AlienVault® USM Anywhere™

Microsoft Windows DNS Server

When you configure Microsoft Windows DNS Server to send logs through NXLog to USM Anywhere, you can use the Windows DNS Server plugin to translate the raw log data into normalized events for analysis.

Device Details
Device vendor Microsoft
Device type Server
Connection type Syslog
Vendor link

Before you configure Windows Domain Name System (DNS) Server to send logs to USM Anywhere through NXLog, you need to enable debug logging on the DNS server.

To enable DNS server debug logging

  1. From the Windows Start Menu, select All Programs > Administrative Tools > DNS.
  2. From the console tree, right-click the applicable DNS server, and then click Properties.
  3. Click the Debug Logging tab.

    Windows DNS Server Debug Logging

  4. Select Log packets for debugging.

    The most useful debug logging output comes from selecting at least three options:

    • One option under Packet direction
    • One option under Transport protocol
    • At least one more option in another category
  5. (Optional) Consider limiting the traffic captured by applying filters:

    1. Select Filter packets by IP address.
    2. Add the appropriate IP addresses by clicking Filter.

    Warning: Do not select the Details option, because it produces logs in multi-line format instead of single-line, which the USM Anywhere plugins cannot process.

  6. Specify the name and location for the log file.

    For example, in the screenshot above, the file path and name is C:\logs\dns.log. If you use a different file path, you will need to open the nxlog.conf file with a text editor and update the file path in the DNS-NXLOG section to reflect the file path you are using.

  7. Click Apply to save and apply the settings.
  8. Ensure that the log messages use the MM/DD/YYYY date format so USM Anywhere can parse the data correctly.

Configure NXLog

Before you configure the integration, you must have the IP address of the USM Anywhere Sensor.

To install NXLog CE and configure forwarding

  1. Download the newest stable NXLog Community Edition.
  2. Make a backup copy of the original C:\Program Files (x86)\nxlog\conf\nxlog.conf file and give it another name.
  3. Download the NXLog configuration for USM Anywhere and save it as your new nxlog.conf file.
  4. Open the configuration file for editing and replace usmsensoriphere with the IP address of the USM Anywhere Sensor.

    USM Anywhere listens for syslog at UDP port 514, TCP port 601, or TLS/TCP port 6514.

  5. Depending on the protocol you decide to use, edit the configuration file as detailed below. Make sure USM Anywhere allows inbound requests to the corresponding port.

  6. Some sections in the nxlog.conf file have been commented out to improve performance. Depending on which product you want to collect logs from, you need to uncomment the corresponding section.

    • To collect logs from the Microsoft DNS Server, uncomment the section between DNS-NXLOG and /DNS-NXLOG.
    • Verify the file path defined in the section. Update the file name and path to match your DNS debug log location.

      Using the same example above, you need to change the File parameter as shown below:

      <Input DNS_IN>

      Module im_file

      File "C:\\logs\\dns.log"

  7. Save the file.
  8. Open Windows Services and restart the NXLog service.
  9. Open USM Anywhere and verify that you are receiving NXLog events.

Note: If you need to debug NXLog, open C:\Program Files (x86)\nxlog\data\nxlog.log.

Plugin Enablement

The Windows DNS Server plugin automatically processes all messages when the raw message contains "SourceName":"DNS".

Available Plugin Fields

The following plugin fields are important attributes extracted from the syslog message. The USM Anywhere reports use these fields, and you can also reference them when creating custom reports. In addition to reporting, the USM Anywhere correlation rules make use of these fields.

  • customfield_0 - Header

  • customfield_1 - Return Code

  • customfield_2 - Return Code Description

  • customfield_3 - Resource Type ID

  • customfield_4 - Resource Type Description

  • customheader_0

  • customheader_1

  • customheader_2

  • customheader_3

  • customheader_4

  • destination_address

  • dns_rrname

  • dns_rrtype

  • dns_type

  • event_name

  • plugin_device

  • source_address

  • source_process

  • transport_protocol


For troubleshooting, refer to the vendor documentation: