OSSEC Wazuh Ruleset


This documentation explains how to install, update, and contribute to OSSEC HIDS Ruleset mantained by Wazuh. These rules are used by the system to detect attacks, intrusions, software misuse, configuration problems, application errors, malware, rootkits, system anomalies or security policy violations. OSSEC provides an out-of-the-box set of rules that we update by modifying them or including new ones, in order to increase OSSEC detection capabilities.

In the ruleset repository you will find:

  • OSSEC out-of-the-box rule/rootcheck updates and compliance mapping
    We update and maintain out-of-the-box rules provided by OSSEC, both to eliminate false positives or to increase their accuracy. In addition, we map those with PCI-DSS compliance controls, making it easy to identify when an alert is related to a compliance requirement.
  • New rules/rootchecks
    OSSEC default number of rules and decoders is limited. For this reason, we centralize, test and maintain decoders and rules submitted by Open Source contributors. As well, we create new rules and rootchecks periodically that are added to this repository so they can be used by the users community. Some examples are the new rules for Netscaler and Puppet.


Rule and Rootcheck example

Log analysis rule for Netscaler with PCI DSS compliance mapping:

<rule id="80102" level="10" frequency="6">
    <same_source_ip />
    <description>Netscaler: Multiple AAA failed to login the user</description>

Rootcheck rule for SSH Server with mapping to CIS security benchmark and PCI DSS compliance:

[CIS - Debian Linux - 2.3 - SSH Configuration - Empty passwords permitted {CIS: 2.3 Debian Linux} {PCI_DSS: 4.1}] [any] [http://www.ossec.net/wiki/index.php/CIS_DebianLinux]
f:/etc/ssh/sshd_config -> !r:^# && r:^PermitEmptyPasswords\.+yes;

Manual installation

Log analysis rules

In the Github repository you will find two different kind of rules under ossec-rules/rules-decoders/ directory:

Updated out-of-the-box rules

These rules can be found under ossec-rules/rules-decoders/ossec directory, and you can manually install them following these steps:

- Copy "ossec-rules/rules-decoders/ossec/decoders/*_decoders.xml" to "/var/ossec/etc/ossec_decoders/".
- Copy all files "ossec-rules/rules-decoders/ossec/rules/*rules*.xml" to "/var/ossec/rules/", except for "local_rules.xml".
- Restart your OSSEC manager.

If you do not use the OSSEC Wazuh fork, copy, after the above steps, the decoders ossec/decoders/compatibility/*_decoders.xml to /var/ossec/etc/ossec_decoders/.

New log analysis rules

These rules are located at ossec-rules/rules-decoders/software (being software the name of your log messages source) and can be installed manually following next steps.

Copy new rule files into OSSEC directories and add the new rules file to ossec.conf configuration file:

- Copy "software_decoders.xml" to "/var/ossec/etc/wazuh_decoders/".
- Copy "software_rules.xml" to "/var/ossec/rules/"
- Add "<include>software_rules.xml</include>" to "/var/ossec/etc/ossec.conf" before the tag "</rules>".
- If there are additional instructions to install these rules and decoders, you will find them in an instructions.md file in the same directory.
- Restart your OSSEC manager

Decoder paths

Configure decoder paths adding the next lines after tag <rules> at /var/ossec/etc/ossec.conf:


If you do not use the OSSEC Wazuh fork, you must move the file decoder.xml to the directory etc/ossec_decoders. Also, if you do not use local_decoder.xml, remove that line in ossec.conf. Remember that local_decoder.xml can not be empty.

Rootcheck rules

Rootchecks can be found in ossec-rules/rootcheck/ directory. There you will see both updated out-of-the-box OSSEC rootchecks, and new ones.

To install a rootcheck file, go to your OSSEC manager and copy the .txt file to /var/ossec/etc/shared/. Then modify /var/ossec/etc/ossec.conf by adding the path to the .txt file into the <rootcheck> section.


- <rootkit_files>/var/ossec/etc/shared/rootkit_files.txt</rootkit_files>
- <system_audit>/var/ossec/etc/shared/cis_rhel5_linux_rcl.txt</system_audit>
- <windows_malware>/var/ossec/etc/shared/win_malware_rcl.txt</windows_malware>
- <windows_audit>/var/ossec/etc/shared/win_audit_rcl.txt</windows_audit>
- <windows_apps>/var/ossec/etc/shared/win_applications_rcl.txt</windows_apps>

Automatic installation

Run ossec_ruleset.py script to update OSSEC Wazuh Ruleset with no need to manually change OSSEC internal files.

Getting the script:

$ sudo mkdir -p /var/ossec/update/ruleset && cd /var/ossec/update/ruleset
$ sudo wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/wazuh/ossec-rules/stable/ossec_ruleset.py

Running the script:

$ sudo chmod +x /var/ossec/update/ruleset/ossec_ruleset.py
$ sudo /var/ossec/update/ruleset/ossec_ruleset.py --help

Usage examples

Update decoders/rules/rootchecks:


Update and prompt menu to activate new Rules & Rootchecks:

./ossec_ruleset.py -a

Restore a backup:

./ossec_ruleset.py --backups list

All script options:

Select ruleset:
  -r, --rules     Update rules
  -c, --rootchecks        Update rootchecks
  *If not -r or -c indicated, rules and rootchecks will be updated.

