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Townsend Security Data Privacy Blog

IBM i File Integrity Monitoring (FIM) - Or, BILL did WHAT ???!!!

Posted by Patrick Townsend on Nov 2, 2012 10:11:00 AM

Podcast: File Integrity Monitoring on the IBM i

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Learn more about File Integrity Monitoring (FIM) on the IBM i.

Click Here to Listen Now

As an IBM i security administrator, don’t you sometimes wish that your IBM i would just talk to you? Like a good friend, just tell you stuff that you need to know? The IBM security journal, QAUDJRN, can collect millions of events every day. But there is no way you can really sort through all of that. And, there isn’t even any information that tells you about your sensitive application file changes. It would be great if your IBM i would just inform you of bad stuff that is happening.

Perhaps it could say something like:

“Uh oh. Bill in the shipping department just changed the payroll file and gave himself a really big raise.  He’s now making major Wall Street coin. You might want to check on that.”


“Whoa, big red flag here! Sally in accounting just transferred the credit card history file to an FTP server at 3 AM. There’s no way that should be happening!”

Yes, you DO want to know about these things before it hits the front page of the New York Times.

Actually, this kind of information is now easily within reach. Security applications that perform File Integrity Monitoring (FIM) do just this kind of thing. They let you define a sensitive file, perhaps a configuration file or a file containing credit card information, and then let you set up monitoring rules. You should be able to know in real time when an unauthorized user or application changes a file, and define upper and lower limits for alerts.

That’s exactly what our new Alliance LogAgent Suite with Database Monitoring does. OK, it doesn’t actually talk to you. But it speaks the language of your log monitoring solution. Here’s how it sends the alert about Bill:

<118>Mar 9 15:25:14 S10125BA LogAgentDB:[LGADB@0 column_name="SALARY"
column_text="Annual salary" SECURITY_ALERT_upper_limit="yes"
data_type="P" action="Update" data_image="After" value_option="Clear"
previous_value="35000" value="2800000" file_name="HRMASTER"
file_library="HRPROD" file_member="HRMASTER"
timestamp="20120309152514783008" job_name="QPADEV000K" job_user="BILL"
job_number="648169" jrn_seq="81327" jrn_sys_seq="0" user_profile="BILL"
program_name="QDZTD00001" program_library="*OMITTED"

In this case a whitelist of users was associated with the SALARY field in the HR master file. Bill was not on that list, and Alliance LogAgent raised the security alert message. Everything is in the message that you need to work on this potential problem. You know the date and time that Bill made the change. You can see that the program was the IBM DFU program, a file utility that is never used for real work on HR data. And you can see the previous and new values for the salary. And all of this happens in real-time giving you the chance to head-off a possible big problem.

Alliance LogAgent Suite with Database Monitoring is an affordable and easy-to-deploy solution. It will help you implement a FIM solution to meet PCI DSS and other compliance regulations. Listen to our podcast "File Integrity Monitoring on the IBM i" to learn more about selectively monitoring data access and change activity at the column or field level.


Podcast: FIM on the IBM i

Topics: System Logging, File Integrity Monitoring (FIM)

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