future?

Where they seem to fall short, though, is in providing actionable intelligence about what’s happening in the environment.  How could they?  They collect logs from hundreds of systems at once.  Even if it’s possible to setup alerts or actions based on some activity, someone would need to figure out how to interpret the logs, understand what possible values would be in the logs, configure the appropriate response to each event type in each system, and constantly monitor and keep them all up to date.  Doesn’t sound fun.  Certainly not simple.

Our angle of sight is different.  We see the core network directory (Microsoft Active Directory or Novell eDirectory) as the heart of the network.  It grants network access (sometimes local access to the workstation) and is often used to authenticate requests from VPNs, portals, and other systems.  A new account in the directory means a new identity to keep track of and a new potential threat on the network.  So that’s where we’ve focused since 1995.

We are buried deep within the core network directory and related file systems.  We don’t scrape logs and we’re not worried about what logs are being generated by some router or web server out in the network. Because of that focus, we have been able to build extensive tools that make it easy to filter on the types of events and information that are important to you.  And we’ve taken it a step further.

With our SIMON managed service, you don’t have to know anything about creating policies or configuring filters.  We do it all for you based on best-practices, years of experience, and your own personal needs.

The end result?  Actionable Intelligence.

You get emails when you want them that tell you who made a change, what change they made, and the before- and after- values.  Some events just write to the database, others kick out files, others generate alerts.  Some decisions are based on the resource (domain admins group).  Other decisions are based on the actor (employees scheduled to exit the company), the attribute changed, or even the time-of-day.  Data is transformed immediately into information and then analyzed and re-routed as appropriate.

This isn’t some future reality either.  We’ve been doing this a long time.  And we keep getting better.  I can’t wait to tell you what’s next for us.

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