Saturday, July 25, 2015

SIEM Deployment – Configuring Peering Between ArcSight Loggers

When deploying your SIEM Solution Infrastructure with HP ArcSight products, you may consider installing more than one Logger systems for several reasons.

Without going too much into detail for these reasons, let’s name the 2 major ones, first reaching the computation levels on your system (RAM, CPU or 15000 EPS level indicated in HP ArcSight documents) and second providing redundancy, installing an ArcSight Logger appliance for each datacenter for not consuming too much bandwidth to send logs.

Whatever the reason for using several ArcSight Loggers, the problem of lookup in several databases appears.

The solution for this problem is establishing peering between your Logger appliances. Once peering is established, the pattern you are searching for is executed on all peer Loggers and the result is shown on the Logger you initiated the search.

Below you can find the details on peer configuration between two Loggers.

For peering 2 or more loggers should first authenticate each other. For authentication, 2 methods exist:

  • Authentication with a logger user credentials
  • Authentication with Peer Authorization ID and Code

In this article, we will follow the second method to prevent any problems that may be caused by the user credentials in the first method.

Let's assume, we will initiate the peering on Logger1. To be able to realize it, we should first log in to the Logger2 and generate the Authorization ID and Code for Logger 2.

Once the first step is done, generated values must be entered on Logger1. After successfully saving the configuration Logger Peering is done and logs can be queried through either of the loggers.

UPDATE 29/07/2015: There is something odd about peering config for Loggers. "Add Peer Logger"
option must be configured on both loggers and it is not enough so see one line of peer Logger under Peer Loggers menu. Authorization ID and Code generated on Logger2 for Logger1 must be entered on Logger1 and vice versa. At the end of successfull configuration, you should see 2 identical lines for each Logger you established peering relation under Peer Loggers menu.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

SIEM Planning - Reference Architecture for Midsize Deployments

After going through several websites and documents, I sadly discovered, like many of you had before, that HP haven’t yet published any reference architecture or certified design documents for different needs.

I decided to write a series blog articles to create reference architectures for SIEM deployments, basically for HP ArcSight, but the fact that solution components are more or less similar in different vendors, I believe they will be applicable to all SIEM environments.

Gartner defines a small deployment as one with around 300 log sources and 1500 EPS. A midsize deployment is considered to have up to 1000 log sources and 7000 EPS. Finally a large deployment generally covers more than 1000 log sources with approximately 15000 EPS. There can of course be larger deployments with over 15000 EPS but architecture-wise they can be considered as very “large” deployments.

In this article, I will give the details of a midsize deployment, covering components both for a primary datacenter and a disaster recovery center, working in an active-passive setup.

The reference architecture for midsize deployment is for a scenario where the company needs both a long term log storage solution (ArcSight Logger) and Security Event Management and SOC capabilities (ArcSight ESM).

The scheme below shows how different components of the architecture are set up.

  • In this setup software SmartConnectors are used to collect the logs. Up to 8 software connectors can be configured on a server and 1 GB of memory should be allocated on the server for each connector instance other than what the server needs for its operation.
  • In case appliances are not used, do pay attention to use built-for-purpose hardware servers where resources are not shared because like other big data solutions, these systems are greedy in terms of resources (CPU, Memory, IOPS rate) and do not perform well on virtual environments.
  • Sources send logs to one SmartConnector only. SmartConnector level redundancy is only possible only for Syslog connectors and that when connectors are put behind a load balancer. This also provides load sharing and scalability and is a best practice. DB and File connectors do not have such options as they pull the logs from sources.
  • When a DB or File collector is down, no log is lost until collector comes back as the logs continue to be written on local resources at the source.
  • For log storage and searching, SmartConnectors in each datacenter send their logs to their respective Logger appliance hosted in the same location, providing  important bandwidth savings. Each logger appliance back up the other one using the failover destinations option configured on the SmartConnectors. Thanks to the peering configuration between loggers, logs can be queried through any of the logger appliances without having to connect on each device.
  • DC ESM is the primary ESM for both datacenters. DRC ESM is only used in case of DR
  • Logs and Alerts are archived daily both on ESM and Logger.
  • In DR case, there is no RPO. Configurations for ESM and Logger are planned to be synchronized manually. ESM and Logger are expected to be operational instantly.
  • Configuration backups for SmartConnectors and Loggers are collected using Arcsight Management Center (Arc MC).
  • SmartConnector statistics and status can be easily followed using Arc MC as well. Realizing SmartConnector updates are also recommended to be done over Arc MC using the GUI.
  • SmartConnector level configuration options (aggregation, filter out, batching etc.) are easier to be configured using Arc MC.
  • Finally it is strongly recommended to use a Test ESM system to test all filters, rules, active lists and other configuration objects before applying them on production systems as a misconfguration in these settings may crash your ESM and make you lose very valuable data.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

SIEM Deployment - ArcSight Logger 6.0 P2 is out

Logger 6.0 P2 is now available for download from HP Software support download page. Note that it is referred to as Logger 6.02 on the download site.

