Photo by Ryoji Iwata on Unsplash

Photo by Ryoji Iwata on Unsplash

Security risks from insufficient logging and monitoring

Turning a Blind Eye

Article from ADMIN 48/2018
By
Although inadequate logging and monitoring cannot generally be exploited for attacks, it nevertheless significantly affects the level of security.

Whether or not an application or a server logs something is initially of no interest to an attacker; neither is whether or not someone evaluates the logged data. No attack technique allows the server to be compromised because of a lack of logging. Nor is it possible to use missing log monitoring directly for attacks against users. The only thing that has happened so far has been direct attacks by logfiles: If a cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability allows the injection of JavaScript malware into logfiles and the administrator evaluates the logfiles with a tool that executes JavaScript, an attack is possible (e.g., by manipulating the web application with the administrator's account or by infecting the computer with malicious code through a drive-by infection).

Knowing Nothing Is a Weakness

Despite the apparent insignificance of logs in system security, "Insufficient Logging & Monitoring" made it into the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) 2017 Top 10 [1] in 10th place, whereas the cross-site request forgery (CSRF) attack, which can cause actual damage, is in 13th place [2]. CSRF attacks got the lower rating because most web applications are now developed using frameworks, and most of them now include CSRF protection. In fact, CSRF vulnerabilities have only been found in about five percent of applications. Another reason for the ranking is that, although insufficient logging and monitoring cannot be exploited directly for attacks, it contributes significantly to the fact that attacks that take place are not detected, which plays into the hands of the attackers.

How much does a penetration test show? The pen tester's actions should be logged so extensively that the attack and its consequences can be traced. If this is not the case, you will have a problem

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