VMM-Based Log-Tampering and Loss Detection Scheme
Masaya Sato and Toshihiro Yamauchi
Graduate School of Natural Science and Technology
Logging information about the activities that placed in a
computer is essential for understanding its behavior. In
Homeland Security, the reliability of the computers used in
their activities is of paramount importance. However,
attackers can delete logs to hide evidence of their activities.
Additionally, various problems may result in logs being
lost. These problems decrease the dependability of
Homeland Security. To address these problems, we
previously proposed a secure logging scheme using a
virtual machine monitor (VMM). The scheme collects logs
and isolates them from the monitored OS. However, the
scheme cannot store them automatically. Thus, logs in
memory are lost when the computer is shutdown. Further,
if the logs are not stored, it is impossible to detect incidents
of tampering by comparing the logs of the monitored OS
with those of the logging OS. To address these additional
problems, this paper proposes a log-storing module and a
tamper detection scheme. The log-storing module
automatically stores logs collected by the logging module,
and tamper detection is realized by comparing these
stored log files with those of the monitored OS. We
implemented the log-storing module and realized the
tamper detection scheme. Evaluations reveal the
effectiveness of the tamper detection scheme.
Keywords: Log protection, detecting log tampering,
syslog, digital forensics, virtualization technology
The countermeasure for terrorism is one important topic in
Homeland Security. In the field of counter-terrorism,
enormous quantity of data is gathered and analyzed for the
planning of countermeasures. Computers and networks are
used to gather and analyze data, computer science is
deeply committed to homeland defense and security. In the
field of computer science, countermeasures are considered
for cyber terrorism as an activity in Homeland Security.
Recently, information technology is used as a tool to
control infrastructures. Cyber terrorism is able to cause
critical damage on infrastructures in low cost. Thus, the
countermeasure for cyber terrorism has been discussed.
However, the countermeasures might be weakened by
attacking on the data gathered for Homeland Security.
Therefore, the protection of the data is important. The
protection of the logs of the APs is also necessary to ensure
the validity of gathered information.
The computer terrorism has two characters: anonymity
and the lack of evidences of attacks. In computer terrorism,
it is difficult to acquire the information that specifies the
attacker. Because there are no evidences left on attacks
using network, the logs that records the behavior of the
systems are important. For this reason, the protection of
the information is necessary for the prevention and
investigation of computer terrorism.
Insider threat study is important issue in the field of
Homeland Security . The purpose of insider threat study
is to help understand, detect, and prevent bad insider
activities. Log protection is one of the most important
techniques of insider threat study because logs that contain
records of system are necessary for forensics to specify
attacker's activities [2, 3].
Digital forensics is a method or technology for
addressing these problems. This is a scientific method or
research technology for court actions, which allows us to
explain the validity of the electronic records. Many
researchers are working in this area of the protection of
logging information [4-8].
Furthermore, in the United States, the federal chief
information officer announced that the government starts
using cloud computing in the federal government in
September 2009 . The privacy office of the department
of Homeland Security is deeply involved in the initiative
from the beginning. From these reasons, in the field of
Homeland Security, it is strongly required for security
mechanisms to adapt to the cloud computing environment.
A firewall is efficient solution for security of the cloud
computing environment because the users need to connect
to it via network. However, the importance of logs is
remaining because server and network logs are used to
validate or confirm firewall rules .
Syslog is commonly used as a logging program in Linux.
In this case, the logging information generated by the AP
(user log) and kernel (kernel log) is collected by syslog.
Syslog writes logs to file according to the policy, so
attackers can tamper with logs by modifying the policy.
Moreover, if the syslog program itself is attacked, the log
files written are not reliable. In addition, the kernel log is
stored in a ring buffer, and therefore, since the kernel log is
collected on a regular schedule, if many logs are generated
and stored in the ring buffer before the next collecting time,
old logs may be overwritten by new logs. As described
above, the user log and kernel log can be tampered with or
To address these problems, we proposed a logging
system to prevent tampering and loss of logs with the
virtual machine monitor (VMM) . In this system, the
OS that should be monitored (the monitored OS) works on
the virtual machine (VM). Logs in the monitored OS are
collected by the VMM without any modification of the
monitored OS’s kernel source codes. Because the system
collects logs just after the output of logs, any possibilities
for tampering are excluded. In addition, no kernel logs are
lost through the buffer being overwritten by new kernel
Because the proposed system uses virtualization
technology, it is compatible with cloud computing
environment. Thus, the proposed system is suitable for
providing the federal cloud computing environment with
Our previously proposed system has two problems.
(1) Loss of logged information when the machine is
powered-off or restarted.
(2) Difficulty in detecting incidents of log tampering by
The system that we proposed earlier keeps logs of the
monitored OS in the memory region of the VMM. As a
result, logs in the memory are lost when the machine is
powered-off or rebooted. Thus, if loss does occur, it is
unable to detect loss and tampering of logging information.