Logger 6.0 P2 includes:
  • Important security updates (Honestly I could not find what those updates are in the release notes, even though  I went through the document for multiple times)
  • A fix to peer search (LOG-13574).
  • Modifications to SOAP APIs:
  • SOAP API login events in Audit logs
  • SOAP login API now uses the authentication method configured in Logger, which can be an external authentication method, such as Radius. Clients using the SOAP login API must now pass the login credentials for the authentication method configured in Logger (e.g. Radius credentials) instead of the credentials of a local Logger user.

The full release notes can be found HP Protect Website. You may also find the Loggersupport matrix useful.

Some important notes:
  • The data migration tool was updated.
  • Migration from older Logger versions should be done to Logger 6.0 P1 followed by an upgrade to Logger 6.0 P2.
To resume the migration path, it is for most systems 5.0 GA (L5139) > 5.0 Patch 2 (L5355) > 5.1 GA (L5887) > 5.2 Patch 1 (L6307) > 5.3 GA (L6684) > 5.3 SP1 (L6838) > 5.5 (L7049) > 5.5 Patch 1 (L7067) > 6.0 (L7285) > 6.0 Patch 1 (L7307) > 6.0 Patch 2 (L7334).

The Logger trial version is not updated and remains at Logger 6.0 P1.

About OS version supported there are also no changes and RHEL 6.5 and 6.2 as well as CentOS 5.5 and 6.5 are supported.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

SIEM Deployment - Configuring Failover Destinations on HP ArcSight SmartConnectors

SIEM solutions so far seem to be too much focusing on security offerings they propose and they are not offering solid redundancy and disaster solutions.

From architectural perspective, there should be a redundancy option at all layers of the solution architecture. SmartConnectors being the first layer of SIEM interaction with source systems provide a nice redundancy options with “Failover Destination” configuration setting available both for HP ArcSight Logger and HP ArcSight ESM.

For each log processing system, SmartConnector provides a primary destination and a failover destination. As soon as SmartConnector process discovers that logs are not successfully received by the primary destination, they are redirected to the failover destination. Preemption also exists meaning that from the moment primary destination becomes online logs are redirected back to the primary destination.

More detail about the configuration can be seen in the video below.

SIEM Deployment - Installing HP Arcsight SmartConnector on Windows Servers

SIEM system administrators mostly come from Linux world and they prefer using Linux OS for HP ArcSight component installations. I also agree on that decision as the performance and security they provide is superior comparing to Windows Servers.

However there are some situations where you have to use Windows Servers for SmartConnector installations such as when you want to use WinRM application for Windows log collection. Your company may be lacking experienced Linux admins and that could be the second reason to use Windows based SmartConnectors. Last but not the least, as you can see from the installation video, it is much easier to install Windows based SmartConnectors then Linux based ones.

Below, you can find details about the basic installation of an HP ArcSight SmartConnector on a Windows Server for collecting log messages.

  1. A Windows 2008 Server installed.
  2. A user with sufficient rights to install the software.
  3. A user with added to "Event Log Readers" group to read the logs on the server. (OPTIONAL)
  4. Connector binaries downloaded. (Download the correct version for your OS, x86 or x64!!)
  5. Connector destinations ( ArcSight Logger and/or ArcSight ESM) installed and working.
  6. Create a receiver on the logger to connect the connector.
  7. Create a subscription on Event Viewer to get logs.
  8. Check the configuration of log receiving folders and increase size.
  9. Define the protocol and port on which you will listen the incoming logs.
  10. Firewall permissions given for incoming log collection.
  1. Create installation directory preferably under your second partition E:\SmartConnectors\Microsoft.
  2. Run the setup file.
  3. Install the connector to run standalone or as a service.
  4. Start the connector service from services.msc.
  5. Check events on the logger.
  6. Set parameters.(OPTIONAL)
  7. Set agent.wrapper.conf parameters.(OPTIONAL)

Friday, July 10, 2015

SIEM Deployment - ArcSight SmartConnector Build is out

ArcSight SmartConnector Build is now available!


