Admin Linux Network Technologies SLES

Linux tip: how to enable remote syslog on SLES

I write this knowing I still don’t know anything to speak of about syslog, but, sometimes you gotta act without knowing. I needed to send syslog to somewhere in a big hurry so I figured out the absolute minimum I needed to do to get it running on one of my other systems.

The details
This all started because of a deficiency in the F5 ASM. At best it’s do slow when looking through the error log. But in particular there was one error that always timed out when I tried to bring up the details, a severity 5 error, so it looked pretty important. Worse, local logging, even though it is selected, also does not work – the /var/log/asm file exists but contains basically nothing of interest. I suppose there is some super-fancy and complicated MySQL command you could run to view the logs, but that would take a long time to figure out.

So for me the simplest route was to enable remote syslog on a Linux server and send the ASM logging to it. This seems to be working, by the way.

The minimal steps
Again, this was for Suse Enterprise Linux running syslog-ng.

  1. modify /etc/sysconfig/syslog as per the next step
  3. modify /etc/syslog-ng/syslog-ng.conf as per the next step
  4. uncomment this line: udp(ip(“”) port(514));
  5. launch yast (I use curses-based yast [no X-Windows] which is really cantankerous)
  6. go to Security and Users -> Firewall -> Allowed services -> Internal Zone -> Advanced
  7. add udp port 514 as additional allowed Ports in internal zone and save it
  8. service syslog stop
  9. service syslog start
  10. You should start seeing entries in /var/log/localmessages as in this suitably anonymized example (I added a couple line breaks for clarity:
Jul 27 14:42:22 f5-drj-mgmt ASM:"7653503868885627313","","/Common/drjohnstechtalk.com_profile","blocked","/drjcrm/bi/tjhmore345","0","Illegal URL,Attack signature detected","200021075","Automated client access ""curl""","US","<!--?xml version='1.0' encoding='UTF-8'?-->44e7f1ffebff2dfb-800000000000000044f7f1ffebff2dfb-800000000000000044e7f1ffe3ff2dfb-80000000000000000000000000000000-000000000000000042VIOL_ATTACK_SIGNATURErequest200021075
VIOL_URL","GET /drjcrm/bi/tjhmore345 HTTP/1.1\r\nUser-Agent: curl/7.19.7 (x86_64-redhat-linux-gnu) libcurl/7.19.7 NSS/3.27.1 zlib/1.2.3 libidn/1.18 libssh2/1.4.2\r\nHost:\r\nAccept: */*\r\n\r\n"

Interestingly, there is no syslogd on this particular system, and yet the “-r” flag is designed for syslogd – it’s what turns it into a remote syslogging daemon. And yet it works.

It’s easy enough to log these messages to their own file, I just don’t know how to do it yet because I don’t need to. I learn as I need to. just as I learned enough to publish this tip.

We have demonstrated activating the simplest possible remote syslogger on Suse Linux Enterprise Server.

References and related

Want to know what syslog is? Howtonetwork has this very good writeup:


Suppress /apple-touch-icon URLs on an F5 ASM

Displaying the ASM event log is slow – it can take minutes on our older equipment. So anything that helps cut out the clutter in the returned log entries may save precious minutes of, e.g., paging to the next screen (also a minute). At some point I realized the logs were mostly filled with complaints about illegal URLs beginning with /apple-touch-icon… So i found a way to suppress those. This is for version 12.1

The problem

Typical example from a typical WAF log

The details

LTM policy to suppress those entries

How to edit policy
These are policies in the Local Traffic section. It’s not that intuitive. Clicking on the policy name will give you a read-only view and no evident way to switch to an edit mode. What you do is click on Create Draft. That creates a “draft policy” which you can edit. There you can introduce the rule above. Drag it to the top. Hit Save and publish draft and it should go live.

The best way?
It’s debatable if this is the best way to suppress these. if they come from legitmate devices mistakenly asking for these URLs it’s probably nicer to send them a 404 Not found. An iRule would be required for that.

We show how to suppress annoying ASM log entries saying illegal URL, /apple-touch-icon… on an F5 web application firewall. What is producing these URL attempts I just don’t know at this point. I suspect them to be innocuous.