  -a, --activate  Prompt a interactive menu for selection of rules and rootchecks to activate.
  -A, --activate-file     Use a configuration file to select rules and rootchecks to activate.
  *If not -a or -A indicated, NEW rules and rootchecks will NOT activated.

  -s, --restart   Restart OSSEC when required.
  -S, --no-restart        Do not restart OSSEC when required.

  -b, --backups   Restore backups. Use 'list' to show the backups list available.

Additional Params:
  -f, --force-update      Force to update all rules and rootchecks. By default, only it is updated the new/changed rules/rootchecks.
  -d, --directory           Use the ruleset specified at 'directory'. Directory structure should be the same that ossec-rules repository.

Configuration file syntax using option -A:
  # Commented line

Configure weekly updates

Run ossec_ruleset.py weekly and keep your OSSEC Wazuh Ruleset installation up to date by adding a crontab job to your system.

Run sudo crontab -e and, at the end of the file, add the following line

@weekly root cd /var/ossec/update/ruleset && ./ossec_ruleset.py -s

Wazuh rules

All Wazuh rules can be automatically installed by running wazuh/ossec-rules/ossec_ruleset.py -r, but for some of these rules it is necessary to perform manual steps. This section describes the new rules developed by Wazuh and, if necessary, the manual steps to be performed.


NetScaler is a network appliance (or hardware device) manufactured by Citrix, which primary role is to provide Level 4 Load Balancing. It also supports Firewall, proxy and VPN functions.


Puppet is an open-source configuration management utility. After installing Puppet rules (automatically or manually) you need to perform the next manual step. This is due to some rules need to read the output of a command.

Copy the code below to /var/ossec/etc/shared/agent.conf in your OSSEC Manager to allow OSSEC execute this command and read its output:

        <command>timestamp_puppet=`cat /var/lib/puppet/state/last_run_summary.yaml | grep last_run | cut -d: -f 2 | tr -d '[[:space:]]'`;timestamp_current_date=$(date +"%s");diff_min=$((($timestamp_current_date-$timestamp_puppet)/60));if [ "$diff_min" -le "30" ];then echo "Puppet: OK. It runs in the last 30 minutes";else puppet_date=`date -d @"$timestamp_puppet"`;echo "Puppet: KO. Last run: $puppet_date";fi</command>

Also you must configure in every agent the logcollector option to accept remote commands from the manager. To do this, add the following lines to /var/ossec/etc/internal_options.conf:

# Logcollector - If it should accept remote commands from the manager


FTP Server software (FTP, FTPS, SFTP, Web & mobile) for secure file transfer and file sharing on Windows & Linux.


Before installing our Amazon rules, you need to follow the steps below in order to enable logging through AWS API and download the JSON data files. A detailed description of each of the steps will be find further below.

  1. Turn on CloudTrail.
  2. Create a user with permission over S3.
  3. Install AWS Cli in your Ossec Manager.
  4. Configure the previous user credentials with AWS Cli in your Ossec Manager.
  5. Run a python script to download JSON data in gzipped files logs and convert it into a flat file.
  6. Install Wazuh Amazon rules.

1.- Turn on CloudTrail

In this section you will learn how to create a trail for your AWS account. Trails can be created using the AWS CloudTrail console or the AWS Command Line Interface (AWS CLI). Both methods follow the same steps but we will be focusing on the first one:

  • Turn on CloudTrail. By default, when creating a trail in one region in the CloudTrail console, this one will apply to all regions.
  • Create a new Amazon S3 bucket for storing your log files, or specify an existing bucket where you want your log files to be stored. By default, log files from all AWS regions in your account will be stored in the bucket you specified.

S3 bucket name is common for all amazon users, don’t worry if you get this error Bucket already exists. Select a different bucket name., even if you don’t have any bucket created before.

From now on all your actions in Amazon AWS console will be logged. You can search logs manually inside CloudTrail/API activity history. Also, notice that every 7 min a .json file will be stored in your bucket.

2. Create a user with permission over S3

Sign in to the AWS Management Console and open the IAM console at https://console.aws.amazon.com/iam/. In the navigation panel, choose Users and then choose Create New Users. Type the user names for the users you would like to create. You can create up to five users at one time.


User names can only use a combination of alphanumeric characters and these characters: plus (+), equal (=), comma (,), period (.), at (@), and hyphen (-). Names must be unique within an account.

The users require access to the API. For this they must have access keys. To generate access key for new users, select Generate an access key for each user and Choose Create.

(Optional) To view users’ access keys (access key IDs and secret access keys), choose Show User Security Credentials. To save the access keys, choose Download Credentials and then save the file to a safe location on your computer.


