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Auditing who-data in Windows

How it works

The who-data monitoring functionality uses the Microsoft Windows audit system to get the information about who made the changes in a monitored directory. These changes produce audit events that are processed by syscheck and reported to the manager. Compatible with systems greater than Windows Vista.


To start monitoring in whodata mode, the SACL of the directory to be monitored must be properly configured. Wazuh performs this task automatically when starting on directories declared with the tag whodata="yes" in the file ossec.conf:

  <directories check_all="yes" whodata="yes">C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc</directories>

System audit policies also need to be properly configured. This part is also done automatically for most supported Windows systems. If your system is superior to Windows Vista but the audit policies cannot be self-configured, see the guide to configure Local Audit Policies.

Alert fields

The following fields are received in alerts when who-data is enabled:

(Audit) User Contains the user ID and name of the user who started the process that modified the monitored file.

(Audit) Process id

(Audit) Process name

Contains the ID and name of the process used to modify the monitored file.

Alert examples

Alert in log format:

** Alert 1531323832.10357533: - ossec,syscheck,pci_dss_11.5,gpg13_4.11,gdpr_II_5.1.f,
2018 Jul 11 17:43:52 (vpc-agent-win) any->syscheck
Rule: 550 (level 7) -> 'Integrity checksum changed.'
Integrity checksum changed for: 'C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts'
Size changed from '825' to '857'
Old md5sum was: '76eae1f63f77154db8c9dd884a47e994'
New md5sum is : 'e71b0c5cf0e3a8d1848312f1394e448f'
Old sha1sum was: '9c2abeed447447d072aec2128f296e6d3f1ad21a'
New sha1sum is : '0f89ca73534037c5cf23193d032c93cbf0fc4af4'
Old sha256sum was: 'f8d35672114862f660424d8436d621261279703a65bc8ac3146016d5b023520b'
New sha256sum is : 'b9cc339e89fc5d8890cfb8a47249b3b515f5982d8a7348e2e5eb104aec232c9f'
(Audit) User: 'Administrator (S-1-5-21-3292556202-24657078-706277677-500)'
(Audit) Process id: '1736'
(Audit) Process name: 'C:\Windows\System32\notepad.exe'
What changed:
 - Size: 857
 - Permissions: 100666
 - Date: Wed Jul 11 17:43:39 2018
 - User: SYSTEM (S-1-5-18)
 - MD5: e71b0c5cf0e3a8d1848312f1394e448f
 - SHA1: 0f89ca73534037c5cf23193d032c93cbf0fc4af4
 - SHA256: b9cc339e89fc5d8890cfb8a47249b3b515f5982d8a7348e2e5eb104aec232c9f

Alert in JSON format:

        "description":"Integrity checksum changed.",
        "diff":"What changed:\n***** QUEUE\\DIFF\\LOCAL\\WINDOWS\\SYSTEM32\\DRIVERS\\ETC\\HOSTS\\state.1531323769\r\n***** QUEUE\\DIFF\\LOCAL\\WINDOWS\\SYSTEM32\\DRIVERS\\ETC\\HOSTS\\LAST-ENTRY\r\n      dns_server   \r\n*****\r\n\r\n",