Manual Chapter : Displaying Reports and Monitoring ASM

Applies To:

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  • 12.1.6, 12.1.5, 12.1.4, 12.1.3, 12.1.2, 12.1.1, 12.1.0
Manual Chapter

Displaying Reports and Monitoring ASM

ASM Reporting Tools

You can use several reporting tools in Application Security Manager ™(ASM) to analyze incoming requests, track trends in violations, generate security reports, and evaluate possible attacks. The statistics and monitoring reporting tools are described in this table.

Reporting Tool Description
Application security overview Displays a summary of all configured security policies showing the active security policies, attacks that have occurred, anomaly statistics, and networking and traffic statistics. You can save the information or send it as an email attachment.
Requests summary Summarizes the requested URLs for security policies.
Event correlation Displays a list of incidents (suspected attacks on the web application). Requests become incidents when at least two illegal requests are sent to the web application within 15 minutes, and the system groups them according to criteria. The criteria concern illegal requests for a specific URL, a specific parameter, or a specific source IP address.
Charts Displays graphical reports about security policy violations and provides tools that let you view the data by different criteria, drill down for more data, create customized reports, and send or export reports.
Charts scheduler Allows you to periodically generate specific reports and distribute them using email.
DoS Attacks report Displays graphic charts about DoS attacks, viewed by selected category, and includes the attack start and end times.
Brute Force Attacks report Displays graphic charts about brute-force attacks, viewed by selected category, and includes the attack start and end times.
Web Scraping statistics Displays graphic charts about web scraping attacks, viewed by selected category, and includes the attack start and end times.
Session Tracking status Displays the users, sessions, and IP addresses that the system is currently tracking, and for which the system is taking action as a result of having triggered one of the violation detection thresholds.
PCI Compliance report Displays a printable Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance report for each security policy showing each security measure required for PCI-DSS 1.2, and compliance details.
CPU Utilization report Displays the amount of the available CPU that the Application Security Manager uses over a period of time.

Displaying an application security overview report

To view data in the security overview, the system must be logging data internally. Some default logging profiles are already set up on the system but you may want to customize them.
The Application Security Manager™ (ASM) can display a security overview where you can quickly see what is happening on your system. The overview is configurable and can include statistics concerning attack types, violations, and anomalies, traffic summaries, transactions per second, throughput, and top requested URLs, IP addresses, and request types. You can also export the statistics into a PDF, and email them as an attachment.
  1. On the Main tab, click Security > Overview > Application > Traffic .
    The Overview Traffic screen opens and summarizes ASM system activity at a glance.
  2. To change the default time frame for all widgets, select a time period from the Override time range to list.
  3. From the Security Policy list, select a security policy to narrow down the statistics.
    By default, statistics for all active security policies are shown.
  4. Review the summary statistics (organized into areas called widgets) to determine what is happening on the system.
  5. If you want to create a new area of information customized to your specifications, at the bottom of the screen, click Add Widget.
    The Add New Widget popup screen opens.
  6. Optionally, for each widget, you can adjust the time range, data measurements, and format of data to display from the Time Period list (Last Hour, Last Day, Last Week, Last Month, or Last Year) or the configuration gear settings.
    You can also delete any widget that you do not need on the screen.
  7. To save the summary as a PDF file on your computer:
    1. Click the Export link.
    2. In the popup screen that opens, click Export again to save the file on your computer.
  8. To send the report as an email attachment, click the Export link.
    Note: To send email, you need to configure an SMTP server. If one is not configured, on the Main tab, click System > Configuration > Device > SMTP , and then click Create to configure one first.
    1. Click Send the report file via E-Mail as an attachment.
    2. In the Target E-Mail Address(es) field, type the one or more email addresses (separated by commas or semi-colons).
    3. From the SMTP Server list, select the SMTP server.
    4. Click Export.
    The systems sends an email with the PDF to the specified addresses.
You can adjust the overview and create widgets for the information you are interested in.

