Sending GE CIMPLICITY logs to IBM QRadar

Collecting logs from General Electric CIMPLICITY and sending them to IBM QRadar could be a complex task due to this rather unique combination log sources and SIEM. In this post, we will take a look at how you can forward log data from CIMPLICITY to IBM QRadar using NXLog.

General Electric CIMPLICITY

General Electric CIMPLICITY is a human-machine interface (HMI) and SCADA system solution based on a client-server architecture of servers and viewers. This architecture allows viewers to visualize data and control actions within plants located across the globe. The server’s primary function is to collect and distribute data. A viewer has full access to the data a server has collected once it has connected to that server. The ability to seamlessly network servers and viewers for the purpose of sharing data, configurations, and screens eliminates duplicate work and data. This efficient management of resources facilitates faster access to critical data needed for decision-making. Cimplicity is used in some of the largest manufacturing factories around the world.

Collecting GE CIMPLICITY logs

CIMPLICITY produces a wide variety of logs about its operations. Some of the logs are available through Windows Event Log and network monitoring, but most of the logs are in the format of flat files.

Due to the critical nature and scope of the systems CIMPLICITY controls, there is no room for errors. Its stable, uninterrupted operation is crucial to plant safety. Although CIMPLICITY logs contain valuable information about the systems it controls, the relatively high level of log noise and the lack of a consistent log format present some challenges.

NXLog Enterprise Edition is a lightweight, modular log collection tool, capable of tackling the most demanding cases log collection may pose. Owing to its rich set of features, it can read almost any log format and parse fields to produce structured data for further processing. For these reasons, it is the perfect tool for monitoring and collecting CIMPLICITY logs.

Logging and Archiving

CIMPLICITY provides a database logger which is capable of collecting, analyzing, and creating reports from a variety of ODBC (open database connectivity) complaint databases. You can create, configure, edit tables, and also specify when and what ODBC data source you would like to gather log events from, for any selected process.

Collecting GE CIMPLICITY logs from Windows Event Log

Windows Event Log is the primary logging facility on the Windows platform. The logs CIMPLICITY services generate contain project log files, system log files, and web configuration services logs. Logs can be read and collected using an event id related to CIMPLICITY or by a given source name.

Collecting GE CIMPLICITY logs from file

CIMPLICITY’s file-based logs include project status and system status logs, counters log files, protocol stack trace logs, as well as optional OPC client debug tracing. With CIMPLICITY Log Viewer’s powerful capabilities, you can view project status and system status log files in other formats including CSV, ASCII, or TXT.

GE CIMPLICITY passive network monitoring

NXLog can passively monitor network traffic and generate logs for most network protocols. This ability to log network communication between servers and viewers can provide another valuable log source.

Data normalization and log aggregation are other features that NXLog can provide CIMPLICITY. With NXLog’s ability to collect logs from literally any file, in any format, it is ideally suited for integrating with CIMPLICITY’s wide variety of log types and file formats.

For more information on integrating NXLog with Cimplicity, see the General Electric CIMPLICITY integration guide.

The above mentioned log sources, and the features NXLog provides all play an important role when normalizing logs in order to be accepted by QRadar.

Sending logs to IBM QRadar

IBM QRadar is a Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) system, which accepts log data for further analysis, correlation, and threat intelligence. Its primary role is to identify known or potential threats, provide alerting and reports, as well as aid incident investigations.

For QRadar to accept logs from NXLog, appliances need to be configured with the appropriate log source in QRadar. This can be done by navigating from the menu to data sources, events, and then log sources. Here, a log source can be set that is either specific or generic.

Generic structured logs

Setting up a generic log source in IBM QRadar is essential for log sources that are not among QRadar’s set of predefined log source types. Once a generic log source is defined, logs can be sent to QRadar using LEEF (Log Event Extended Format).

Specific log types

IBM QRadar provides many log source types that are predefined, making it easier to collect and send a large number of log types to it natively, such as those in Windows Event Log, DHCP server logs, DNS debug logs, Microsoft Exchange Server logs, as well as Microsoft SQL logs.

Forwarding logs to IBM QRadar is straightforward with NXLog, and it can be accomplished with TCP or even TLS/SSL if security is a main concern.

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NXLog Ltd. develops multi-platform log collection tools that support many different log sources, formats, transports, and integrations. The tools help administrators collect, parse, and forward logs so they can more easily respond to security issues, investigate operational problems, and analyze event data. NXLog distributes the free and open source NXLog Community Edition and offers additional features and support with the NXLog Enterprise Edition.

This document is provided for informational purposes only and is subject to change without notice. Trademarks are the properties of their respective owners.