Simple Network Monitoring With Windows Firewall Logging And Reporting – Prerequisites
The Windows native firewall has been around for some time now. Currently the firewall supports a number of key features that rival desktop firewalls available from security vendors. It supports inbound and outbound rules, it has support for various protocols and application configurations and it supports profiles for Domain, Private and Public networks.
But there is one big missing component. Like a person with really low self-esteem, it fails in telling you what it does! By default, the Windows firewall does not log its actions. There are also no native tools to show you what it does or help you track potential issues. This is where WebSpy Vantage can step in and help.
By enabling Windows Firewall logging and using WebSpy Vantage to centrally report across all Windows Firewall logs, you can have a simple network monitoring solution up and running in moments. This article will step through the process of first enabling and configuring logging in Windows Firewall.
The second part will show you how to use Webspy Vantage to analyse and report on the logs. As mentioned earlier, there are many ways of configuring Windows firewall. You may like to change this to a central logging server. You can now use the robust Windows reporting solution supplied by Microsoft to make sure the log is being written to. You will notice that the information is quite basic, but even this level of metadata can be very valuable when used in the correct context.
WebSpy Vantage is a powerful log analysis and reporting framework and can be used for far more than just reporting Internet web usage. You will see below how it can enable you to make use of data that you might otherwise ignore.
You will see your log file s begin to import and will be notified when it has completed. You might like to go to the Tasks tab at this stage and add a new Daily task say for 1 am to import new hits into existing storage automatically. Now that you have imported your Windows Firewall logs into a WebSpy Vantage storage, you can use that Storage for analysis and reporting. Even if you delete the original log files, your Storage will not be affected. You can see that even using the very basic log data from Windows Firewall, valuable information can be manipulated using the Summaries tab.
For example, the screenshot below shows how you can drilldown to investigate the Destination Ports that Windows Firewall allowed on a specific IP address. You can also create report templates to extract information into a single document such as the most active devices or the most blocked traffic. You can filter, graph and table the information to your own designs and specification. What makes Windows Firewall great is that you literally have them everywhere, so you can use them to listen to the network and tell you what is happening.
In the same way a botnet works, the collective is far more powerful than the sum of its members. Webspy Vantage is able to import logs from multiple machines and combine them into a single storage.
You can then generate an analysis or report on one or more storages. Having this collective view of your network is very powerful, and it enables you to mine useful information by combining the fragments of the larger network traffic picture.
WebSpy Vantage allows you to consolidate your Windows Firewall logs, enabling central monitoring and reporting across your network. Depending on the compliance you are trying to achieve for your environment, you would now be able to prove that you have a managed firewall strategy that is actively protecting your desktops. Previous Next. Enabling and Configuring Windows Firewall Logging As mentioned earlier, there are many ways of configuring Windows firewall.
Increase the file maximum size. Check that the log is being populated You can now use the robust Windows reporting solution supplied by Microsoft to make sure the log is being written to.
Using WebSpy Vantage to Analyse Windows Firewall logs WebSpy Vantage is a powerful log analysis and reporting framework and can be used for far more than just reporting Internet web usage.
Analyzing Windows Firewall logs Now that you have imported your Windows Firewall logs into a WebSpy Vantage storage, you can use that Storage for analysis and reporting.
Reporting on Windows Firewall Logs You can also create report templates to extract information into a single document such as the most active devices or the most blocked traffic. Analyzing Multiple Windows Firewall Logs What makes Windows Firewall great is that you literally have them everywhere, so you can use them to listen to the network and tell you what is happening. Conclusion WebSpy Vantage allows you to consolidate your Windows Firewall logs, enabling central monitoring and reporting across your network.
About the Author: Etienne. Based in Cape Town, South Africa, Etienne is an IT Professional working in various environments building, testing and maintaining systems for a large national retail chain.
Etienne is the technical blogger and primary technical consultant for FixMyITsystem. Related Posts.
– How to monitor windows firewall traffic
This will then open the log. What happened to the connection. In order: the IP of the origin of the connection your PC , the IP of the destination the recipient you want, such as a webpage , and the port used on your computer.
This is handy for spotting any ports that require opening for software to work. Also, keep an eye for any suspicious-looking connections being made; it might be malware in play! The above should allow you to get started with figuring out connection issues. By using the Windows Firewall log, you can better analyse the kind of data your PC is handling.
You can then diagnose if network issues are due to the firewall or if something else is disrupting your connections. With these steps you can peek into the inner workings of your firewall and get an idea as to what is happening on your network.
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Time — Indicates that all the timestamp information in the log are in local time. Fields — Displays a list of fields that are available for security log entries, if data is available.
The hours are referenced in hour format. As you notice, the log entry is indeed big and may have up to 17 pieces of information associated with each event. However, only the first eight pieces of information are important for general analysis. With the details in your hand now you can analyze the information for malicious activity or debug application failures.
If you suspect any malicious activity, then open the log file in Notepad and filter all the log entries with DROP in the action field and note whether the destination IP address ends with a number other than If you find many such entries, then take a note of the destination IP addresses of the packets. Once you have finished troubleshooting the problem, you can disable the firewall logging. Troubleshooting network problems can be quite daunting at times and a recommended good practice when troubleshooting Windows Firewall is to enable the native logs.
Although the Windows Firewall log file is not useful for analyzing the overall security of your network, it still remains a good practice if you want to monitor what is happening behind the scenes.
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How to Track Firewall Activity with Windows Firewall Log ?.How to Track Firewall Activity with the Windows Firewall Log
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