New Features: PowerBroker for Unix & Linux 9.4

New Features for PowerBroker for Unix & Linux 9.4

File Integrity Monitoring Ensures That Critical Binaries Have Not Been Tampered With

With least privilege/privilege elevation tools, administrators choose a target that they allow users to run with elevated permissions or files that the user can work with. However, should one of those files become compromised, the privilege elevation tool could end up allowing access to files designed to do harm to a system at higher rights than the user would otherwise have. This includes system binaries provided by the product itself; for example, replacing the ‘/usr/bin/top’ executable file with an altered binary that performs malicious activities such as deleting files, launching a root level shell or rebooting the host.

Although there are ways to build file checking policies, organizations need an automated and simple way to ensure the integrity of files on controlled systems. This should include the checking of file features such as the file ownership, size, creation and modification date/time as well as a hash checksum of the file.

PowerBroker for Unix & Linux version 9.4 introduces a new capability called File Integrity Monitor that performs timed scans of centrally selected files and/or folders, checking the targets against a list of predefined settings including location, ownership, permissions, size, date/time and a file hash. See the screenshot below for a representation of this new functionality.

PBUL 9.4

With File Integrity Monitoring (FIM) enabled, organizations can be assured that important system binaries, product binaries and files on each system where PowerBroker for Unix & Linux has been deployed have not been tampered with. Any changes that do occur as part of system changes and updates will be fully audited and can be reviewed/accepted to ensure that no compromises are introduced to those controlled systems.

Registry Name Service Simplifies Adding, Changing or Removing Servers

PowerBroker for Unix & Linux is a component-based solution, making it extremely flexible for deployments. Nowhere is this flexibility more apparent than in services. The types of services provided by PowerBroker include: Policy Servers, Log Servers, Log Archive Servers and Solr Indexing Servers. However, in prior releases of PowerBroker there wasn’t a capability to group like servers together, so the solution was reliant on either hardcoded lists on each system for service awareness or DNS which could be controlled by a different group than that of PowerBroker administrators.

Version 9.4 introduces a new service called Registry Name Service that will allow all components to centrally register themselves and provide a logical grouping (Service Groups) so that PowerBroker clients can easily find and use services provided by the solution. This new capability provides an alternative way to locate servers instead of using manual lists inside of locally controlled configuration files (pb.settings) or having to manage or rely on DNS.

In-product controlled service location makes the addition of additional services much easier with centralized control and reporting. The grouping function makes adding, changing or removing servers with particular services types much easier while assuring high availability needs are always met.

Database Synchronization Enables Seamless Configuration Between All Servers

Today, all PowerBroker for Unix & Linux servers operate individually as stand-alone servers or as independent peers. This can present a challenge for system administrators to ensure like/peer servers are maintained with the same configuration. This challenge is especially true when configuration changes and/or updates are performed, requiring manual synchronization of key files such as pb.settings and policy files like pb.conf.

With the introduction of the Registry Name Service that groups servers and services, servers that belong to RNS Service Groups can optionally choose to synchronize files between all servers that are subscribers to that particular service group. This provides a simple way to group servers that provide similar functionality and allows configuration files to replicate between those servers.

With Database Synchronization files and settings can be automatically replicated, saving time and effort by no longer requiring the manual copying of files and settings between hosts.

Enhanced ACA Reporting Speeds and Simplifies Auditing

Advanced Control and Audit is a feature available in PowerBroker for Unix & Linux that provides a deeper level of audit capability, logging system calls such as reads, writes and executes. The challenge facing users of this recently-introduced feature is that amount of audit information generated can be overwhelming. Organizations needed a better way to control the logging, including granular log levels for each function being tracked by Advanced Control and Audit, and simplified output.

With version 9.4, a new format to invoke granular logging has been added to the ACA policy syntax, such that individual ACA actions such as read, write and execute can be logged at individual log levels. For example: “all:log=0|unlink:log=2|read:log=3|write:log=2|exec:log=4”. Additionally, the presentation of the command line report generated by ACA auditing has been improved to be easier to read. Please see a representation of that in the screenshot below.

PBUL 9.4

With this new capability, system administrators can now perform more targeted auditing and improve the speed and ease with which audit activities and forensic investigations can be performed.

Enhanced Session History Enables Faster Forensics and Audit Reviews

When using PowerBroker for Unix & Linux to record a user’s interactive session – for example a root level elevated shell – the PowerBroker for Unix & Linux event log records the initiating command, for example ‘pbrun bash,’ and not all the commands that are issued during the session. This makes it harder to track and alert when certain activities are performed within the session and can also increase the time during audit and forensic reviews of recorded session logs.

Version 9.4 introduces a new way to record and log the user’s command history within a recorded session with functionality in the command language that leverages Advanced Control and Audit to track execution activity within a recorded session. Enabled with a simple inbuilt procedure call: enablesessionhistory(true), any resulting session logs (iologs) will also contain a detailed command history accessible via pbreplay using the –history switch when reviewing a log. See the screenshot below for a representation of this new capability.

PBUL 9.4

With this new capability, administrators can now more easily monitor and alert on suspicious and inappropriate activity providing much faster forensics and audit reviews using session logs.

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