To solve these problems, this paper proposes a log-storing
module that stores logs collected by the logging module to
files. The log-storing module copies logs to the logging OS
in as soon as they are collected from the monitored OS.
The logging OS receives the logs and stores them in files
via the syslog daemon.
The logging module in our previously proposed system
also cannot compare logs directly. Consequently, it is
unable to detect log tampering immediately. This paper
also proposes a log-tampering detection function. The
function compares the logs of the monitored OS with those
of the logging OS. By comparing these log files, we can
detect incidents of log tampering in the monitored OS.
Moreover, if the logs in the monitored OS are tampered
with, our proposed function can detect exactly where and
how the logs were tampered with.
The contributions made in this paper are as follows:
(1) A log-storing module that enables the VMM to store
logs in files in a separate VM is proposed. The
logging module previously proposed in  is not
able to store logs to the VM automatically.
Consequently, accidental shutting down of a
computer before the log-storing command execution
may result in the logs currently in the memory being
lost. The log-storing module enhances the logging
mechanism by ensuring that log files are preserved.
(2) A scheme that detects incidents of log tampering and
loss by comparing logs is proposed. The scheme
enables us to detect incidents of changed or deleted
logs. In addition, the scheme can identify the area
where the change occurred. The results of
experiments confirm that this scheme enables the
detection of incidents of log tampering carried out by
The remainder of this paper is organized as follows:
Section 2 describes the problems of logging with syslog
and gives an overview of the previously proposed log
syslog.conf Log File
Figure 1 Architecture of syslog.
collecting scheme, the problems it addresses, and the
problems it did not resolve. Section 3 describes our
proposed log-storing scheme. Section 4 describes our
proposed method for detecting log tampering. Section 5
discusses the evaluations carried out on our proposed
schemes. Section 6 discusses related work, and section 7
concludes this paper.
2 The Logging Module and Its
In this section, we describe the architecture of syslog. We
also look at the previously proposed logging scheme based
on the VMM, along with its problems.
2.1 Syslog's Problems and Requirements for
Syslog is a protocol for system management and security
monitoring. Syslog consists of a library and a daemon.
Figure 1 shows the architecture of syslog. User and kernel
logs are collected as follows.
The syslog library provides functions for user program
to send log messages to the syslog daemon. The syslog
function sends messages to /dev/log with the send or write
system call, and the syslog daemon collects logs from
/dev/log with the read system call.
The kernel accumulates logs in internal buffer (kernel
log buffer). The kernel logging daemon (klogd) gathers
logs from the kernel log buffer, and afterwards, klogd
similarly sends logs to the syslog daemon.
Syslog also has a filtering function. Its policies are
described in the configuration file (syslog.conf).
Syslog has the following problems:
(1) The behavior of the syslog daemon can be modified
by tampering with the configuration file. In addition,
if the syslog daemon itself is tampered with, its output
can be unreliable.
(2) Users who have permission to access logs can tamper
with them intentionally.
(3) Kernel logs in Linux are accumulated in the ring
buffer and are collected at fixed intervals. Thus, if the
logs are not collected for a long time, old logs can be
overwritten by new ones. Old logs will also be
overwritten if many logs are accumulated in a time
that is shorter than the collecting interval.
New syslog daemons have been developed with the aim
of achieving greater security [12, 13]. A number of current
research projects are also geared towards the protection of
the logs. These include protection of log files [4-6],
protection of syslog programs , and other original
logging method that independent of syslog . However,
no method has yet addressed all of the above problems.
To address the problems outlined above, we proposed
and implemented a logging mechanism with virtualization
technology that fulfills the following requirements:
(1) Detection of all outputs of log (user and kernel log).
(2) Isolation of log.
(3) Security of logging mechanism.
Our implemented system is OS independent, adaptable
to various environments, and easy to adapt to newer OS
kernel versions. Although it is necessary for protection of
the log, OS (and version) independence had until this point
proven to be an insurmountable obstacle in the
implementation of this kind of system.
2.2 The Logging Module
2.2.1 Overview of the Logging Module
Figure 2 depicts the architecture of the logging module.
The monitored OS runs in the VM, while the logging
module operates in the VMM (the details are described
below). Here, we use Xen as the VMM . The logging
module collects logs generated by a user process works in
the monitored OS. After that, the collected logs are copied
by the xend daemon, which operates in Domain0.
Domain0 has privileged controls of the VMM. The xend
daemon controls the VMM. It copies the accumulated logs
from the VMM to Domain0 and stores them in files. Our
previous paper  details the implementation of this
2.2.2 The User Log Collector
The collector acquires logs when the requirement for
sending user logs occurs. As shown in Figure 2, the
logging module in the VMM hooks the system call that
was invoked for sending logs from the user process to the
To hook system calls in the VM, it is necessary that the
mechanism enable the VMM to detect invocation of
system calls in the VM. Therefore, in the logging module,
we applied a mechanism that causes a page fault when a
system call is invoked . In a fully virtualized
environment, if a page fault occurs on the VM, then the
VMM is raised (VM exit) . After the VMM has been
raised, the logging module acquires the user logs and hides
the occurrence of the page fault. Finally, the VMM raises
the guest OS, which works as if no event has occurred.
