Audit Your Linux Box

Core Technology

Article from Issue 195/2017
Author(s):

Look for intruders and study the health of your system with Linux auditing tools.

No one enjoys being tracked. In Free Software and Linux, we take privacy very seriously. Yet, we sometimes set surveillance cameras to watch the back yard. We hardly ever look at the recordings, unless things go wrong. Then we could use videos to learn who broke that window.

Audit in Linux works much the same way. It captures security-related events, such as file access, system calls, user logins, or system reboots. Then it stores these logs safely and lets you search through them. This process doesn't add any security by itself, but it helps to track intruders. Having this is a prerequisite to Common Criteria certification, and it's a good way to peek into the system's operation for learning, fun, and profit.

The Big Picture

The Linux audit framework spans multiple components, both in userspace and in the kernel (Figure  1).

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