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Network Security Through Data Analysis, 2nd Edition by Michael Collins

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Chapter 6. Data and Sensors in the Host Domain

This chapter is concerned with the practical problem of collecting data from a host. The host domain refers to any information that can be collected on the host without the moderation of a service; this includes information about the processes running on the host, the host’s filesystem, its configuration, and to some extent information that overlaps the network and service domains.

Given the complexity of hosts, and the varieties of operating systems and configurations available, it is not possible to address all the information that can be collected from hosts in a single book, let alone a chapter. Rather, the network analyst needs a focused approach to determine what information is required to supplement the network data. For our purposes, this focused approach is comprised of four questions:

  1. What hardware is behind this IP address?

  2. How is it messing up my network?

  3. Who owns this hardware?

  4. Who do I yell at about it?

This chapter is predicated around figuring out how to answer those questions. Unfortunately, this requires navigating a maze of complicated and proprietary configuration data. Compared to service and network domain data, host domain data is all over the place. Windows and Unix systems have radically different ideas of where to keep this information, and even individual Unix variants can keep the same information in very different locations.

Note that host collection is intimately tied up with host configuration ...

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