OSSEC: Agentless…It’s good, but not good enough

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In working with OSSEC agentless for some time now I have come across some limitations in the implementation that I felt needed to be addressed. As OSSEC agentless is designed to preform syscheck functions on remote hosts, more general features are hard (if not impossible) to write into a script.

Currently in OSSEC, agentless scripts are limited to the following commands:

Command Description
INFO: The string following INFO will be logged to /var/ossec/logs/ossec.log by OSSEC for debugging.
ERROR: Error needs to be reported. The string following this command is forwarded to the OSSEC manager, and the OSSEC process closes down the script.
STORE: All the lines that follow this command will be added, stored, and compared to previous runs of the script.
FWD: The string following FWD is a colon delimited list of stats on a given file. Example: FWD: <size>:<permissions>:<uid>:<gid>:<md5>:<sha1> <path & file>

Given the choices listed here more advanced agentless scripts are just not reasonably possible. I require the ability to pass more information to the OSSEC agentless process and have it raise alerts based on this information.

Solution patch OSSEC

So I starting digging into the OSSEC code. I am not a C coder, I don’t even play one on TV, but the OSSEC’s code is clear and has just enough comments to allow me to understand how things function. Once I saw where the communication happens between ossec-agentless and it’s subprocess I was quickly able to add a new OSSEC Agentless Command.

Command Description
LOG: The string following LOG: will be passed into ossec-analysisd and processed like all other log messages.

This simple command allow scripts to generate messages that will get processed by the standard OSSEC decoders and rules.

Patching OSSEC

The patch I created works with the current code release of OSSEC. To apply the patch, first download OSSEC version 2.2 from the website. In the instructions below, I have changed to the tmp directory first as we will be removing the source files once we have finished the install.

obsd46# cd /tmp 
obsd46# ftp http://www.ossec.net/files/ossec-hids-2.2.tar.gz
Trying 75.126.165.213...
Requesting http://www.ossec.net/files/ossec-hids-2.2.tar.gz
100% |******************************************************************|   692 KB    00:03    
Successfully retrieved file.

Now expand the downloaded archive and change into the newly created directory ossec-hids-2.2.

obsd46# tar xfz ossec-hids-2.2.tar.gz                                                                                                                                                   
obsd46# cd ossec-hids-2.2       

This is where most of the work will happen, but first we need to download the patch.

obsd46# ftp http://praetorianprefect.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/agentless.patch.txt                             
Trying 75.101.150.229...
Requesting http://praetorianprefect.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/agentless.patch.txt
100% |******************************************************************| 10278       00:00    
Successfully retrieved file.

Now we just apply the patch. We will use the patch command do this, but using the argument -p1 to apply the patch cleanly to all sub-directories.