In this method, to cause a page fault, we modified some
registers of the monitored OS. A system call using the
sysenter (fast system call) refers the value in
sysenter_eip_msr and jumps to its address to execute the
User Log CollectorKernel Log Collector
Figure 2 Architecture of the logging module.
system call function (sysenter_eip_msr is one of the
machine-specific register (MSR)). Through modification
of this value to another address to which access is not
permitted from the monitored OS, a page fault is made to
occur when a system call is invoked.
2.2.3 The Kernel Log Collector
The collector acquires logs when the kernel logging
function is called in a guest OS. Normally, the VMM
cannot detect a function call in a guest OS. To solve this
problem, the system sets a breakpoint in the guest OS, a
breakpoint exception occurs when some process reaches
this breakpoint. In our previously proposed system, since
the guest OSs are fully virtualized, breakpoint exception is
handled by the VMM. Using the exception as an
opportunity to acquire logs, the VMM can collect kernel
When the processing is brought to the VMM, the
logging module checks the state of the kernel log buffer of
the monitored OS. If new logs have accumulated in the
buffer, the logging module collects them. After that, the
VMM returns the processing to the guest OS. Since these
processes have no effect on the state of the guest OS, the
guest OS can continue to write to the kernel log.
In this method, since kernel logs are collected when a
kernel logging function is called, newer ones never
overwrite old logs.
2.3 Logging Module Problems
The logs collected by the logging module are stored in the
memory region managed by the VMM, logs are never
copied without a request from Domain0. In this situation,
logs in the memory will be lost when the machine is
powered off or rebooted.
In addition, if the machine is powered off without the logs
being saved to a file, the system loses the resources needed
for log comparison and the detection of tampering.
3 The Log-Storing Module
To address the problems outlined at Section 2.3, this paper
proposes a log-storing module that automatically stores
Figure 3 Architecture of the log-storing Module.
logs to disks. The module automatically transfers logs
from the VMM to the logging OS, and the logging AP
operating in the logging OS saves the logs to disks. This
module enhances the logging mechanism by ensuring that
log files are preserved.
There are two requirements that need to be met in order
for the log-storing module to address the problems
outlined in Section 2.3. These requirements as follows:
(1) Assured reception and storing of the logs from the
VMM to files in the logging OS.
(2) Keeping the overheads that arise in the log-storing
module at a minimum.
Requirement (1) is necessary for ensuring that the logs are
indeed preserved, while requirement (2) is necessary
because the overheads that arise in the log-storing module
affect the performance of the monitored OS.
3.2 Overview of the Log-Storing Module
Figure 3 depicts the architecture of the log-storing module.
In the Figure 3, arrows indicate the path of the logs as they
are collected by the proposed system. The arrows with the
closely spaced broken lines (black) indicate the
conventional logging path used by the syslog daemon. The
arrow with the more widely spaced broken line (light blue)
indicates the collaboration between the logging AP and the
Figure 4 depicts the flow of the log storing. The flow
divided into two parts: the accumulating part and the
storing part. In the accumulating part, when the logging
module detects system call invocation in the monitored OS,
the logging module copies logs from the monitored OS to
the VMM. The log-storing module then notifies the
logging AP that logs has been collected. The Detail of the
notification is described in Section 3.3. After the
notification, the logging module returns processing to the
monitored OS. In the storing part, the logging AP requests
a copy of the logs. To respond to the request, the VMM
copies logs to the logging AP and the AP transfers the logs
to the modified syslog daemon, which stores them to files.
Here, the syslog daemon in the logging OS uses the
same logging policy as that used by the syslog daemon in
the monitored OS. In storing the logs to files, the logs are
compressed and the messages sorted based on this syslog
daemon policy. If the logging AP had directly stored the
logs to files, it would have been difficult to compare them
to the logs in the monitored OS. Using the same policy in
(A) The accumulating part
Detect an invoking of system
call in the monitored OS
Copy logs from the
monitored OS to the VMM
Send a event to
the logging OS for
Fix register’s value
Return processing to the
Is it send or
The target is
Receive an event from the
Copy logs from the buffer to
the VMCS for the logging OS
VM Enter to the logging OS
(Logs contained is the VMCS
are automatically copied to
the logging OS)
The logging AP sends logs to
the syslog daemon works on
the logging OS
The syslog daemon stores
logs to the file
Logs are left
in the VMM?
(B) The storing part
Figure 4 The flow of log storing.
the logging OS as the monitored OS enables us to compare
3.3 Communication between the VMM and the
An event channel is used for communication between the
VMM and the logging AP. Events are the standard
mechanism for delivering notifications from the
hypervisor to guests, or between guests. Events fall into
three categories; inter-VM events, physical IRQ, and
virtual IRQs. We use the inter-VM events in
communication between the logging AP and the VMM.
Communications between the VMM and the logging OS
consists of the VMM notifying the logging OS that logs
have been collected by the logging module. In this case,
there are two types of events that the logging AP can be
made aware of. In the first type of event, a notification is
given for each logs collected, while the other type of event
is triggered when the size of the accumulated logs exceeds
a specified limit. The latter has little overheads than the
former because the number of copy is less than that of the
former. However, the latter has a risk for losing large
amounts of logs. If the machine is powered off without the
logs being stored to the files in the logging OS, all of the
logs in the VMM are lost. This situation largely affects the
latter more than the former. Thus, from the viewpoint of
log preservation assurance, the former is better than the
Further, the latter requires that a large amount of
memory be reserved in the VMM region. This
over-reservation of memory in the VMM reduces the
space available for VMs.
For these reasons, we selected the former notification
technique for use with the logging AP.
3.4 Copying Logs to the Logging AP
3.4.1 Timing of Event Delivery
The event is not delivered instantaneously. An event is
first queued to the target OS, after which the target OS is
scheduled and queued events delivered. Thus, some
amounts of delay in event delivery should be taken into
consideration in log collection notification.
To compensate the delay of event delivering, the
log-storing module should buffers logs in the memory. In
contrast to buffering, our module sends an event
immediately as each log is collected from the monitored
OS because we need to store the logs as quickly as possible.
Therefore, as soon as a notification reaches to the logging
OS, the logging AP copies the logs from the VMM to its
own memory region.
3.4.2 Reducing Copy Overheads
To fulfill the requirement (2), the overheads that arise
during the copying of the logs must be kept to a minimum.
Until the request hypercall reaches to the VMM, logs are
buffered in the VMM. When the hypercall is invoked by
the logging OS, all buffered logs are copied to the logging
Currently, our proposed method buffers logs only when
many events are queued to the logging OS. The logging
module sends an event when the module detects log
sending on the monitored OS. An event is asynchronously
reaches to a guest OS. Thus, logs are copied from the
VMM to the logging OS when the logging OS invokes
hypercall to require log copying. In this case, if the logging
module sends an event in every time of detection of log
sending on the monitored OS, the logging OS may invoke
hypercalls in every event. However, the log-storing
module copies all logs accumulated in the VMM at one
time. Thus, the logging OS invokes unnecessary
hypercalls. The transition between a guest OS and the
VMM takes about two microseconds. Thus, unnecessary
hypercall invocation degrades performance.
To address this problem, the logging module reduces
sending of unnecessary event. The logging module does
not send an event if logs are accumulated in the VMM’s
memory region and the logging module already sent an
event. With this mechanism, the VMM can copy logs to
the logging OS with an event and a hypercall. Thus, there
are only necessary event and hypercall exist. Figure 5
shows the reduction of unnecessary events. Incidentally,
the reduction of unnecessary events does not degrade the
log preservation assurance referred in Section 3.3.
To reduce the overheads, it is effective to minimize
the number of copy. To minimize the copy overheads,
log-buffering mechanism referred in Section 3.3 is
effective. However, it is a challenging problem and not
implemented in current our proposed system.
3.5 Log-Storing in the Logging OS
Figure 6 depicts the overview of the log storing procedure
in the logging OS. To store logs to files, the logging AP
and the modified syslog daemon are works on the logging
OS. The logging AP receives logs of the monitored OS via
the storing module works in the VMM. The modified
VMM The Logging OS
Do not care about
VMM The Logging OS
Figure 5 Reducing unnecessary events.
/ (root directory)
Logs stored by
Logs stored by
Figure 6 Log-storing with modified syslog daemon.
syslog daemon stores logs to files. The reason why we
modified the syslog daemon in the logging OS is to avoid
mixing of logs between the monitored OS and the logging
OS. Normal syslog daemon receives logs via the /dev/log
socket file. Meanwhile, the modified syslog daemon
receives logs via the /dev/xllog socket file. The logging AP
sends the collected logs to the /dev/xllog socket file and
the modified syslog daemon receives logs via the socket
file. In this method, the collected logs from the VMM are
stored separately from the log files stored by the normal
syslog daemon. In this situation, two syslog daemons
(normal one and modified one) are running in the logging
OS. Furthermore, for ease of comparison, the modified
daemon loads the policy of the syslog daemon operates in
the monitored OS. At this time, if the policy loads by the
modified syslog daemon is completely same as the policy
loads by the normal one, the log files stored in the logging
OS contains both logs of the monitored OS and those of the
logging OS. If both logs are stored together, it is difficult to
find out the logs collected by the logging AP.
For these reasons, we change the directory used for
storing the logs collected by the logging AP. For example,
we change the policy as stores the logs that are originally
stored to the /var/log/messages to the
/var/log/monitored_OS/var/log/messages. In this case, the
modified syslog daemon in the logging OS assumes the
root directory as the /var/log/monitored_OS. With this
change, we can compare log files in the monitored OS with
those in the logging OS easily.
4 Detection of Log Tampering
To detect incidents of log tampering, we compares the logs
in the monitored OS with those of the logging OS. For
fine-grained analysis, a file comparing method is useful. In
this section, we describe the method to detect incidents of
log tampering and loss by comparing log files.
Figure 7 depicts the flow of tampering detection. First,
we replace hostname column of the log file in the logging
OS as the hostname of the monitored OS because the file
contains the hostname of the logging OS. Second, we
mount the disk image of the monitored OS. Then, we
extract log entries that we want to compare, and finally,
compare log files between the monitored OS and the
logging OS. In this process, if a difference is detected, that
is the part tampered with.
4.1 Requirements for Detection of Log Tampering
To detect tampering by means of log file comparison, the
following entries are required.
(4) Log message.
The reason is as follows. A hostname is needed in order to
determine the source of log. A timestamp, a username, and
a log message are necessary to ascertain the veracity of the
environment containing the log. Attackers tamper with
logs to hide the time of command execution and the
identity of the who executed the command. A log message
is needed in order to determine what changes were caused
By comparing these entries between the monitored OS
and the logging OS, we can detect what and how those
entries were tampered with.
4.2 Comparing Logs
Acquire log files in the monitored OS and compare them
with log files those are stored by logging AP. To get the
logs in the monitored OS, we mounted the disk image that
the monitored OS currently using. Thus, the comparison
can be done even if the monitored OS is working on.
In comparing log files, diff is useful tool. However, it is
difficult to compare logs in untouched format because the
difference between logs in the monitored OS and the
logging OS. If there are many differences in each log file,
diff cannot give us efficient information. Thus we
modified the syslog daemon in the logging OS to use the
policy in the monitored OS. If the syslog daemon loads and
uses the policy in the monitored OS, we can easily detect
Replace hostname column
Mount disk image of the monitored OS
Compare log files between the
monitored OS and the logging OS
Extract log entries what we want to
Figure 7 The flow of tampering detection.
Figure 8 Directory tree in each OS.
tampering by comparing log files in each OS.
Figure 8 depicts the directory trees in each OS. As
shown in Figure 8, to detect tampering, we just compare
log files in each OS. The /var/log/monitored_OS/var/log/
directory in the logging OS corresponds to the /var/log/
directory in the monitored OS.
4.3 Log Formatting
The logs stored by the modified syslog daemon contain the
hostname of the logging OS (not the hostname of the
monitored OS), while other required entries are correctly
stored. To address this problem, we format the logs in the
logging OS collected by the logging AP to replace the
hostname of the logging OS to that of the monitored OS.
Incidents of log tampering are detected by comparing log
files. If a log in the monitored OS is tampered with, the
comparison enables us to detect this occurrence. The
comparison also enables us to detect exactly where and
how the log was tampered with.
Tripwire  can detect any changes in a designated set
of files and directories. However, Tripwire’s detection
mechanism uses signature comparison. As a result, it is
unable to indicate what part of the file has changed. In
Figure 9 Result of diff command applied to auth.log in the monitored OS and the logging OS.
Table 1 Software used for evaluation.
order to achieve this, a method such as content comparison
is needed. Our proposed detection method incorporates
content comparison to detect file changes.
Our proposed method, however, is not suitable for
instantaneous tamper detection. Thus, we recommend that
our method be combined with a method that
instantaneously detects file changes to provide
comprehensive, efficient means of detecting and analyzing
We evaluated the system from three points of view:
completeness of the collected logs, ability to detect
tampering, and the overheads that arise in our proposed
system. Table 1 indicates software used for evaluation.
5.2 Completeness of Collected Logs
To confirm the ability of the log-storing module to store
logs completely, we used ApacheBench benchmark tool.
With the tool, we requested a file 500 times in a short time.
Here, the concurrency of the connection by the tool is 1
and the length of each log entry is 104, total length of these
lines is 52,000. The web server outputs logs in each access
and the log-storing module attempts to store logs in each
output of log.
After the experiment, we checked the log file stored in
the logging OS. The file contains all of log entries and it
indicates the total time consumed by the experiment is less
than 1 second. With this result, it is considered that the
proposed log-storing module have enough ability to store
logs with no loss of logs even in high-load situation.
5.3 Detection of Log Tampering
To detect log tampering by our proposed logging module
and the log-storing module, we tamper with logs by a log
wiper program. After that, comparing each log to detect
tampering and file changes.
We use Vanish as a log wiper written for educational
purpose. Vanish remove a log entry that contains a
designated username, hostname and IP address.
For detection of log tampering, we delete log entries in
the auth.log log file in the monitored OS with Vanish. We
add a new user “thief” in the monitored OS. Here, we
assume that the user “thief” can use sudo command. After
logged in as “thief”, we use sudo. The execution of sudo is
logged to auth.log. Finally, we tampered with logs by
Vanish to delete log entries that contain “thief”. To detect
this file change, we compared the auth.log in the
monitored OS and that in the logging OS.
Figure 9 shows the output of diff command applied to
the auth.log in the monitored OS and the logging OS. Log
entries shown in Figure 9 are not appeared in the auth.log
in the monitored OS because those are deleted by Vanish.
From the result, our proposed logging scheme
prevented tampering of log files by isolating logs from the
monitored OS. Moreover, the scheme can detect the file
changes in the log files in the monitored OS.
5.4 Security of the Logging Path
To guarantee the integrity of a log, it is necessary to ensure
the security of the logging path. Here, we compare the
security of the logging paths of the existing and the
First, we analyze the logging path of a user log. A user
log might be attacked at the following points:
(1) The time when a user process generates a log.
(2) The time between the sending of a log and its receipt
by the syslog daemon.
(3) The time between the reception by the syslog daemon
and storing it to a file.
(4) After the output of a log.
The existing system cannot detect and prevent
tampering or the loss of logs at any time. In contrast, in the
proposed system, time (1) is the only possible time when
attacks might be suffered. To protect the logs in the time
(1), it is necessary to ensure the integrity of all programs
that generate logs. In this case, DigSig  is suitable but
this method does not satisfy our demand because it
modifies the kernel codes. Moreover, this method cases a
Second, we analyze the logging path of a kernel log. A
kernel log might be attacked at the following moments:
(1) The time to generate a kernel log in a kernel.
(2) The time to output the log to a kernel log buffer.
(3) While stored in the kernel log buffer.
(4) The time during which a kernel logging daemon
gathers a log.
(5) While the kernel logging daemon sends the log to
(6) While syslog stores the log to a file.
(7) After the output of a log.
< Nov 27 22:56:22 debian
: user : TTY=pts/0 ; PWD=/home/user ; USER=root ; COMMAND=/bin/login thief
< Nov 27 22:56:24 debian login:
): session opened for user thief by user(
< Nov 27 22:56:51 debian
: thief : TTY=pts/0 ; PWD=/home/thief/vanish ; USER=root ; COMMAND=/bin/bash
< Nov 27 22:58:08 debian
: thief : TTY=pts/0 ; PWD=/home/thief/vanish ; USER=root ; COMMAND=./vanish
Table 3 Performance comparison in each environment.
1 KB File
100 KB File
(C) The logging
(C) The logging
(3) The logging module
(4) The logging module
and the log-storing
Table 2 Environment used for measurement.
Core 2 Duo
The Logging OS
The Monitored OS
In the existing system, it is impossible to protect a log
from an attack by a rootkit at any time. Furthermore, there
is a possibility of attack similar to the logging of a user log
if the kernel is safe. The proposed system gathers a log at
time (2). We can consider tampering with the kernel
logging function as an example of an attack at time (2).
However, the log gathered by the proposed system is the
previous one. Therefore, the logs might be attacked at time
(3). Thus, the proposed system can address attacks on and
after time (4). The improvement of the proposed system
for gathering a log immediately after its output enables it
to address time (3) as well.
We measured the overheads that arise in our proposed
system. To evaluate the effects for APs, we used thttpd
web server and ApacheBench benchmark tool for
measurement of throughputs of the web server. Since
thttpd uses syslog function for logging, it is suite for
evaluation of our proposed system.
Table 2 shows the environment used for measurement.
In the environment, thttpd operates on the monitored OS
and ApacheBench is executed on the client machine. The
concurrency of the connection is 1 and the number of total
requests is 100. We requested 1 KB and 100 KB files and
measured throughputs in both experiments.
Figure 10 shows the results of the measurement. Table 3
compares the performance in each environment. From the
comparison, the log-storing module causes large
overheads. The throughput of 1 KB transfer in the
environment (4) is about 37% to that in the environment
(1). The throughput of 100 KB file transfer of the
environment (4) is about 70% to that in the environment
(1). The relative performance in 100 KB file transfer is
better than that in 1 KB file transfer. It is considered that
the ratio of file transfer becomes greater in total workload
in the case of 100 KB file transfer. From these
measurements, it is found that reducing the overheads that
arise in our proposed system is a challenge for the future.
Logging Module + Log Storing Module
Figure 10 Throughputs of web server in each
environment (file size: 1 KB).
5.6 Case Study
Assuming the situation that an attacker intruded into the
virtual machine, which contains large amount of
information related to Homeland Security. In ordinary
circumstances, it is difficult to intrude into those virtual
machines. At this time, we assume insider threats. If the
insider intruded into the virtual machine, he firstly try to
terminate or fake the logging daemon to hide his activities.
