This section is from the book "Computer Security Threat Monitoring And Surveillance", by James P. Anderson.
Audit trails are taken by the customer on a relatively long term (weekly or monthly) basis. This data is accumulated in conjunction with normal systems accounting programs. The audit data is derived from SMF records collected daily from all machines in the main and Special Center. The data is temporarily consolidated into a single file ("dump" data set) from which the various summary accounting and audit trail reports are produced. After the various reports are generated, the entire daily collection of data is transferred to tape. Several years of raw accounting data from all systems are kept in this medium.
Audit trail data is distributed to a variety of individuals for review; a DAC for GIMS applications, activity security officers for some applications located under their purview, but the. majority to the customers data processing personnel! For the most part the users and sponsors of a data base or an application are not the recipients of security audit trail data.
Security audit trails can play an important role in the security program for a computer system* As they axe presently structured, they are useful primarily in detecting unauthorized access to files. The currently collected customer audit trails are designed to detect unauthorized access to a dataset by user identifiers. However, it is evident that such audit trails axe not complete. Users (particularly ODP "personnel" with direct programming access to datasets). may operate at a level of control that bypasses the application level auditing and access controls. In other systems, particularly data management systems, the normal mode of access is expected to be interactive. Programmers with the ability to use access method primitives can frequently access database files directly without leaving any trace in the application access control and audit logs. Under the circumstances, such audit trail concepts can do little more than attempt to detect frontal attacks on some system resource.
Security audit trails can play an important role in a security program for a computer system. As audit trails are presently structured on most machines, they are only useful primarily in detecting-unauthorized access to files. For those computers which have no access control mechanisms built into the primary operating systems, the audit trail bears the burden of detecting unauthorized access to system resources. As access control mechanisms are installed in the operating systems, the need for security audit trail data will be even greater; it will not only be able to record attempted -unauthorized access, but will be virtually the only method by which user actions which are authorized but excessive can be detected.
In computer installations in general, security audit trails, if taken, are rarely complete aiid almost never geared to the needs of the security officers whose responsibility it is to protect ADP assets. The balance of this report outlines the considerations and general design of a system which provides an initial set of tools to computer system security officers for use in their jobs. The discussion does not suggest the elimination of any existing security audit data collection and distribution. Father it suggests augmenting any such schemes with information for the security personnel directly involved.