This is your only opportunity to view or download the secret access keys, and you must provide this information to your users before they can use the AWS Console. If you don’t download and save them now, you will need to create new access keys for the users later. Save the new user’s access key ID and secret access key in a safe and secure place. You will not have access to the secret access keys again after this step.

Give the user(s) permission to manage security policies, press Attach Policy and select AmazonS3FullAccess policy.

3. Install AWS Cli in your Ossec Manager

To download and process the Amazon AWS logs that already are archived in S3 Bucket we need to install AWS Cli in your system and configure it to use with AWS.

The AWS CLI comes pre-installed on the Amazon Linux AMI. Run $ sudo yum update after connecting to the instance to get the latest version of the package available via yum. If you need a more recent version of the AWS CLI than the available in the Amazon updates repository, uninstall the package $ sudo yum remove aws-cli and then install using pip as follows.

Prerequisites for AWS CLI Using Pip

  • Windows, Linux, OS X, or Unix
  • Python 2 version 2.6.5+ or Python 3 version 3.3+
  • Pip

If you don’t have Python installed, install version 2.7 or 3.4 using one of the following methods:

Check if Python is already installed:

$ python --version

If Python 2.7 or later is not installed, install it with your distribution’s package manager. The command and package name varies:

  • On Debian derivatives such as Ubuntu, use APT:

    $ sudo apt-get install python2.7
  • On Red Hat and derivatives, use yum:

    $ sudo yum install python27

Open a command prompt or shell and run the following command to verify that Python has been installed correctly:

$ python --version
Python 2.7.9

To install pip on Linux

  • Download the installation script from pypa.io:

    $ curl -O https://bootstrap.pypa.io/get-pip.py
  • Run the script with Python:

    $ sudo python get-pip.py

Now than we have Python and pip installed, use pip to install the AWS CLI:

$ sudo pip install awscli


If you installed a new version of Python alongside an older version that came with your distribution, or update pip to the latest version, you may get the following error when trying to invoke pip with sudo: command not found. We can work around this issue by using which pip to locate the executable, and then invoke it directly by using an absolute path when installing the AWS CLI:

$ which pip


$ sudo /usr/local/bin/pip install awscli

To upgrade an existing AWS CLI installation, use the --upgrade option:

$ sudo pip install --upgrade awscli

4. Configure user credentials with AWS Cli

To configure the user credentials type:

$ sudo aws configure

This command is interactive, prompting you to enter additional information. Enter each of your access keys in turns and press Enter. Region name is not necessary, press Enter, and press Enter once again to skip the output format setting. The latest Enter command is shown as replaceable text because there is no user input for that line.

The result should be something like this:

AWS Secret Access Key [None]: ``wJalrXUtnFEMI/K7MDENG/bPxRfiCYEXAMPLEKEY``
Default region name [None]: ENTER
Default output format [None]: ENTER

5. Run a python script for download the JSON data

To download the JSON file from S3 Bucket and convert it into a flat file to be used with Ossec, we use a python script written by Xavier Martens @xme with minor modifications done by Wazuh. The script is located in our repository at wazuh/ossec-rules/tools/amazon/getawslog.py.

The command to use this script is:

$ ./getawslog.py -b s3bucketname -d -j -D -l /var/log/amazon/amazon.log

Where s3bucketname is the name of the bucket created when CloudTrail was activated and /var/log/amazon/amazon.log is the path where the log is stored after being converted by the script.


In case you don’t want to use an existing folder, then the folder where the log is stored need to be created manually before starting the script.

CloudTrail delivers log files to your S3 bucket approximately every 5 minutes. CloudTrail does not deliver log files if no API calls are made on your account so you can run the script every 5 min or more adding a crontab job to your system.


If after executing the first time getawslog.py the result is:

Traceback (most recent call last):

File "/root/script/getawslog.py", line 16, in <module>

import boto

ImportError: No module named boto

To work around this issue install the module named boto, use this command $ sudo pip install boto

Run vi /etc/crontab and, at the end of the file, add the following line

*/5 *   * * *   root    python path_to_script/getawslog.py -b s3bucketname -d -j -D -l /var/log/amazon/amazon.log


This script downloads and deletes the files from your S3 Bucket, but you can always review the last 7 days logs through CloudTrail.

6. Install Wazuh Amazon rules.

To install Wazuh Amazon rules follow either the Automatic installation section or Manual installation section in this guide.

Contribute to the ruleset

If you have created new rules, decoders or rootchecks and you would like to contribute to our repository, please fork our Github repository and submit a pull request.

If you are not familiar with Github, you can also share them through our users mailing list, to which you can subscribe by sending an email to wazuh+subscribe@googlegroups.com. As well do not hesitate to request new rules or rootchecks that you would like to see running in OSSEC and our team will do our best to make it happen.


In our repository you will find that most of the rules contain one or more groups called pci_dss_X. This is the PCI DSS control related to the rule. We have produced a document that can help you tag each rule with its corresponding PCI requirement: http://www.wazuh.com/resources/PCI_Tagging.pdf

What’s next

Once you have your ruleset up to date we encourage you to move forward and try out ELK integration or the API RESTful, check them on: