Monday, September 15, 2008

Managing ArcSight ESM Tools

Last week Tim and I presented at the ArcSight user conference on using Tools in the ESM console to augment incident response and investigation. I'm hoping to have the sanitized slide deck up this week, and maybe a little bit of code to go with it.

At the end of the talk - and then a couple of times in the hallway - people asked how we manage all of these Tools. It's a great question, and the answer is, not very well. But here's the best way that I know how in ESM 4.0.

If you've ever looked at the tools editor in the ESM console, you've seen this dialog, which is pretty basic:

By default, this info is recorded in your AST file (C:\arcsight\Console\current\paul.ast), which is just a text file with a bunch of values declared. The values in the file look like this:[toolName].program=[toolName].workingdir=[toolName].iconFile=[toolName].parameters=[toolName].showInToolBar=[toolName].isExportTool=

And then there's this:


Which is pretty self-explanatory. It occurs once in the AST file and is just a CSV list of the tool names, used to populate the console's Tools menu.

I wrote a Perl program that can parse an AST file and extract tool data from it for the purposes of sharing. It's designed to help scale and distribute tools across your analysts' consoles so that they don't have to manually recreate and test them. In order for it to be useful, there are some best practices. Here's what I do.

1. Cygwin (Surprise!) If you've been reading my blog for any period of time, you knew this was coming. If your analysts use Mac OS X or Linux for their ESM console platform, not to worry. They can play, too. Beyond, Perl, bash, and Python, that's kind of the point.

2. Standardize on a source directory for scripts. Put all of your scripts in the same spot. Pathing is difficult to manage by hand, so by defining a standard (I use /usr/local/bin/arcsight), you have less to do each time you distribute a new tool.

3. Use a repository like Subversion or CVS for scripts and other tool artifacts. That way, you can make a change to your tool, check it in, and the other analysts can check it out quickly and easily. No messy manual copies. Also, when you foul something up, you have revision history to go back to. That can be a life saver if you are - like me - not a developer with good testing habits.

4. Use consoleupdates.txt on the ESM manager to distribute tool configs. Here's how you do that:

Let's say my ESM user id is 'paul' and I have developed a whole bunch of tools following the first three rules above. I can use this Perl script to create an export of the tool configs for use on the server. It looks like this in Cygwin:

$ export all /cygdrive/c/arcsight/Console/current/paul.ast > ~/consoleupdates.txt
$ scp consoleupdates.txt arcsight@esmmanager:/opt/arcsight/manager/config
$ ssh arcsight@esmmanager
arcsight@esmmanager:~ $ chown arcsight.arcsight $ARCSIGHT_HOME/config/consoleupdates.txt
arcsight@esmmanager:~ $ chmod 644 $ARCSIGHT_HOME/config/consoleupdates.txt

If you want your analysts to get the updated tool list, they need to log out of the console, move their AST file somewhere safe, and log back in to the console. No restart of the manager is necessary. Now they just need to create the same script directory you did and check out your scripts from your CVS server.

The Perl script I wrote also supports listing the tool names in an AST file as well as exporting single tool configurations, so it's more than just a one-trick pony. It's got another half a trick.

My advice at this time is not to invest a ton of time in doing this unless it's a weekly headache for your security team, but it is worth doing if you've already got the moving parts in place (like a CVS server). The reason is that ArcSight has already fixed the issue of sharing tool configs in ESM 4.5. So once that's released (later this year?), some of this will be a non-issue for you. I suspect that the first two or three best practices I list above will still be valid in ESM 4.5, so it's still a valuable exercise if you have any number of custom tools already.

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