·           New Amazon Web Services CloudTrail SmartConnector which includes support for Identity and Access Management (IAM), Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), and CloudTrail Services.
·           Enhanced support for Logger clustering:
o  Beta support for ArcSight Logger SmartMessage Pool destination type which specifies a pool of logger devices. The events are distributed among the loggers in the pool.
·           New RESTful web services CEF connector and standard:
o  Beta support for ArcSight Common Event Format REST connector to collect CEF events from CEF certified cloud vendors. It also extracts assets and vulnerability information from the CEF events.
·           Enhanced WinC international support:
o  Support for non US locale dates parsing.
o  French, Japanese & Chinese support
·           Enhanced IPv6 support:
o  Added a new parser operation to extract IPv4 addresses embedded in IPv6 addresses.
·           Added support for Tenable SecurityCenter’s Assessment Summary Results (ASR) and Asset Reporting Format (ARF) logs in .xml format
New Device, Component, or OS Version Support

New Device, Component, or OS Version
Blue Coat Proxy SG Syslog
Juniper Pulse Secure Access Syslog (formerly Juniper Secure Access SSL/VPN Syslog)
McAfee Network Security Manager DB (Timestamp Based)
McAfee Network Security Manager DB (ID Based)
SNMP Unified
RSA Identity Management Service 8.1
RSA Authentication Manager 8.1

Saturday, July 4, 2015

SIEM Deployment - Securing HP ArcSight Web Interfaces

2014 and 2015 have been years full of discoveries on cryptographic and algorithmic vulnerabilities starting with Heartbleed following with POODLE and several others. These vulnerabilities pushed many administrators patch their webservers, disable vulnerable protocols (SSLv2, SSLv3 and even TLS1.0) and cipher suites containing weak algorithms (RC4, SHA1, MD5 and others).

ArcSight systems, working over web interfaces, are also subject to these vulnerabilities and possible attacks. Apache web server hosting Logger and Management Center interfaces should be configured to eliminate the cryptographic algorithm and protocol threats.

First of all, to know the status of webserver, we will use the sslscan application with given parameters.

From this output we can see that SSLv2 and SSLv3 protocols are already disabled but protocols such as RC4, DES and Diffie-Hellman are still accepted.

In order to force the webserver to use secure algorithms and protocols we will modify apache configuration file httpd.conf under  <LOGGER_INSTALLATION_DIRECTORY> /local/apache/conf directory, which in my own installation is /opt/arcsight/current/local/apache/conf/.

It is wise to take a backup of the httpd.conf file before making any changes.

# cp httpd.conf httpd.conf.backup

Then we should edit this file with a text editor such as nano or vi.

We should modify the line starting with SSLProtocol and SSLCipherSuite as follows and save the file.

SSLProtocol ALL -SSLv2 -SSLv3


After this operation, so that the changes become active we should restart logger services under <LOGGER_INSTALLATION_DIRECTORY>/arcsight/logger/bin directory with ./loggerd restart command.

When we recheck with sslscan, we see that vulnerable options are no longer supported.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

SIEM Deployment - Installing HP Arcsight Software Connectors on Linux

In HP ArcSight solution architecture one of the most value adding components is the Smart Connectors. With the several functions they provide, Smart Connectors really help differentiating HP ArcSight’s SIEM solution from other.

So what exactly are ArcSight Smart Connectors? In a 3 layered SIEM Architecture, Arcsight Smart Connectors constitute the second layer between log processing systems ( Arcsight Logger or Arcsight ESM) and source systems generating logs according to defined audit policies.

From technical SIEM perspective, ArcSight Smart Connectors are Java applications which allow receiving or fetching logs from one defined log source, which can be several devices sending their logs in syslog format over the same protocol and port number (e.g. UDP 514) or an application writing its logs to a flat file. ArcSight Smart Connectors come with 256 MB minimum memory size and that memory is adjustable up to 1024 MB by configuration file, among other connector properties to be changed according to your specific needs.

One physical server can host up to 8 connector processes, meaning that you can collect logs from 8 different source groups as long as your server support that much capacity.

Below, you can find details about the basic installation of an HP ArcSight Smart Connector on a CentOS Linux server for collecting syslog messages.


1. A RHEL or CentOS Linux 6.X Server installed.
2. Root or sudo rights for connector user.
3. Connector binaries downloaded. (Download the correct version for your OS, x86 or x64 !!)
4. Connector destinations (Logger and/or ESM) installed and working.
5. Define the protocol and port on which you will listen the incoming logs.
   Choose port numbers over 1024 if you are installing with a non-root user as non-root users are not allowed to listen ports below 1024.


1. Create installation directory under /opt path. In this example it is /opt/arcsight/connectors .
2. Create a receiver on the logger to connect the connector.
3. Run the connector binary you previously downloaded. (From /home/arcsight directory in my installation).
# ./ArcSight- -i console
4. Install the connector to run standalone or as a service.
INSTALLATION_PATH\current\bin\arcsight connectors  à Run Standalone
INSTALLATION_PATH \current\bin\arcsight agentsvc -i -u arcsight -sn syslog_unix à Run with arcsight user as a service with arc_syslog_unix service name
5. Check events on the logger.
6. Set parameters (Optional)
7. Set agent.wrapper.conf parameters (Optional)