In here, we assume the attacker alter the logging daemon
that are modified to do not output logs related to his
malicious activities. After successfully altered the daemon,
he operates some malicious work and delete their activities
related to the intrusion. Finally, he collects some important
information and restores the logging daemon.
In this case, if the administrator of the virtual machine
installed the tripwire, he can detect the modification of log
files but he cannot prevent modification of files.
If the proposed system is installed in the virtual
machine monitor lying under the virtual machine, he can
prevent tampering of the log files because the VMM
collects logs to the other virtual machine. Thus, the
administrator can also detect tampering with log files.
6 Related Work
In this section, we discuss work related our research
outlined in this paper. Section 6.1 describes a file integrity
checking method, while Sections 6.2 to 6.4 describe log
6.1 File Integrity Check
Tripwire  can detect changes in a designated set of
files and directories. However, because the detection is
carried out by comparing file signatures, it is unable to
detect where in a file the change occurred, or how the file
was changed. Kim and Spafford  state that the file
comparison method is better than signature comparison
and has fine detection capabilities. However, they also
allege that the file comparison method is resource and time
intensive. Our proposed tamper detection method detects
and copies only those logs used by syslog and kernel
logging function. Thus, there is no need to copy an entire
file. Moreover, the method detects and copies only new
logs-which require minimal overheads. For these reasons,
we believe that our proposed method includes none of
problems outlined in .
Our proposed method, however, is not suitable for
instantaneous tamper detection. Thus, we recommend that
our method be combined with a method that
instantaneously detects file changes to provide a
comprehensive, efficient means of detecting and analyzing
6.2 Protection of Log File
Some research has been carried out on the protection of
files by the file system. The system NIGELOG has been
proposed for protecting log files . This method has a
tolerance for file deletion. It produces multiple backups of
a log file, keeps them in the file system, and periodically
moves them to other directories. By comparing the original
file and the backups, any tampering with the log file can be
detected. Moreover, if any tampering is detected, the
information that has been tampered with can be restored
from these backups.
The protection of files with the file system is still
vulnerable to attacks that analyze the file system.
Therefore, a log-protection method using virtualization
has been proposed . This method protects logs by
saving them to another VM, so it is impossible to tamper
with the logs from other VM. However, this method aims
to protect the log of a journaling file system, so the scope
of the protection target is different from that in our
The hysteresis signature is used to achieve the integrity
of files. However, it is known that the algorithm of the
hysteresis signature has a critical weak point. Although the
hysteresis signature can detect the tampering and deletion
of files, it cannot prevent tampering and deletion.
Moreover, the manager of the signature generation
histories can tamper with the histories and files. Therefore,
a mechanism to solve this problem using a security device
has been proposed . Because this method constructs a
trust chain from the data in the tamper-tolerant area of the
security device, the source of the trust chain is protected
from attackers. Nevertheless, this method is not versatile
because it uses the special device..
6.3 Protection of Syslog
The methods mentioned above are protecting log files.
However, they cannot protect logs before storing of them.
Thus, a method to guarantee syslog’s integrity has been
proposed , which uses a Trusted Platform Module
(TPM) and a late launch by a Secure Virtual Machine
(SVM) to ensure the validity of syslog. The validated
syslog receives logs and sends them to a remote syslog.
Table 4 Security comparison between the
proposed system and related works.
of log loss
The proposed system
Security device and
hysteresis signature 
Protect the log of a
journaling file system
using virtualization 
Protection of syslog with
TPM and SVM 
system monitoring 
6.4 Other Logging Method
An original logging method, independent of syslog, has
been proposed for audit . This method uses Linux
Security Modules (LSM) to collect the logs, and
Mandatory Access Control (MAC) to ensure their validity.
The system also uses SecVisor , and DigSig .
SecVisor ensures the security of the logging framework,
and DigSig prevents rootkit from making modifications to
access permissions. DigSig adds a signature to a program,
and prevents the execution of an unknown program by
verifying its signature. This method collects logs in its own
way, but the method modifies the kernel source codes. In
general, kernel modification is difficult and complex, so
the method lacks versatility. In addition, the method uses
variety of mechanisms, the overheads arising from them
have large effect on daily operations on computers.
6.5 Comparison between the proposed system and
Table 4 shows the comparison between our proposed
system and related works. The comparison noticed on
prevention of log tampering, prevention of log loss, and
detection of log tampering and loss.
The proposed system can prevent log tampering and
loss and detect them. Protection of the logs of journaling
file system  is secure than other methods. However, the
protection method only protects the log of journaling file
system. Other methods only prevent tampering or loss, and
many other methods aims to detect tampering and loss.
In this paper, we proposed and described a log-storing
module that stores logs collected by the logging module in
a separate VM. We also described our log tampering
detection technique, which is based on log comparison.
Evaluations of our proposed method’s ability to detect
tampering by real malware were also described with the
results of the evaluations confirming that our
log-tampering detection function has enough ability to
detect this kind of tampering.