Analyzing requests with violations

To review requests with violations, you need to have a security policy that is already handling traffic that is causing violations. If no violations have occurred, you will not see illegal requests listed in the Requests List.
In the Requests List event log, you can view details about a request, including viewing the violation rating, the full request itself, and any violations associated with it. You can also drill down to view detailed descriptions of the violations and potential attacks. When viewing details about an illegal request, if you decide that the request is trusted and you want to allow it, you can accept the violations shown for this specific request.
  1. On the Main tab, click Security > Event Logs > Application > Requests .
    The Requests screen opens, where, by default, you view an event log displaying illegal requests for all security policies.
  2. In the Requests List, click a request to view information about the request and any violations associated with it.
    The screen refreshes, showing the Request Details area, where you see any violations associated with the request and other details, such as the security policy it relates to, the support ID, the violation rating, and potential attacks that it could cause.
  3. Use the Violation area elements to view details about a violation associated with an illegal request:
    • To view details about this specific violation such as the file type, the expected and actual length of the query, or similar relevant information, click the violation name.
    • To display a general description of that type of violation, click the info icon to the left of the violation name.
  4. For violations that you want to allow (false positives), click the Learn button.
    Some violations cannot be learned; the Learn button is unavailable in this case.
    If there are learning suggestions, the violation’s learning screen opens, and you can accept or clear the suggestions one at a time.
  5. To view the actual contents of the request, click HTTP Request or HTTP Response.
  6. When you are done looking at the request details, click Close.
The Requests List provides information about a request such as: the request category, the time of the request, its violation rating, the source IP address of the request, the server response code, and the requested URL itself. Icons on each request line provide additional status information such as whether the request is legal or illegal, blocked, truncated, or has a response. By reviewing the request details, you can investigate whether it was an attack or a false positive.

Ways to analyze a request

To see if any violations have recently occurred, you can examine the event log called the Requests List. It is a good idea to look for spikes and irregular behavior in the Requests List because these usually indicate suspicious activity. As shown in the following figure, you may see a high-rated request within a stream of low-rated (or even legal) requests.

Sample Requests List

Sample Requests List with irregular behavior

In the next example, the enforcement mode of the security policy is set to blocking. In this Requests List, which shows only illegal requests, several requests from one source IP are being blocked.

Sample Requests List

Sample Requests List with illegal requests

The violation ratings indicate how likely a request is to be an attack (4 or 5) or a false positive (1 or 2).

To find out about a particular request, select the check box on the left. The system then displays request details and violations. This request is rated a 4 so you decide to see what the problem is. There are three violations.

Sample requests - general details

Sample request—general details

You can display details about the violation by clicking it, and drill down further. Here we look at the Illegal meta character in parameter name violation. It does not look that serious.

Illegal meta character details

Illegal meta character details

You can examine the other violations to see whether they constitute an attack on your web application, or whether they are legitimate users.

If you need more information, you can look at the actual contents of the request by clicking HTTP Request.

Sample request code

Sample request—code

You can further analyze the Requests List by filtering the data by a specific IP address, and seeing if patterns related to a specific client emerge. You can get a clearer picture of the clients, for example, in a busy and noisy site, where there is a lot of traffic and violation log entries.

Creating a report containing selected requests

You can export a list of selected requests in PDF or binary format for troubleshooting purposes.
  1. On the Main tab, click Security > Event Logs > Application > Requests .
    The Requests screen opens, where, by default, you view an event log displaying illegal requests for all security policies.
  2. If you want to export specific requests, select those requests from the list.
    You can export up to 100 entries in PDF format.
  3. Beneath the Requests List, click Export.
    The Select Export Method popup screen provides options.
  4. Select the export method to use, then click Export.
    • To export selected requests into a document, click Export selected requests in PDF format.

      You can choose to open or save the file created.

    • To export requests to a document and send it by e-mail, click Send selected requests in PDF format to your E-mail address, and type your e-mail address. (Note an SMTP server must be configured on the BIG-IP® system.)
    • To export all requests currently displayed to a tar file, click Binary export of all requests defined by filter.

      The system creates a *.tar.gz file of the requests, and saves it where you specify.

Generating PCI Compliance reports

A PCI Compliance report displays details on how closely the security policy of a web application meets Payment Card Industry (PCI) security standards, PCI-DSS 3.0. You can create printable versions of PCI compliance reports for each web application to assure auditors that the BIG-IP® system and your web applications are secure.
  1. On the Main tab, click Security > Reporting > Application > PCI Compliance .
    The PCI Compliance screen opens showing a compliance report for the current security policy.
  2. To learn more about items that are PCI compliant (items with a green check mark), those which are partially compliant, or those which are not PCI compliant (items with a red X), click the item link in the Requirement column.
    The screen shows information about how to make an item PCI-compliant.
  3. Optionally, in the Details list, you can click a hyperlink (blue text) to go directly to the screen where you can adjust the non-compliant settings.
  4. To create a PDF version of the report that you can save, open, or print, click Printable Version.
  5. To display a PCI compliance report for a different security policy, in the PCI Compliance Report area, from the Security Policy list, select a different policy name.
    A PCI compliance report for the selected policy opens.
The PCI Compliance report lists the security measures that are required to comply with PCI standards. The report indicates which requirements Application Security Manager™ can help enforce, and allows you to view details about what to configure differently to meet compliance standards.

Sample PCI Compliance report

This sample PCI Compliance report examines the security policy called phpauction_2. It shows five requirements that do not comply with PCI-DSS 3.0 (marked with red Xs). Application Security Manager™ has settings that support bringing these requirements into compliance.

Sample PCI Compliance report

Sample PCI Compliance report