obsd46# patch -p1 < agentless.patch.txt  
Hmm... this looks like a unified diff to me...
The text leading up to this was:
 |-------------------------
 |diff -r 55072a52aaa4 -r 673c04be67e9 etc/decoder.xml
 |--- a/etc/decoder.xml  Wed Nov 04 20:51:36 2009 -0500
 |+++ b/etc/decoder.xml  Fri Nov 06 19:53:36 2009 +0000
 |-------------------------
Patching file etc/decoder.xml using Plan A...
Hunk #1 succeeded at 70.
Hunk #2 succeeded at 1498.
Hmm...  The next patch looks like a unified diff to me...
The text leading up to this was:
 |-------------------------
 |diff -r 55072a52aaa4 -r 673c04be67e9 etc/rules/agentless_rules.xml
 |--- /dev/null  Thu Jan 01 00:00:00 1970 +0000
 |+++ b/etc/rules/agentless_rules.xml    Fri Nov 06 19:53:36 2009 +000 0
 |-------------------------
(Creating file etc/rules/agentless_rules.xml...)
Patching file etc/rules/agentless_rules.xml using Plan A...
Empty context always matches.
Hunk #1 succeeded at 1.
Hmm...  The next patch looks like a unified diff to me...
The text leading up to this was:
 |-------------------------
 |diff -r 55072a52aaa4 -r 673c04be67e9 etc/rules/ossec_rules.xml
 |--- a/etc/rules/ossec_rules.xml        Wed Nov 04 20:51:36 2009 -0500
 |+++ b/etc/rules/ossec_rules.xml        Fri Nov 06 19:53:36 2009 +0000
 |-------------------------
Patching file etc/rules/ossec_rules.xml using Plan A...
Hunk #1 succeeded at 153.
Hmm...  The next patch looks like a unified diff to me...
The text leading up to this was:
 |-------------------------
 |diff -r 55072a52aaa4 -r 673c04be67e9 etc/templates/config/rules.template
 |--- a/etc/templates/config/rules.template      Wed Nov 04 20:51:36 2009 -0500
 |+++ b/etc/templates/config/rules.template      Fri Nov 06 19:53:36 2009 +0000
 |-------------------------
Patching file etc/templates/config/rules.template using Plan A...
Hunk #1 succeeded at 44.
Hmm...  The next patch looks like a unified diff to me...
The text leading up to this was:
 |-------------------------
 |diff -r 55072a52aaa4 -r 673c04be67e9 src/agentlessd/scripts/nmap_policy
 |--- /dev/null  Thu Jan 01 00:00:00 1970 +0000
 |+++ b/src/agentlessd/scripts/nmap_policy       Fri Nov 06 19:53:36 2009 +0000
 |-------------------------
(Creating file src/agentlessd/scripts/nmap_policy...)
Patching file src/agentlessd/scripts/nmap_policy using Plan A...
Empty context always matches.
Hunk #1 succeeded at 1.
done 

Now we have a completed all the OSSEC 2.2 code patches for the expanded agentless features. At this point you will need to compile and install OSSEC. For full details the main OSSEC website covers this topic in more detail. A key thing to note here is that OSSEC has to be installed as a server or locally.

Please see my article on how to enable OSSEC agentless monitoring.

Making use of the new features

Now that we have a patched and installed version of OSSEC we can take advantage of the newly added features. Included with the patch is a new Agentless OSSEC script nmap_policy. This script is really not designed for production use, rather it’s geared to show how to use the new agentless features.

Let’s get into the details. Start by running the new script and looking at the output. I should note that this script uses python and needs at least version 2.5 in order to parse the xml output from nmap.

obsd45# (cd /var/ossec && ./agentless -b 21,23,80 -n 172.17.20.20/32 )
INFO: Starting
INFO: running `nmap -p 21,23,80 -oX - 172.17.20.0/24` command
INFO: completed `nmap -p 21,23,80 -oX - 172.17.20.0/24` command
LOG:alert=11 Policy violation port 80 (http) is open on host 172.17.20.1 (00:0E:83:A9:E6:80 Cisco Systems)
LOG:alert=11 Policy violation port 23 (telnet) is open on host 172.17.20.1 (00:0E:83:A9:E6:80 Cisco Systems)
LOG:alert=11 Policy violation port 80 (http) is open on host 172.17.20.19 (00:18:8B:1E:27:A5 Dell)
LOG:alert=11 Policy violation port 80 (http) is open on host 172.17.20.20 (00:0C:29:84:72:11 VMware)
LOG:alert=11 Policy violation port 21 (ftp) is open on host 172.17.20.20 (00:0C:29:84:72:11 VMware)
LOG:alert=11 Policy violation port 80 (http) is open on host 172.17.20.21 (00:0C:29:8D:39:E4 VMware)
LOG:alert=11 Policy violation port 21 (ftp) is open on host 172.17.20.21 (00:0C:29:8D:39:E4 VMware)
LOG:alert=11 Policy violation port 80 (http) is open on host 172.17.20.31 (00:0C:29:29:CF:35 VMware)
LOG:alert=11 Policy violation port 80 (http) is open on host 172.17.20.32 (00:0C:29:58:5F:C1 VMware)
LOG:alert=11 Policy violation port 80 (http) is open on host 172.17.20.57 (00:1E:0B:9D:C0:03 Hewlett Packard)
LOG:alert=11 Policy violation port 80 (http) is open on host 172.17.20.91 (00:14:38:D8:01:DD Hewlett Packard)
LOG:alert=11 Policy violation port 21 (ftp) is open on host 172.17.20.134 (00:1E:C2:03:2D:E8 Apple)
LOG:alert=11 Policy violation port 80 (http) is open on host 172.17.20.202 (00:19:B9:24:7E:F2 Dell)
LOG:alert=11 Policy violation port 80 (http) is open on host 172.17.20.203 (00:19:B9:24:7E:F2 Dell)
INFO: Ending

