Microsoft DNS Server through NXLog

When you configure your Microsoft DNS Server to send log data to USM Appliance, you can use the Microsoft DNS Server NXLog plugin to translate raw log data into normalized events for analysis. The table below provides some basic information for the plugin.

Plugin Information
Device Details
Vendor Microsoft
Device Type DNS Server
Connection Type Syslog
Data Source Name windns-nxlog
Data Source ID 1689

Integrating Microsoft DNS Server and NXLog

Before configuring NXLog in USM Appliance, you need to enable debug logging on the DNS server.

Configure DNS Server Debug Logging

To enable DNS server debug logging

  1. From the Windows Start Menu, select All Programs > Administrative Tools > DNS.
  2. From the console tree, right-click the applicable DNS server, and then click Properties.
  3. Click the Debug Logging tab.

    Windows DNS Server Debug Logging

  4. Select Log packets for debugging.

    The most useful debug logging output comes from selecting at least three options:

    • One option under Packet direction
    • One option under Transport protocol
    • At least one more option in another category
  5. (Optional) Consider limiting the traffic captured by applying filters:

    1. Select Filter packets by IP address.
    2. Add the appropriate IP addresses by clicking Filter.

    Warning: Do not select the Details option, because it produces logs in multi-line format instead of single-line, which the USM Appliance plugins cannot process.

  6. Specify the name and location for the log file.

    For example, in the screenshot above, the file path and name is C:\logs\dns.log. If you use a different file path, you will need to open the nxlog.conf file with a text editor and update the file path in the DNS-NXLOG section to reflect the file path you are using.

  7. Click Apply to save and apply the settings.
  8. Ensure that the log messages use the MM/DD/YYYY date format so USM Appliance can parse the data correctly.

Configure NXLog on Windows

To send log data through NXLog to USM Appliance

  1. If not done already, download nxlog.conf, and then place it in the conf directory of your NXLog installation. Depending on which version you use, the directory can be C:\Program Files (x86)\nxlog\conf\ for the 32-bit version or C:\Program Files\nxlog\conf\ for the 64-bit version.

    Note: This step overwrites the default nxlog.conf file. You may want to back up the original copy before placing the one provided by LevelBlue.

  2. Open the nxlog.conf file in a text editor.
  3. Update the root path of your NXLog installation.

    1. Locate the following lines:

      #define ROOT C:\Program Files\nxlog

      #define ROOT C:\Program Files (x86)\nxlog

    2. Uncomment the path that matches the NXLog installation on your Windows machine.
  4. Enter the USM Appliance Sensor IP address.

    1. Locate the following line:

      define OUTPUT_DESTINATION_ADDRESS <USM-Appliance-Sensor-IP>

    2. Replace <USM-Appliance-Sensor-IP> with the IP address of the USM Appliance All-in-One or USM Appliance Sensor that will receive the Windows events.
  5. Uncomment the section between DNS-NXLOG and /DNS-NXLOG.

    Important: Only remove the first # symbol in each line when uncommenting the sections. The remaining # symbol indicates that the line is either a comment or optional.

  6. Verify the file path defined in the section. Update the file name and path to match your DNS debug log location.

    Using the same example above, you need to change the File parameter as shown below:

    <Input DNS_Logs>

    Module im_file

    File "C:\\logs\\dns.log"

  7. In addition, uncomment the following lines, above the DHCP-NXLOG section:

    #<Extension json>

    # Module xm_json


  8. Save the file.
  9. Start or restart the NXLog service.

Plugin Enablement

For plugin enablement information, see Enable Plugins.

If enabling the plugin on assets, you will find it listed as Microsoft : DNS Server : NXLog.

Enabling the windns-nxlog plugin from asset

Additional Resources and Troubleshooting

For troubleshooting, refer to the vendor documentation:

NXLog User Guide