Cisco AIP SSM Email Alert – Cisco IPS Manager Express (IME)

Cisco AIP SSM are pluggable hardware modules for advanced intrusion prevention security services (IDS/IPS) to Cisco ASA 5500 series firewalls.

Although lots of AIP-SSM configuration parameters can be set via ASDM > IDM (Cisco IPS Device Manager) or via CLI – however there is no such thing on IDM or CLI to send security events or security reports via email.

So, how do I know > what is happening on the IDS/IPS? Is the IPS device capable of detecting threats? Is IPS is blocking attacker IP address?

The answer is – there is a separate piece of software called Cisco IPS Manager Express (IME) to manage, configure and send email alert notifications for AIP-SSM modules. This software needs to be installed on a Windows machine. As of today the latest version is 7.2.7. Supported windows platforms are – Windows Vista Business+/XP Pro/Windows 8+/Windows 2003 R2/Windows 2008 and above.

Apart from all ASA AIP-SSM modules; this IME software does support following Cisco IPS hardware platforms – 4240, 4255, 4260, 4270-20, 4345, 4360, 4510 and 4520.

Here is the download URL (you need valid Cisco login),

https://software.cisco.com/download/type.html?mdfid=282052550&catid=null

Installation is very straight forward; start the installation > follow next, next and finish.

Once IME installation is finished; add all of your AIP-SSMs or IPS devices to IME console via IP address. Make sure IME Windows machine is able to communicate to AIP-SSM or IPS device’s management interface IP address. You can have bunch of IPS devices under one IME.

Setting Up Email Notification

This is very easy task. Open IME console > click on “Tools” > click on “Preferences”; enter your SMTP server details under “Email Setup” tab; screenshot–

IME-EMailSetup

You should send test email to confirm – IME is OK sending email.

Click on the next tab “Notifications” for IDS/IPS security events – configure your preferred notification parameters here; screenshot-

IME-Notifications

Lastly you might want to see consolidated security events in a report – such as what happened in last 24 hours or last 7 days or last 30 days; go to the next tab called “Reports” – all the report parameters are here; this will send PDF report with colorful presentation of data with graphs or charts; screenshot–

IME-Reports

Questions again –

i. You have done configuration of all the email notification parameters, do you need to keep IME running on desktop? Should you close the IME console and logoff?

Answer: Yes – you close IME console and logoff from the Windows computer; IME is still running on the background as a Windows service.

ii. You have added 4 IPS devices on your IME – is email alert notification working on ALL of them?

Answer: Yes – email notification is a global setting within IME that applied to ALL IPS devices those been added to the console. There is no option here to configure email notifications on individual IPS device within the same IME console.

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VMware ESXi Host Memory Management, Monitoring, Alert Notification – Part 2

I have described memory monitoring and alert notification gauge on the previous article (Part 1) – let’s do the configuration.

There are so many ways to monitor and get alert notification of VMWare ESXi host memory usage status – most of well-known monitoring solutions come with VMware monitoring plugins pre-installed. vCenter server can also send alerts based on given conditions as well.

Here I will discuss how to configure Nagios Core to monitor memory usage and alert notification; NagiosXI (the commercial edition has a built-in nice easy web UI to do the same). Before moving forward, make sure Nagios server up and running – we need install the following software/tools on the Nagios server –

i. VMware vSphere Perl-SDK; the version should match to the vCenter/ESXi host version – version 5.5 can be download at https://developercenter.vmware.com/web/sdk/55/vsphere-perl
ii. Download and install check_vmware_esx.pl (this is a fork of check_vmware_api.pl) from https://www.monitoringexchange.org/inventory/Check-Plugins/Virtualization/VMWare-%2528ESX%2529/check_vmware_esx.pl—a-fork-of-check_vmware_api.pl-%2528check_esx3-pl%2529 or from https://github.com/BaldMansMojo/check_vmware_esx/blob/master/check_vmware_esx.pl
iii. Install the required Perl modules.

(Step 1 – install VMware vSphere Perl-SDK)

#tar zxvf  VMware-vSphere-Perl-SDK-5.5.0-1384587.x86_64.tar.gz
#cd vmware-vsphere-cli-distrib
#./vmware-install.pl

Accept the license agreement and install with default settings.

If the installation detect missing or old Perl modules – install them; easiest way is install them via CPAN.

(Step 2 – install & configure check_vmware_esx.pl Nagios check script)

Download this from the above mentioned web sites. Copy the “chech_vmware_esx.pl” script to Nagios libexec directory “/usr/local/nagios/libexec/”; make sure it is owned by “nagios” user/group with executable permission.

If you download the “check_vmware_esx_0.9.19.tgz” file – the installation process is following –

#tar zxvf check_vmware_esx_0.9.19.tgz
#cd check_vmware_esx_0.9.19
#cp check_vmware_esx.pl /usr/local/nagios/libexec
#chown nagios.nagios check_vmware_esx.pl
#chmod 751 check_vmware_esx.pl

Copy the perl modules within “check_vmware_esx_0.9.19/modules” to a directory – this can be inside “/usr/local/nagios/libexec” directory –

#mkdir /usr/local/nagios/libexec/vmware_modules
#cp –R /tmp/check_vmware_esx_0.9.19/modules /usr/local/nagios/libexec/vmware_modules/ 
#chown –R nagios.nagios /usr/local/nagios/libexec/vmware_modules

Also change following parameter in the check_vmware_esx.pl file –

use lib “modules”;
to
use lib /usr/local/nagios/libexec/vmware_modules/modules;

Again if the script execution complain about missing Perl module – install them via CPAN.

