June 30, 2020

SoC SIEM Use Cases

By venkat

The use cases are critical to identifying any of the early, middle, and end-stage operations of the adversary. A small abnormal event can be a clue to a larger attack. There also needs to be a Playbook on how to respond.

What are Use Cases

  1. A use case can be technical rules or conditions applied on logs that are ingested into the SIEM. Eg –  malicious traffic is seen hitting critical servers of the infra, too many login attempts in the last 1 min etc
  2. The use cases could be categorised into various types based on source logs.

Best Practises

  1. Ensure to have a clear list of your use cases handy always.
  2. The use cases need to be mapped to the Mitre Att&ck phases so you can know how much the adversary succeeded in his objective.
    1. Tagging and mapping to the Mitre Att&ck Matrix would help detection(what logs to be tapped into) and mitigation. Also helps attribution to an APT group. The defenses can be modeled around Mitre Shield
  3. Each use case has a clear priority based on your organisation.
  4. Each use case to have the log source which has to be ingested into your SIEM

Why it is important to have a large set of Use Cases and have playbooks for them?

  1. Real cyber attacks are complex. It is actually very hard for the attacker to be invisible to a SoC that has enabled the right set of use cases.
    1. It is like creating a minefield and waiting for the attacker to step on the mine.
  2. Use cases are rules that trigger alerts. You need Playbooks or instruction on how to respond to them – Steps to analyse and mitigate.
  3. The process of creation of Playbooks is very important. It aids a lot for you to be prepared for handling a cyber attack. Time-consuming but definitely worth the effort.

FlexibleIR helps to quickly build your own customised Playbooks/SoPs

  1. FlexibleIR provides a system where you can build Playbooks for your SoC use cases.
  2. FlexibleIR provides you subject matter experts (SMEs) to build your playbooks.
  3. You can also add your Playbooks and help the community. Get recognised for your expertise.
  4. Please feel free to contact us – venkat@flexibleir.com

Below are sample use cases showcased on a kanban board

Click the image to see the kanban board

Below is a list of sample use cases. You can categorize it in multiple ways

You can also refer to your SIEM-specific documentation to get the list of rules that come bundled.

Server Shutdown/ Reboot
Removable media detected
Windows abnormal shutdown
Login attempts with the same account from different source desktops
Detection of Server shutdown-reboot after office hours
Administrative Group Membership Changed
Unauthorized Default Account Logins
Interactive use of service account
Remote access login – success & failure
Windows Service Stop-Restart
ACL Set on Admin Group members
Windows Account Enabled Disabled
Multiple Windows Account Locked out
Multiple Windows Logins by Same User
Brute force attempt from same source
Logins outside normal business hours
Logins to multiple user accounts from the same source.
Brute force attempt from same source with successful login
Windows Account Created Deleted
Windows Hardware Failure
Failed Login to Multiple Destination from Same Source
Administrative Accounts- Multiple Login failure
Detection of user account added/removed in admin group
Detection of system time changes (Boot time)
Detection of use of default product vendor accounts
User Deleted Within 24hrs of Being Created
Critical service stopped on Windows Servers
Windows Security Log is full
Multiple Password Changes in Short time period
Windows group type was changed.
Audit Policy change
Audit Log cleared
Windows Security Log is full
Detection of user account added
Logon Failure-A logon attempt was made using an expired account
High number of users created/ removed within a short period of time
Outbound Traffic observed from Severs to Internet.
Failed Logins/Attempt with Disabled/Ex-Employee/Expired Accounts
Windows File-Folder Delete
Windows-File Folder Permission Changes
High number of users created/removed within a short period of time

Unix FTP File Import and Export Events
Unix File system full
Server shutdown
Users Created /Deleted within short period
Users Group Created /Removed within short period
Unix-Login attempts with the same account from different source desktops
Failed Logins
Failed Logins with disabled accounts
Unix FTP Login Access
Unix multiple SFTP Connection
Failed logins from root access
Unix Multiple SU login failures
Remote Logon Attempts using Root User on Production Node
Sudo access from Non sudo users
Detection of use of default product vendor accounts
Adding or Removing users to the group “root”
Critical Service Stop
Unix-High number of login failure for the same account within a short time
Password Changed
Adding, removing and modifying cron jobs
SU login failures.
Detection of change in syslog configuration
Detection of change in network configuration

