Configure Active Directory audit policy
This topic discusses changing the Active Directory audit policy to allow the domain controllers in your Active Directory to generate the needed events and logs for the Splunk App for Windows Infrastructure.
Active Directory audit policy
By default, Active Directory does not automatically audit certain security events. You must enable auditing of these events so that your domain controllers log them into the Security event log channel.
You do this by creating a Group Policy object (GPO) and deploying that GPO to all domain controllers (DCs) in your AD environment. Once you activate the GPO, your DCs log these security events into the Security event log.
Then, you install universal forwarders (as deployment clients) to the domain controllers and deploy the appropriate Active Directory add-ons into those clients. They collect the logs and forward them to the central Splunk App for Windows Infrastructure indexers.
This topic shows you how to create individual Group Policy objects (GPOs) for both sets of settings. If you wish, you can combine both the PowerShell and audit settings into a single GPO. For ease of administration, you should create and deploy these GPOs separately from other GPOs.
Important information on security event auditing and indexing volume
When you enable auditing of the Security Event Log on your domain controllers, the DCs generate a lot of data. These events significantly increase indexing volume and might cause indexing license violations. You might also see decreased performance on your domain controllers based on how much additional data the servers generate.
If you are concerned about the impact that enabling security event auditing might have on your indexing volume, you can tweak policy settings to generate only the data that is important to you. Refer to the table below to learn about which policy settings generate which event types, and how the Splunk App for Windows Infrastructure uses those events to populate its dashboards, reports and lookups.
If you choose to disable certain policy settings in an effort to curb indexing volume, you directly affect how much data gets sent to the Splunk App for Windows Infrastructure. The table below lists what data you do not collect if you decide not to enable a particular policy setting. This is not an all-inclusive list - the app correlates some lookups across various policy settings, as multiple events often derive a single knowledge object. Failure to enable all of the policy settings might cause the Splunk App for Windows Infrastructure to display incomplete or incorrect knowledge objects in its dashboards and reports.
|Policy setting:||Required?||What the Splunk App for Windows Infrastructure uses it for:|
|Audit Account Logon Events||Yes||Administrator Audit dashboards|
Security->Reports->New (Computer or Domain) Accounts
Session ID-to-User (tSessions) lookup
Computer-to-IP Address (tHostinfo) lookup
|Audit Account Management||No||Administrator Audit dashboards|
Change Management dashboards
|Audit Logon Events||No||Administrator Audit dashboards|
Logon and access information
|Audit Object Access||No||Administrator Audit dashboards|
Information on who changed a GPO and when
|Audit Policy Change||No||Security->Reports->Group Policy Reports|
GPO Change Management dashboard
|Audit System Events||No||Directory Services replication events|
Advanced Audit Policy settings
You might alternatively want to use the Advanced Audit Policy (AAP) configuration settings to control which events your domain controllers send to the Splunk App for Windows Infrastructure. While Splunk supports this method, it is outside the scope of this document to list all available AAP configuration options.
This is because of the number of available AAP configuration options and the fact that those options change with different Windows versions - for example, the options for the Windows Server 2008 family differ from those in the Windows Server 2012 families. Windows Vista and other workstation-class versions of Windows do not support AAP.
If you need more granularity in the types of audit events you want generated, you can review
eventtypes.conf (located in the Splunk App for Windows Infrastructure installation at
%SPLUNK_HOME%\etc\apps\splunk_app_windows_infrastructure\default) for the event codes that the app looks for. With that information, you can create a GPO that enables AAP and generates audit events for only those specific event codes.
Note: When you enable AAP, Windows disables configurations for standard Audit Policy.
Enable auditing on Windows Server 2008, Server 2008 R2, Server 2012, Server 2012 R2, and Server 2016
Create a new GPO
- From the Windows Start menu, click Start > Administrative Tools > Group Policy Management.
- In the left pane, under "Group Policy Management," expand the forest and domain for which you want to set group policy.
- Right-click Group Policy objects and select New.
- In the dialog window that opens, enter a unique name for your new GPO that you will remember in the Name field, and select None for the Source Starter GPO field.
Edit the GPO to change audit policy
- Open the GPO for editing by right-clicking the newly created GPO In the Group Policy Objects window and selecting Edit.
- In the GPO editor, select Computer Configuration > Policies > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Local Policy > Audit Policy.
- Enable both Success and Failure auditing of the following policy settings:
- Audit account logon events
- Audit account management
- Audit directory service access
- Audit logon events
- Audit object access
- Audit policy change
- Audit privilege use
- Audit system events
- Close the Group Policy Object Editor window to save your changes.
- For windows server 2008, you can verify audit policy is applied or not from the steps mentioned in Security auditing settings are not applied to Windows Vista-based and Window Server 2008-based computers when you deploy a domain-based policy.
Deploy the GPO
- In Group Policy Management, in the left pane of the window, right-click on the Domain Controllers item and click Link an existing GPO..."
- In the window that appears, select the GPO you created.
- Click OK. The GPMC refreshes to show that your GPO is now linked to the Domain Controllers organizational unit.
Sample searches and dashboards
Download and configure the Splunk Add-on for Microsoft Active Directory
This documentation applies to the following versions of Splunk® App for Windows Infrastructure: 1.4.1, 1.4.2, 1.4.3, 1.4.4, 1.5.0, 1.5.1, 1.5.2, 2.0.0, 2.0.1