You should use a “session lock file” to minimize auth log entries on vCenter or ESXi host; every time nagios execute service check with this script – this will create auth log entries in vCenter/ESXi host – it’s huge! The default script will ask you to create session lock file in “/var/nagios_plugin_cache/” directory – create this directory and make sure it is owned by Nagios.

#mkdir /var/nagios_plugin_cache
#chown –R nagios.nagios /var/nagios_plugin_cache

You need to create an user account for this nagios script on your vCenter or on ESXi hosts you want to monitor. You should use “authfile”; this file contains Nagios monitoring user account/password created on vCenter or ESXi host.

#vi /usr/local/nagios/libexec/vmware_plugin/authfile

Enter the following –

username=nagios_userName_on_esxi
password=password_nagios

#chown nagios.nagios /usr/local/nagios/libexec/vmware_plugin/authfile

At this stage the script should be ready to execute! If not – it must be missing Perl modules :(.

(Step 3 – configure Nagios commands and service check)

This script is capable of monitoring lots of other vCenter objects such as cpu, network, datastore, virtual machines etc. Follow standard Nagios guidelines to create your check commands and service checks.

Usage:

To see all memory parameters of an esxi host–
./check_vmware_esx.pl -H 192.168.1.1 -f /location/of/authfile -S mem

mem usage=42.73% - consumed memory=24501.48 MB - swap used=35.87 MB - overhead=650.41 MB - memctl=0.00 MB: |'mem_usage'=42.73%;;;; 'consumed_memory'=24501.48MB;;;; 'mem_swap'=35.87MB;;;; 'mem_overhead'=650.41MB;;;; 'mem_memctl'=0.00MB;;;;

Set alert notification based on % of memory usage of an esxi host-
./check_vmware_esx.pl -H 192.168.1.1 -f /location/of/authfile -S mem -s usage

mem usage=42.73%|'mem_usage'=42.73%;;;;

./check_vmware_esx.pl -H 192.168.1.1 -f /location/of/authfile -S mem -s usage -w 40% -c 60%

Warning! mem usage=42.69%|'mem_usage'=42.69%;40;60;;

Set alert notification based on MB of total memory usage of an esxi host–
./check_vmware_esx.pl -H 192.168.1.1 -f /location/of/authfile -S mem -s consumed

consumed memory=24501.29 MB|'consumed_memory'=24501.29MB;;;;

./check_vmware_esx.pl -H 192.168.1.1 -f /location/of/authfile -S mem -s consumed -w 24000 -c 26000

Warning! consumed memory=24475.05 MB|'consumed_memory'=24475.05MB;24000;28000;;

To see swap memory usage only of an esxi host–
./check_vmware_esx.pl -H 192.168.1.1 -f /location/of/authfile -S mem -s swapused

swap used=35.87 MB|'mem_swap'=35.87MB;;;;

Screenshot of mem usage on Nagios web UI –

nagios-esxi-memcheck

This script also generate Nagios perfdata which is useful for graphing; if you have pnp4nagios graph installed you should be able to get graph like the following –

nagios-mem-graph

Ruby program as Windows Service – the windows way

Recently I come across Ruby for the first time while installing few cloud-based network monitoring applications on Windows Servers; these are Ruby applications called Ruby “gem”.

After finished installation and configuration – I found I am able to run the Ruby gem without any problem on the command line (very easy – open CMD > go to Ruby bin directory > execute >application_name run). But if I close CMD – the application immediately stop working. I need this application running as Windows Service.

There are couple of ways to make a Ruby windows service –
i. the Ruby way – there are couple of Ruby utilities & gems already available; one of them is called “win32-services”.
ii. the Windows way – by using the OLD “sc.exe” & “SrvAny.exe”; this works OK on Windows 2008 & Windows 2012. This is the easiest one!

I am no Ruby expert – I will describe here how to create Ruby windows service using SC & SrvAny.

Configuration details are following –

i. Get the “SrvAny.exe” and place it in a directory; this can be even inside Ruby directory “C:\Ruby21\mywinservice\srvany.exe”.

ii. Open CMD with admin priv; execute the following sc command to create a windows service –
>sc create MyRubyService binPath= “C:\Ruby21\mywinservice\srvany.exe” DisplayName= “My Ruby Application”

This will create the windows service “MyRubyService” and registry key with the same name. The registry key & entries should look like following–

RubySrvAny

iii. Open regedit; go to “HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\MyRubyService”. Create a new key name “Parameters”. Enter the following entries (String value) under “HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\MyRubyService\Parameters” –

AppDirectory     -this is the Ruby bin directory
Application         -this is the “ruby.exe” file location
AppParameters -this is the ruby gem application “run” command

RubyAppSrv

You might need to stop or disable “Interactive Services Detection” on Windows 2008; by default this is not enabled on Windows 2012.