Thursday, March 06, 2008

Logging Poll #6 "Which Logs Do You LOOK At?" Analysis

This poll on looking at logs  poll was relatively popular; lets see what we can learn (live results are also here).


First, what are the top 3 log types that people look at? They are:

  1. Unix/Linux server syslog
  2. Web server logs
  3. Firewall logs

How does that compare with the top 3 log types that people collect (see picture showing results from my previous poll below)?


These are:

  1. Unix/Linux server syslog
  2. Firewall logs
  3. Web server logs

Huh? They are the same - doesn't it just make sense? What are the possibilities here?

a. People only collect the logs they plan to look at, OR

b. People look at logs they collect (duh!).

Strangely, I find a) unlikely; I think most people collect more than they can review and that the incident/issue response and compliance needs drive collection more than review or analysis.

Another observation is that all of the "big 3" log types are useful for security, operations and compliance and not just for security (like NIDS/NIPS logs). Is that why they are so popular?

Second, I was fearful that "I only look at whatever logs needed for the incident/issue investigation" will win. It didn't!!! This to me indicates that proactive log review is not as unpopular as I feared. Good! It is working.

Third, obviously, nobody (well, 4%...) looks at all logs they collect.

Fourth, much more people look at Unix/Linux logs than Windows server logs (factor of 3x); this is not entirely unexpected and my next poll will drill down into this.\

Finally, I am SHOCKED that people don't look at NIDS/NIPS logs (only 11% do). People, what's wrong with you? :-) Why have you deployed those beasts if you don't look at what they produce? Then again, maybe you haven't :-(

Next poll coming up!

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Dr Anton Chuvakin