Linux Tactic

Managing Linux Security Threats with Auditd Utilities

Introduction to Auditd

As computer systems and networks have become an integral part of our daily lives, cybersecurity threats have continued to grow. There is a need for a security tool that helps detect and respond to security incidents efficiently.

Linux has played a critical role in system administration, development, and application. It also provides a reliable option for security.

One such security tool available in Linux is ‘Auditd,’ which stands for ‘Linux Auditing System’ or ‘Linux Audit Daemon.’

What is Auditd? Auditd is an open-source and powerful security auditing tool used to monitor any changes made to a Linux system, files, and directories.

It is a user-space application that records system-level events from the kernel, system calls, and application-level changes. The tool creates individual log files that contain detailed information about any event that has occurred on the system, and these records are stored in the file system.

The main focus of Auditd is to provide an audit trail that tracks any possible security breach. The tool logs critical information such as user activity, authentication events, sensitive file changes, user logins, and outbound/inbound network traffic and provides a detailed history of system activity.

Why use Auditd? The use of Auditd in a Linux system is crucial in detecting security breaches and understanding the system’s integrity.

The tool can provide valuable insight into identifying security threats, tracing the changes made to the system, and responding appropriately to any security breach. With the help of Auditd, the system administrator or security analyst can effectively keep track of suspicious activities and take pre-emptive measures to prevent future unauthorized access.

Basics of Auditd

To use Auditd, an administrator needs to be familiar with the basic commands, such as ‘

auditctl,’ ‘ausearch,’ and ‘aureport.’

‘aureport’ is used to generate reports from the Audit logs. ‘

auditctl’ is used to control the auditing rules and configuration of the Auditd daemon.

‘ausearch’ is a utility that is used to search through the generated Audit logs. The Auditd configuration file, ‘auditd.conf,’ stores Auditd’s basic setup.

It specifies options like the file location and the maximum file size allowed, among other properties related to the logs.

Command and Information record

Basic command for Auditd

Another essential aspect of Auditd is the set of commands used to manage the Auditd daemon. The following are some of the basic commands:

‘service’ is used to start, stop, restart, and check the status of the Auditd daemon.

‘chkconfig’ is used to enable or disable the Auditd daemon at system boot time. ‘reload’ is used to reload the Auditd daemon’s configuration file.

‘rotate’ is used to rotate the log files that contain the auditing logs.

Information recorded in logs

Auditd generates logs containing vast information about any system activity, and these logs can be queried using the ‘aureport’ and ‘ausearch’ commands. The logs contain the following information:

A timestamp that indicates when an event occurred.

Event information, such as the type of event, its priority, and additional details. User information that identifies which user triggered the event.

Authentication events that track all authentication attempts, providing details such as the authentication type, username, and hostname for successful or failed attempts. Changes to configuration files, which include modifications to important system files, such as users, groups, and passwords.

Sensitive file changes, such as any modifications made to privileged files on the system, such as ‘sudoers’ or ‘ssh’ configuration files. Inbound/outbound network traffic, including IP addresses, ports used, and transfer size.

Other utilities related to Audit

Auditd provides additional utilities like ‘

auditctl,’ ‘aureport,’ and ‘ausearch’ to make auditing logs more accessible. These utilities enable a user to search for entries based on query strings, flags, or even date and time ranges.

‘aureport’ is a command-line utility that generates a report based on generated auditing logs. ‘ausearch’ is a command-line utility that allows for searching of collected auditing logs.

auditctl’ is a command-line utility that allows for the manipulation of auditing rules and configuration of the Audit daemon.


In conclusion, Auditd is a critical security auditing tool needed to provide an in-depth security analysis of Linux systems. The tool is an essential part of the system administration and can detect any suspicious activity, security breaches, and other vulnerabilities.

Although some basic knowledge such as commands and log content is necessary, this article provides a solid understanding of the usefulness of Auditd, its basic commands, and the type of information logged. By using Auditd, system administrators and security analysts can better secure their systems and respond timely to any security threat detected.

