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Practical UNIX and Internet Security, 3rd Edition by Alan Schwartz, Gene Spafford, Simson Garfinkel

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Handwritten Logs

Another type of logging that can help you with security is not done by the computer at all; it is done by you and your staff. Keep a log book that records your day’s activities. Log books should be kept on paper in a physically secure location. Because you keep them on paper, they cannot be altered by someone hacking into your computer even as superuser. They will provide a nearly tamperproof record of important information.

Handwritten logs have several advantages over online logs:

  • They can record many different kinds of information. For example, your computer will not record a suspicious telephone call or a bomb threat, but you can (and should) record these occurrences in your log book.

  • If the systems are down, you can still access your paper logs. (Thus, this is a good place to keep a copy of account numbers and important phone numbers for field service, service contacts, and your own key personnel.)

  • If disaster befalls your disks, you can recreate some vital information from paper, if it is in the log book.

  • If you keep the log book as a matter of course, and you enter into it printed copies of your exception logs, such information might be more likely to be accepted into court proceedings as business records. This advantage is important if you are in a situation in which you need to pursue criminal or civil legal action.

  • Juries are more easily convinced that paper logs are authentic, as opposed to computer logs.

  • Having copies of significant information in the log ...

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