Firewall, antivirus, intrusion prevention, and virtual private network (VPN) – Example device – CISCO Adaptive Security appliance(ASA)
Administrator Login Failure
Brute force with Successful Configuration Changes
Firewall Failover event.
Successful connection from internet IP after repetitive blocks in firewall
Access attempts on unidentified protocols & port
Exploit Event followed by Scanning Host
Outbound access to invalid destination Ips
Successful logon between Non-Business Hours
Firewalls reboot.
Detection of user account/group modifications
User Added/Deleted to Firewall Database.
Detection of insecure traffic like FTP, telnet, on critical servers
Detection of adding/deletion of a Firewall admin
Login Denied (Brute Force)
High number of Denied events.
Configuration Change detected.
The link to peer device is down either because of physical cabling issue or NSRP configuration issue
Network and Host Port Scan Attempts
Detection of Primary-Secondary Switch Over
An admin has allowed/removed access to the firewall from a particular IP
Detected P2P traffic
Alerting high CPU utilization on firewall
Firewall failed to allocate RAM memory
Detection of any kind of failure related to Standby FW
Top dropped traffic from DMZ, FW
Outbound Traffic observed on Important Ports.
Successful Outbound Traffic to Blacklisted Threat IP Address
Multiple Failed Outbound Traffic to Blacklisted Threat IP Address

Security device – Checkpoint
Firewall critical alert observed
VPN configuration change observed
Administrator Login Failure detected
Successful logon between Non- Business Hours
Successful access from Suspicious Countries
Checkpoint Service restarts
Firewall Cluster/Gateway Configuration Change
CPU Utilization High
Checkpoint Policy Installed
High number of denied events
Smart-Defense Signature Based Alert
VPN Certificate Verification Failure
Configuration Change detected
Firewalls reboot.

Email – Example – Exchange
Top 10 users sending mails to external domains
Top 10 Email Receivers/Senders
Data Leakage Identified through
Large file send via mail
Malicious/Suspicious attachments identified
Email Usage Group IDs
Monitoring mails going out from the company domain to other domains after Office Hours
High Email Bandwidth utilization by individual users
Detection of Undelivered Messages
Mailbox Access by Another user
User sending a Message as another user
User Sending a Message on behalf another user
Detection of Users login to the Mail Box which is not their Primary Account
Detection of Auto Redirected Mails
Top 10 users sending mails internally
SMTP gateway sudden spike in Incoming mails
High number of rejected mails from single “from” address
Detection of Users login to the Mail Box which is not their Primary Account
Detection of Auto Redirected Mails

Rouge Network Traffic Detected.
Top VPN Account Logged in from Multiple Remote Locations
Top VPN Account Logged in From VPN and on Local Network
Wireless unauthorized login attempts
Wireless authorization server is down.
Anonymous login from unknown IP address
VPN Account logged in from multiple locations in short span of time, or from suspicious
Simultaneous Login from Multiple Locations for Single User
VPN Connection beyond 24 Hour
VPN Access from Internal IP Address
VPN access from overseas
Rogue AP detected.
Wireless AP rebooted
Wireless unsecure AP detected
VPN access from onshore team
VPN access and Access card on Onshore observed

IPS – Example device – Cisco IPS
UNIX Password File Access Attempt
IPS High Alert
Possible Exploit of Vulnerability
Probable Port Scanning in the network
SQL Injection Attempt
Virus Traffic in the network
Signature Based Attacks

Access attempts on unidentified protocols & port
Malware Domain Access Report
Proxy Category based Summary Report
Malware IP Access Report
Potentially Unwanted Software access
Dynamic DNS Host
Malicious Sources/Malnets
Malicious Outbound Data/Botnets
Peer-to-Peer (P2P)
Proxy Avoidance
Remote Access Tools
Access from unusual User Agent
Post request to uncategorized sites after office hours
Unwanted Internet Access
Proxy configuration changes
Proxy failed login attempt
Content access violation
Anonymous proxy access
Hacker tool website access
Access attempts by BOTNET identified by HTTP Request header