Detailed Explanation of Utilities Related to Audit

Auditd is a crucial tool for auditing Linux systems and providing detailed logs of system events. However, the amount of information generated by Auditd can be overwhelming, making it a challenge to sift through logs manually.

Auditd provides a set of utilities that help administrators manage, query, and analyze the logs. In this article, we will explore the various Auditd utilities in greater detail and explain their specific use cases.


The first utility we will discuss is ‘

auditctl.’ This command enables the administrator to monitor system behavior and configure auditing rules. With ‘

auditctl,’ it is possible to define filters used to watch specific system events.

For example, the administrator can use the ‘

auditctl’ utility to watch specific system files or directories for changes or monitor a specific user’s activity. Auditctl also governs permissions related to collecting and suppressing specific information.


auditctl command generates audit configuration rules that control which system events get logged based on a filter key defined by the system administrator. ‘aureport’

‘aureport’ is a utility designed to provide a log summary report in a readable format.

The raw logs generated by Auditd can be challenging to read, and the ‘aureport’ utility simplifies that process. ‘aureport’ generates reports that contain textual information on different system activities.

The information it provides includes authentication attempts, login information, and important configuration files. The reports generated can be customized to differentiate data based on specific keys, such as usernames, process IDs, or system calls.

‘aureport’ is a valuable utility for administrators who need to access and analyze the logged data without having to read through raw logs manually. This utility is an effective tool for quickly generating summaries of critical system activities, such as authentication events or changes to protected files and directories.


‘ausearch’ is another utility that provides a powerful searching tool for logs generated by auditd. It allows users to search through audit logs for specific strings, success values, username filters, or timestamp filters.

The ‘ausearch’ command provided by Auditd is particularly useful when an administrator needs to cross-reference multiple pieces of audit data to detect a threat or track down discrepancies about an event on the system. Besides, the command enables a system analyst to create a list of specific actions to take in response to discovered audit trails.

Other Utilities Related to Audit

Apart from

auditctl, aureport, and ausearch, other utilities associated with Auditd include the following:

– auditspd – This is used for setting up and managing Audit policies. Having a management structure for Audit policies makes securing and monitoring a system more straightforward.

– ausyscall – This is used to generate a list containing all the system calls available to the kernel. – autrace – Autrace traces specific system call events and logs them along with their parameters.

– aulast – This utility shows when a particular user last logged in and out of the system. – aulastlog – This is similar to aulast, but it shows a detailed log of all the users who have logged onto the system.

Conclusion and Implications

The use of auditing on Linux systems has become increasingly essential due to the advanced security threats that organizations and individuals face. Auditd is a crucial tool for auditing Linux systems and providing detailed logs of system events.

However, manually sifting through logs is time-consuming, and this is where the Auditd utilities come in handy. The different utilities, including

auditctl, aureport, and ausearch, provide an easy way to manage, query, and analyze logs generated by Auditd.

By providing the power to automate and streamline the auditing process, users don’t have to spend a significant amount of time analyzing event logs manually. For the novice wanting to learn the different auditing activities on Linux, learning these Auditd utilities is a good place to start, and for those already familiar with the commands, these utilities contribute to growth in the field.

Knowing how to use these tools can make a difference in the control of a user’s environment, ensuring sensitive data is protected and unauthorized activities detected. In conclusion, Auditd provides a crucial security auditing tool for monitoring and tracking any system changes in Linux systems.

The tool generates audit logs containing vast information, and the utilities discussed in this article –

auditctl, aureport, and ausearch – simplify the process of managing, querying, and analyzing the logs, making it possible to detect security breaches and respond appropriately. For novices, learning these utilities is a good place to start, while for those familiar with the commands, the utilities contribute to growth in the field.

The importance of auditing on Linux systems cannot be overemphasized, and knowing how to use these tools is crucial in maintaining the security and integrity of the system.

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