Lead Image © damedeeso, 123RF.com

Lead Image © damedeeso, 123RF.com

Keep an eye on your network

Nosy Parker

Article from ADMIN 52/2019
Osquery is a cross-platform open source tool that you can use to query your network, just like a database.

A Linux installation has many tools to query different aspects of the system. Some tools, like top and ps, give a nice overview, whereas others, like ip, interface directly with the kernel. The number of tools at your disposal quickly multiplies if you manage a network with various operating systems, and, while having access to several utilities sounds like a good thing, juggling them and their respective syntax is quite bothersome.

If you crave a unified interface for querying the different aspects of the operating system, you need osquery. Osquery [1] is a cross-platform open source tool originally created by Facebook that, as its name suggests, is designed to query various details about the state of your machines.

The osquery tool works across Linux, Windows, and macOS and exposes operating system configuration data in the form of relational database tables. In other words, osquery turns a Linux installation into one giant database, with tables that you can query using SQL-like statements. With these queries, you can check on running processes, loaded kernel modules, and active user accounts, and you can even monitor file integrity, check the status and configuration of the firewall, perform security audits of the target server, and lots more. The tool uses a high level of the SQLite dialect, which isn't too difficult to grasp, even for those unfamiliar with SQL.

Loaded Question

Although osquery won't be available in your distribution's official repositories, installing it isn't much of an issue. The tool is available as a source tarball along with pre-packed binaries for RPM- and DEB-based distributions. You can also install it by adding its repository for your respective distribution. In this tutorial, I'll install osquery on top of a CentOS 7 installation.

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