[Docs] [txt|pdf] [Tracker] [Email] [Diff1] [Diff2] [Nits]

Versions: 00 01 02 03 04 05

INTERNET DRAFT                                                  J. Abela
Expires: April 27, 1999                                    T. Debeaupuis
<draft-abela-ulm-03.txt>                                             HSC
                                                           27 April 1999

                  Universal Format for Logger Messages

Status of this Memo

   This document is an Internet-Draft.  Internet-Drafts are working
   documents of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), its areas,
   and its working groups.  Note that other groups may also distribute
   working documents as Internet-Drafts.

   Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six months
   and may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by other documents at any
   time.  It is inappropriate to use Internet- Drafts as reference
   material or to cite them other than as ``work in progress.''

   The list of current Internet-Drafts can be accessed at

   The list of Internet-Draft Shadow Directories can be accessed at

   This document is an Internet-Draft and is in full conformance with
   all provisions of Section 10 of RFC2026.


   This document presents a format to describe system events for logging
   purpose.  Some of the features presented here are already in use with
   the common syslog facility, but most of them are lost in the crowd of
   syslog format freedom.


   At the beginning, logs were scanned by the administrator after an
   incident to detect the failure cause. With the increasing concern on
   computer security, and wide area network manangement, the need for
   automated log examination, extraction and reporting has grown.  The
   Universal Logger Message (ULM) format presented here is a set of
   guidelines to formalize the semantics of such messages.

   In a ULM, each piece of data is marked with a tag to specify its
   meaning.  In the message "gandalf is unavailable", even a human
   administrator could difficultly determine whether "gandalf" is a

Abela                                                           [Page 1]

INTERNET-DRAFT          Universal Logger Messages          27 April 1999

   host, a user nickname, a network, or an application. But the
   "filename=gandalf status=unavailable" notation desambiguates the
   meaning of each piece of data, and allows an automatic processing of
   the message.


   This specification uses the Augmented Backus-Naur Form - ABNF
   [RFC2234] - notation specified in another document.  Just note that
   "a*b xxx" means "xxx repeated between a and b times", the default
   values being 0 for a, and infinite for b.

   logfile    = *(logline LF)

   logline    = field *(SP field)

   field       = fieldname "=" fieldvalue

   fieldname  = ALPHA *(ALPHAEXT)
                   (Case is not significant for the field names)

   fieldvalue = *(ALPHAEXT) / string

   string      = QUOTE *(ANY) QUOTE
                   (inside a string, quotes and backslashes
                   must be escaped with a backslash)

   ANY         = <any ISO-8859-1 character excluding control characters>

   ALPHAEXT   = ALPHA / DIGIT / "." / "-" / ""

   QUOTE       = <the double quote character (ASCII decimal code 34)>

   ALPHA       = <any one of the 52 alphabetic characters
                   (A through Z in upper case
                   and a through z in lower case)>

   DIGIT       = <any one of the 10 numeric characters (0 through 9)>

   LF          = <the line-feed character (ASCII decimal code 10)>

   SP          = <the space character (ASCII decimal code 32)>

   To use the field names as a hierarchical tree, field name elements
   can be concatenated with dots in between.

   Due to the verbosity of ULM, field names should be chosen as short as
   possible: 4 characters are a maximum for a field name element.

Abela                                                           [Page 2]

INTERNET-DRAFT          Universal Logger Messages          27 April 1999

   Here is a correct syslog message:

   Jan 20 00:05:03 myhost: tuttle from space.foo-bar.com
   ( 3456

   Its meaning is however context and reader dependant, and could not be
   parsed successfully without a precise knowledge of all the type of
   messages wich could happen. An ULM for this could be:

   DATE=19970120000503 HOST=itesec PROG=foo-gw LVL=debug PS=3456
   DST.IP= DST.USR=tuttle SRC.IP= SRC.FQDN=space.foo-

Mandatory Fields

   The following fields should be present in any ULM: DATE, HOST, LVL,
   PROG in this order.  For readability purpose, this requirement is not
   enforced through the examples of this document.


       Format: "Emergency" / "Alert" / "Error"
                      / "Warning" / "Auth" / "Security"
                      / "Usage" / "System" / "Important" / "Debug"

       The level (LVL) field specifies the importance and category of
       the ULM.  The meaning for the different values are:


           A panic condition. It should be broadcast to all users.