Oracle password expired
Critical command usage
Critical commands executed on the database during non-business hours
Oracle- Update or Insert Commands
Oracle user Created/Deleted
Multiple login failures observed for database
Database Schema Creation/Modification
Top Query Execution Failures.
Monitoring login attempts on database
Use of default vendor accounts against policy
Database access during non-business hours
Login failures for sys/system or privileged accounts
Connection to production databases from disallowed network segments

Router and Switches
Emergency router error messages
BGP Neighbor Relationship Status Change
Router-Power supply failure
Configuration Change
Critical messages observed from the SWITCH
Alert messages observed from the SWITCH
Detection of Antispam
File Dropped due to large size
Detection of application process proxy
Detection of land attack
Detection of Ping of death attack
Detection of new policy addition
Detection of policy violation
Virus traffic
Content filtering detected
Authentication failure/success

Anti Virus (AV)
AV Virus Detected
AV Detection of Backdoor traffic in the network
Removable Storage Identified
AV Malware Infection Identified (Not quarantined/cleaned/deleted/moved)
Multiple AV Malware Infection Identified from Same Host
Multiple Sources accessing the same Malware URL
Multiple Types of AV Malware Infection Identified from Same Host
Detection failure of Antivirus DAT update in end user machines
Detection of Worm outbreak in the network
Detection of Virus Outbreak
Attempt to stop the Adhoc/daily scan schedules
Detection of Backdoor traffic in the network
Attempt to stop the AV Services
Attempt to stop the critical AV modules
AV identified the Rogue machines in the network
Detection of the scan which is stopped before it completes
Detection of the scheduled scan is stopped/paused (delayed)
Detection of the computer which is not protected with latest definitions
Detection of the new client software installed
Detection of the client software uninstalled
AV Malware Breakout Identified across multiple machines on same Subnet/ Different Subnet
Multiple re-occurrence of same Infection identified from same machine (AL and Trend –
Multiple re-occurrence of unique Infection identified from same machine (AL and Trend –
Blacklist Domain/IP Addresses monitoring of traffic emerging to/from the Infected machine (AL
and Trend – Real Time)
Brute Force/port or host scan/privilege elevation access attempt from the Infected machine (AL
and Trend – Real Time)
Attempt to restart AV service or process, AV modules from Infected machine.
Access to critical file share, network path, SSH or Remote RDP attempt from the Infected Host.

Default User Account Usage
Inactive User Accounts
After Hour VPN Assess Monitoring
Firewall Top Talkers
P2P Traffic
Distributed Host Port Scan
Distributed Network Host Scan
SYN Flood by IDS/Firewall
High Number of Denied Connections for a Single Host
Worm/Virus Outbreak Detected
Outbound/Inbound Network Sweep
AV Update Failed
Malware IP Access
Malware URL Access
Hacking attempt on web portal
Data Leakage
Detection of BOTNET infection in Internal LAN
Unauthorised access from Third Party or vendor networks
Infected Host Activities
Suspicious, Adware, Phishing and Hacking Activities
Unwanted Software’s
AV Malware Breakout Identified across multiple machines
Monitor Development team’s access to Production systems
Blacklisted IP
Blacklisted IP Pass after multiple Firewall Block
Blacklisted URL
Data Overview Trend
Outbound Traffic to Suspicious Countries
Outbound Traffic to Suspicious port
Outbound Traffic to Suspicious Services
Terminated User Activity
Malicious Traffic to Vulnerable Asset
Communications to Bad Domains
Communications to Blacklisted Domains/IP’s
Data Transfer involved on Blacklisted Domains/IP’s
Outbound traffic involving Database
Cross Site Scripting
Script Injection
Malicious Activity
Detection of FW Interface Status Changes/Failures
Insecure Protocol Usage – Detection of insecure traffic like FTP, telnet ,VNC on critical servers.
VPN Access from Outside Country
Suspicious VPN Login Attempts
Detection of service stop on ESX servers
Detection of multiple user failed logins on ESX servers from the same source
Detection of ESX server shutdown/restart
Detection of virtual machine start/stop/resume/reboot
Detection of addition/removal of a host on vCenter
Detection of virtual machine creation/removal on vCenter
Probable XSS attack observed
Probable Directory Traversal attack observed
Suspicious HTTP methods observed
HTTP Request Other Than GET, POST, HEAD and OPTIONS
Probable SQL Injection attack observed
Web Attack- Vulnerability scanning using Nessus