An evaluation of the impact of our proposed method on
the performance of the monitored OS was also concluded.
The evaluation shows that the proposed method decreases
the performance of thttpd web server to 37% of that
operates in not-virtualized environment in a worst case.
From the evaluation, it is found that reducing the
overheads that arise in our proposed system is a challenge
for the future.
This research was partially supported by Grant-in-Aid for
Scientific Research 21700034 and a grant from the
Telecommunications Advancement Foundation (TAF).
 Marisa Reddy Randazzo, Michelle Keeney, Eileen
Kowalski, Dawn M. Cappelli and Andrew P. Moore,
Insider Threat Study: Illicit Cyber Activity in the
Banking and Finance Sector, Carnegie Mellon
University Technical Report CMU/SEI-2004-TR-021,
 Karen Kent and Murugiah Souppaya, Guide to
Computer Security Log Management, NIST Special
Publication 800-92, 2006.
 Jeffrey Hunker and Christian W. Probst, Insiders and
Insider Threats - An Overview of Definitions and
Mitigation Techniques, Journal of Wireless Mobile
Networks, Ubiquitous Computing, and Dependable
Applications (JoWUA), 2011, pp.4-27.
 Tetsuji Takada and Hideki Koike, NIGELOG:
Protecting Logging Information by Hiding Multiple
Backups in Directories, International Workshop on
Database and Expert Systems Applications, 1999,
 Siqin Zhao, Kang Chen and Weimin Zheng, Secure
Logging for Auditable File System using Separate
Virtual Machines, Proc. IEEE International
Symposium on Parallel and Distributed Processing
with Applications, 2009, pp.153 –160.
 Yuki Ashino and Ryoichi Sasaki, Proposal of Digital
Forensic System using Security Device and
Hysteresis Signature, Proc. Third Inter-national
Conference on International Information Hiding and
Multimedia Signal Processing (IIH-MSP 2007) – Vol.
02, 2007, pp.3–7.
 Benjamin Boeck, David Huemer, A Min Tjoa,
Towards More Trustable Log Files for Digital
Forensics by Means of “Trusted Computing”, Proc.
24th IEEE International Conference on Advanced
Information Networking and Applications (AINA),
 Takamasa Isohara, Keisuke Takemori, Yutaka
Miyake, Ning Qu and Adrian Perrig, LSM-Based
Secure System Monitoring using Kernel Protection
Schemes, Proc. International Conference on
Availability, Reliability, and Security, 2010,
 Vivek Kundra, Streaming at 1:00: In the Cloud,
 Muhammad Abedin, Syeda Nessa, Latifur Khan,
Ehab Al-Shaer and Mamoun Awad, Analysis of
firewall policy rules using traffic mining techniques,
International Journal of Internet Protocol
Technology (IJIPT), Vol.5, No.1/2, 2010, pp.3–22.
 Masaya Sato and Toshihiro Yamauchi, VMBLS:
Virtual Machine Based Logging Scheme for
Prevention of Tampering and Loss, 2011
International Workshop on Security and Cognitive
Informatics for Homeland Defense (SeCIHD'11),
Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Vol.6908, 2011,
 Adiscon’s Rsyslog, The enhanced syslogd for Linux
and Unix rsyslog, http://www.rsyslog.com/
 The free software company BalaBit, Syslog Server |
syslog-ng Logging System,
 Paul Barham, Boris Dragovic, Keir Fraser, Steven
Hand, Tim Harris, Alex Ho, Rolf Neugebauer, Ian
Pratt and Andrew Warfield, Xen and the Art of
Virtualization, Proc. 19th ACM Symposium on
Operating Systems Principles, 2003, pp.164–177.
 Artem Dinaburg, Paul Royal, Monirul Sharif and
Wenke Lee, Ether: Malware Analysis via Hardware
Virtualization Extensions, Proc. 15th ACM
conference on Computer and Communications
Security, 2008, pp.51–62.
 Intel, Intel 64 and IA-32 Architectures Software
Developer’s Manual Volume 3B: System
Programming Guide, Part 2,
 Gene H. Kim and Eugene Howard Spafford, The
Design and Implementation of Tripwire: A File
System Integrity Checker, Proc. 2nd ACM
Conference on Computer and Communications
Security, 1994, pp.18–29.
 Axelle Apvrille, David Gordon, Serge Hallyn, Makan
Pourzandi and Vincent Roy, DigSig: Run-time
Authentication of Binaries at Kernel Level. Proc. 18th
USENIX Conference on System Administration, 2004,
 Arvind Seshadri, Mark Luk, Ning Qu and Adrian
Perrig, SecVisor: A Tiny Hypervisor to Provide
Lifetime Kernel Code Integrity for Commodity OSes,
Proc. 21st ACM SIGOPS Symposium on Operating
Systems Principles, 2007, pp.335–350.