           A condition that should be corrected immediately.


           A system error. This level and the previous ones are reserved
           for system conditions.


           A program error. A program has detected an incorrect
           behaviour of his own. To clarify the differences between
           these last levels: Absence of a system configuration file is
           an Error, failed assert is a Warning, and erroneous data
           given by a user is never anything more than a Debug (except

Abela                                                           [Page 3]

INTERNET-DRAFT          Universal Logger Messages          27 April 1999

           when asked for authentication pasphrase, see below).


           An authentication happened.  Potential senders for such an
           ULM could be su and login.  The STAT field may give more
           information; if not specified, an authentication failure is
           assumed, as in:

           PROG=su LVL=Auth PS=2894 SRC.USR=tuttle DST.USR=root

           PROG=su LVL=Auth PS=2895 SRC.USR=tuttle DST.USR=root


           A standard protection was raised against what could be an
           intrusion.  A connection denial based on the remote network
           address falls into this category. The STAT field may give
           more information; if not specified, a failure is assumed, as

           PROG=tcpwrapper LVL=Security SRC.NAME=evil.foo-bar.com


           Normal, standard, authorized day-to-day usage information. If
           an application has to report delayed information about what
           is used, it should be reported as debugging information first
           (for crashproof logging), then summaried into an only usage

           DATE=19970120000503 PROG=www-client LVL=Debug STAT=Start

           DATE=19970120000551 PROG=www-client LVL=Debug STAT=End

           DATE=19970120000551 PROG=www-client LVL=Usage DUR=48


           Tangible usage, but not traceable to any user. Automated
           processus or system batch jobs fall into this category.

           PROG=sshd LVL=System PS=175 MSG="RSA key generation" DUR=37


           Information which could become critical, but is not yet.  A

Abela                                                           [Page 4]

INTERNET-DRAFT          Universal Logger Messages          27 April 1999

           configuration change may be an important information.


           The Debug level ULMs are not interesting at all in the normal
           course of life, they add no information when everything is in


       Format: string

       The HOST field contains the name of the host which issues the


       Format: string

       The PROG field contains the name of the software component which
       issues the ULM. If a software component is a member of a software
       suite, it should be expressed in a hierarchical structure
       ("suite.component.subcomponent") as in "inn.innfeed".


       Format: <YYYY> <MM> <DD> <hh> <mm> <ss> [ '.' <decimals> ] [ (
       '+' / '-' ) <hh> <mm> ]

       The DATE field contains the instantaneous date of the event. If
       the event lasts a sufficient amount of time, different ULM sould
       be issued, each marked with its own date.

       The given date must either be in GMT, or include a timezone
       information, from a GMT point of view (+0300 means GMT+0300).

Optional Fields

   The following fields could be added in any ULM. Any application
   reading log files should understand them: LANG, DUR, PS, ID, SRC.IP,


       Format: <ISO-3366 2-letters code>

Abela                                                           [Page 5]

INTERNET-DRAFT          Universal Logger Messages          27 April 1999

       Language used for the text fields. Default is english (EN).


       Format: <seconds> [ '.' <decimals> ]

       The DURATION indicates the duration (in seconds) of the event
       which end is given by the DATE field. This field is mandatory if
       the ULM announces the end of an event started earlier.


       Format: integer

       In a multi-tasking environment, this field specifies the process
       id which issued the ULM. On some systems, this id may not be
       unique, but it should however be unique on the specified HOST,
       over the specified DUR, if appropriate.  Thus, the ULM announcing
       the end of a session should specify the duration of the session,
       and guarantee that all the ULM issued between the beginning of
       the session and this ULM with the same HOST value and the same PS
       values concern that session.


       Format: string

       The ID field is a system reference to the concerned document. It
       could be a mail or Usenet news message-id, or an incremented
       counter. It should not be mistaken with the DOC field, which a
       user-level name.


       Format: ipv4 / ipv6

       ipv4              = 1*3DIGIT "." 1*3DIGIT "." 1*3DIGIT "."

       ipv6              = 16HEX

       The SRC.IP field contains the IP number of the source host.
       Other SRC.* fields could describe network source addresses in
       other realms (IPX, X25, ...).

