Annual Computer Security Applications Conference (ACSAC) 2022

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FAuST: Striking a Bargain between Forensic Auditing’s Security and Throughput

System logs are invaluable to forensic audits, but grow so large that in practice fine-grained logs are quickly discarded – if captured at all – preventing the real-world use of the provenance-based investigation techniques that have gained popularity in the literature. Encouragingly, forensically-informed methods for reducing the size of system logs are a subject of frequent study. Unfortunately, many of these techniques are designed for offline reduction in a central server, meaning that the up-front cost of log capture, storage, and transmission must still be paid at the endpoints. Moreover, to date these techniques exist as isolated (and, often, closed-source) implementations; there does not exist a comprehensive framework through which the combined benefits of multiple log reduction techniques can be enjoyed.

In this work, we present FAuST, an audit daemon for performing streaming log reduction at system endpoints. After registering with a log source (e.g., via Linux Audit’s audisp utility), FAuST incrementally builds an in-memory provenance graph of recent system activity. During graph construction, log reduction techniques that can be applied to local subgraphs are invoked immediately using event callback handlers, while techniques meant for application on the global graph are invoked in periodic epochs. We evaluate FAuST, loaded with eight different log reduction modules from the literature, against the DARPA Transparent Computing datasets. Our experiments demonstrate the efficient performance of FAuST and identify certain subsets of reduction techniques that are synergistic with one another. Thus, our (soon-to-be open source) FAuST system dramatically simplifies the evaluation and deployment of log reduction techniques.

Muhammad Adil Inam
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Akul Goyal
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Jason Liu
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Jaron Mink
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Noor Michael
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Sneha Gaur
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Adam Bates
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Wajih Ul Hassan
University of Virginia

Paper (ACM DL)



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