Enhancing Web Server Security with Event Monitoring and Detection - Part 2: Detection

07 May 2023 . category: tech . Comments
#security #panther

Last time we configured Fluentd to collect and transmit activity data from my personal server to Panther. Sinse then, I also onboarded more data sources using Zeek because “all data is security data”, and the more we have, the more sophisticated detections we’ll be able to build.

In this post, we’ll create our first detection. Our goal is to detect any unexpected port that gets opened on the server, as we want to minimize the attack surface of our server. Whenever an unexpected port is detected, we want to be alerted immediately with a High level alert.

First, we’ll use the Custom.Netstat schema that we built using pantherlog to create a detection rule that triggers on unexpected open ports:

allowed_open_ports = [
    '80',    # HTTP
    '443',   # HTTPS
    '22',    # SSH
    '53',    # DNS
    '47760', # Zeek

def get_open_port(event):
    port_delimiter = ':'
    port_index = event['local_address'].rfind(port_delimiter) + 1
    open_port = event['local_address'][port_index:]

    return open_port

def rule(event):
    # Return True to match the log event and trigger an alert.
    open_port = get_open_port(event)

    if open_port not in allowed_open_ports:
        return True

    return False

def title(event):
    # (Optional) Return a string which will be shown as the alert title.
    # If no 'dedup' function is defined, the return value of this method will act as deduplication string.
    open_port = get_open_port(event)

    return f"Unexpected Port Opened: {open_port}"

Next, we’ll test our detection with a few test cases:



As we can see, the detection works as expected. To further validate our detection, we’ll start the FTP daemon on our server using the following command:

systemctl start vsftpd.service

Less than a minute later, the detection triggers a High level alert:


In the next post, we’ll continue building detections, and we’ll detect successful Tor SSH authentications to trigger Critical level alerts.


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