       The SRC.* fields all contain information about the connected,
       connecting, or trying to connect host.

Abela                                                           [Page 6]

INTERNET-DRAFT          Universal Logger Messages          27 April 1999


       Format: string

       Fully Qualified Domain Name for the source host.


       Format: string

       Generic name qualifying the source: a host name if fqdn is not
       available, or a full user name.


       Format: 2-byte unsigned integer

       Port number for TCP, UDP or another protocol.


       Format: string

       User name or user id.


       Format: string

       E-mail address.


       All the DST.* fields have the same meaning as the SRC.* fields,
       except that they qualify the destination.


       All the REL.* fields have the same meaning as the SRC.* fields,
       except that they qualify a proxy, or relayer, or some sort of


       Volume (number of bytes) and count (of articles, files, events)
       sent, and received, from the source point of view. CNT=1 is
       always implicit.  These fields allow ULM to be merged together,
       in which case, the VOL and CNT fields may be added together, if

Abela                                                           [Page 7]

INTERNET-DRAFT          Universal Logger Messages          27 April 1999

       the other ones match.


       Name of the program source file from which the ULM was generated.
       This field is useful for warning messages, such as "out of
       memory", "can't fork", or "assert failed".


       Line number of the PROG.FILE source file from which the ULM was


       The STAT field describes the state or status of the designed
       process.  Possible values for this field may include "Failure",
       "Success", "Start", "End".


       Format: string

       The tty field describes the user's physical connection to the


       Format: string

       The document (DOC) field is the name of an accessed document,
       like the path of an ftp file, the name of a newsgroup, or the
       non-host part of an URL.


       Format: string

       The protocol (PROT) field specifies the protocol used.

       PROG=sendmail VOL=2238 PROT=ESMTP

       PROG=sshd PROT=RSA LVL=Auth STAT=Success


       Format: string

Abela                                                           [Page 8]

INTERNET-DRAFT          Universal Logger Messages          27 April 1999

       The command (CMD) field is an issued command, as in:

       PROG=cron LVL=Usage SRC.USR=news CMD="/local/news/bin/news.daily
       expireover delayrm" DUR=927

       PROG=ftpd LVL=Usage PS=10359 CMD=RETR DOC=x11.tar.gz


       Format: string

       The message (MSG) field is the only field which should contain
       arbitrary data.  Any information that doesn't fit any of the
       other standard fields may be stored here. Using the message field
       for information fitting in standard field is forbidden.

Other more fields

   It is expected that the set of field names will grow significantly
   with time. In order to ensure that the set of such names is developed
   in an orderly, well-specified, and public manner, ULM defines a
   registration process which uses the Internet Assigned Numbers
   Authority (IANA) as a central registry for such values. Here is a
   template for the registration of new field names with IANA.

   To: IANA@isi.edu
   Subject: Registration of new ULM field name

   ULM field name:
   Encoding specifications:
       (full explanation for the expected use of this field)
   Submitted by:
       (person and email address to contact for further information)

Security Considerations

       ULM includes no security functions. However, sites should worry
       about the vulnerabilites of their logging architecture,
       especially when networks are used to transport ULM, as these
       messages may be critical for the security.


   Here is a list of references to document referred in this document.

   [RFC2234] Augmented BNF for Syntax Specifications: ABNF.  November

Abela                                                           [Page 9]

INTERNET-DRAFT          Universal Logger Messages          27 April 1999

   1997. D. Crocker et al. RFC 2234.

Author's Address

   Jerome Abela
   Herve Schauer Consultants
   142, rue de Rivoli
   75001 Paris

   Phone: +33 141 409 700
   Fax:   +33 141 409 709

   EMail: Jerome.Abela@hsc.fr

   Tristan Debeaupuis
   Herve Schauer Consultants
   142, rue de Rivoli
   75001 Paris

   Phone: +33 141 409 700
   Fax:   +33 141 409 709

   EMail: Tristan.Debeaupuis@hsc.fr

   Comments to this document should be sent to :

Abela                                                  [Page 10]

Html markup produced by rfcmarkup 1.123, available from https://tools.ietf.org/tools/rfcmarkup/