So what this script does is run nmap and looks for ports that are open and not allowed per an internal policy. In this example I checked for http, telnet, and ftp, but the selection of ports is configurable with the -b/--badport arguments. The second argument -n/--network is used to specify which IP addresses to scan. The format of this option is very liberal, in fact any valid nmap network specification will work.

Just as I specified above any string following the LOG: OSSEC agentless command will be pushed to the ossec-analysisd process for decoding and rules filtering.

As part of the patch I have also included an updated decode.xml and a new agentless_rules.xml to begin the first level of processing of output from the scripts. Using ossec-logtest we can see this in action, but due to how ossec-agentlessd processes the messages we need to slightly modify the output for it to work with ossec-logtest.

obsd46# (cd /var/ossec && ./bin/ossec-logtest )                                                                                                                                                            
2009/11/06 20:48:28 ossec-testrule: INFO: Started (pid: 9789).
ossec-testrule: Type one log per line.

Agentless: Log:alert=11 Policy violation port 80 (http) is open on host 172.17.20.1 (00:0E:83:A9:E6:80 Cisco Systems)


**Phase 1: Completed pre-decoding.
       full event: 'Agentless: Log:alert=11 Policy violation port 80 (http) is open on host 172.17.20.1 (00:0E:83:A9:E6:80 Cisco Systems)'
       hostname: 'a'
       program_name: '(null)'
       log: 'Agentless: Log:alert=11 Policy violation port 80 (http) is open on host 172.17.20.1 (00:0E:83:A9:E6:80 Cisco Systems)'

**Phase 2: Completed decoding.
       decoder: 'agentless'
       id: '11'
       extra_data: 'Policy violation port 80 (http) is open on host 172.17.20.1 (00:0E:83:A9:E6:80 Cisco Systems)'

**Phase 3: Completed filtering (rules).
       Rule id: '10011'
       Level: '11'
       Description: 'Agentless.'
**Alert to be generated.

You can see from the output that a level 11 alert would be generated for the line we just tested with ossec-logtest. In the case of the full output of the nmap_policy script it has 13 LOG: lines returned and would have generated 13 alerts. Needless to say this is a lot of alerts, so it’s up to you to tune and configure this correctly for your environment.

In our lab here at Praetorian we don’t ever want to see the telnet port open. So lets make this script live, but only checking for telnet. I am going to once again make use of ossec-hids-tools to add the new agentless monitoring. As is always the case a restart of OSSEC will be needed.

obsd46# ossec-config --section agentless --add --host [email protected] --type nmap_policy 
--frequency 86400 --state periodic --argv "-p 23 -n 172.17.20.0/24"
obsd46# (cd /var/ossec && ./bin/ossec-control restart )

While adding this new agentless script I had to specify a --host argument. This is required for OSSEC agentless as the host field is NOT optional. In the case of the script nmap_policy it will have no effect, but this needs to be taken into account when writing your own scripts as the first argument passed will always be what you specified as the host.

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