Audit Policy: Object Access: File System is a setting in the Microsoft Windows operating system that determines whether the system generates audit events when certain actions are taken on files and directories stored on the file system. When this setting is enabled, the system will log events such as when a file or directory is read, written to, or deleted. This can be useful for tracking changes to sensitive files or for troubleshooting issues with file access.
The setting can be found in the Local Security Policy editor (secpol.msc) on Windows servers and workstations. It can also be configured using Group Policy on domain-joined computers.
You can enable or disable auditing for the following types of events:
- Successful events: Audit events that are generated when a specified action is successfully completed.
- Failed events: Audit events that are generated when a specified action fails.
It is possible to configure different audit setting for different folders or files to suit your needs.
What type of attacks happened on Audit Policy: Object Access: File System?
The File System Object Access Audit Policy is a setting in the Windows operating system that controls the auditing of security events related to access to files and folders on the file system. This setting can be useful for tracking access to sensitive files, detecting unauthorized access to the file system, and for compliance with regulatory requirements.
One type of attack that can target the file system is known as a “privilege escalation attack“. In this type of attack, an attacker who has gained initial access to a system with limited privileges, attempts to elevate their privilege level in order to gain access to sensitive files and folders. This can be done by exploiting a vulnerability in the operating system or an application, or by guessing or stealing the credentials of a higher-privileged user.
Another type of attack that can target the file system is known as “malware”. This is where an attacker infects the system with malicious software, which can be used to steal sensitive information, disrupt system operation, or gain unauthorized access to the file system. Malware can be spread via various methods such as email attachments, infected website, and software exploitations.
File system access can also be used to hide, drop and execute malware or perform other malicious activity, so it’s important to have the access activity logged and reviewed to detect such anomalies.
As with the SAM database, auditing the object access events that are generated when the Audit Policy: Object Access: File System setting is enabled can help to detect and respond to these types of attacks.
What is the potential impact on Audit Policy: Object Access: File System?
The potential impact on an audit policy for object access to the file system would depend on the specific changes made to the policy. Changes to this type of policy could affect the level of security and monitoring for access to files and folders on a computer or network. This could include changes to who has access to the logged information, what types of access is logged and how that information is used to identify and address security breaches or other unauthorized access.
What are the major vulnerabilities on Audit Policy: Object Access: File System?
Audit Policy: Object Access: File System is a security feature in Windows that allows administrators to track and log file system access on a Windows machine. There are several potential vulnerabilities that could be associated with this feature, including:
- Insufficient auditing: If the audit policy is not configured correctly, it may not be tracking the appropriate events, or it may not be logging events at all. This could leave the system open to attack by an attacker who is able to access sensitive files or data.
- Inadequate log storage: If the logs generated by the audit policy are not stored in a secure location, they may be vulnerable to tampering or deletion.
- Lack of log review: If the logs generated by the audit policy are not regularly reviewed, it may be difficult to detect suspicious activity or an ongoing attack.
- Inadequate event threshold: If the audit policy is configured to only log events that meet certain criteria, an attacker may be able to evade detection by triggering events that fall below the threshold.
- Conflicting policies : may arise if multiple audit policies are in place. The auditing policy with the most permissive settings will take precedence and overwrite other settings in the conflicting policies, potentially resulting in a less secure system
- Misconfigured permissions: Misconfigured permissions may allow malicious users to access sensitive files and folders on the file system, or to make unauthorized changes to the audit policy itself.
It’s important to note that these are just a few examples of potential vulnerabilities and risks, and that different organizations and environments may face different types of threats and require different levels of security.
Why is it important to harden Audit Policy: Object Access: File System?
Hardening the Audit Policy: Object Access: File System is important for several reasons:
- Threat detection: Hardening the audit policy can help an organization detect and respond to security threats more quickly and effectively. By tracking and logging file system access, an organization can identify patterns of suspicious activity and respond accordingly.
- Compliance: Many regulatory bodies require organizations to implement specific security controls to protect sensitive data. Hardening the audit policy can help an organization meet these requirements and avoid fines or penalties.
- Incident response: In the event of a security incident, the information captured by the hardened audit policy can be used to help determine the scope of the incident and identify the cause. This information can be used to inform incident response and recovery efforts.
A hardened audit policy can help ensure that an organization is adhering to best practices for securing its systems and data. By logging access to sensitive files and data, an organization can monitor for and prevent unauthorized access.
What are the best practices for Audit Policy: Object Access: File System?
Audit policies are a critical aspect of maintaining security and compliance in an organization, and there are a number of best practices that can help ensure that your Object Access: File System audit policy is effective. Here are a few key considerations:
- Define clear audit objectives: Before setting up your audit policy, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what you want to accomplish with the audit. This will help you determine which events to audit, and how to interpret and respond to the audit logs.
- Use filtering: To help reduce the amount of data generated by the audit, you can use filtering to focus on specific users, groups, or files and folders. For example, you can configure the audit policy to only audit events that occur on a specific file server or that involve specific sensitive files or folders.
- Audit only what is necessary: Auditing too many events can generate a large amount of data and make it difficult to identify important events. It is important to focus on auditing the events that are most relevant to your organization, such as file and folder access, changes to permissions and ownership, and deletions or renaming of files and folders.
- Monitor and review audit logs: Reviewing audit logs on a regular basis is an important aspect of maintaining security. This enables you to identify and respond to potential security threats or violations in a timely manner.
- Use an automated monitoring and analysis tool: To help you more easily monitor and analyze your audit logs, you can use an automated tool. This can help you more easily identify patterns and trends in the data, and alert you to potential security issues.
- Keep it up-to-date: Security threats, compliance requirements, and organizational needs change over time. Ensure that your audit policy is reviewed and updated on a regular basis to ensure it remains effective in addressing the current risks and requirements faced by the organization.
It's also worth noting that the specifics of Audit Policy might change depending on the operation system being used. In the case of Windows, you would use Group Policy Object(GPO) to configure audit policies and in case of Linux, you may use Auditd daemon. However, the principles discussed above are applicable across different platforms.