Windows Event Logs to S3 via Fluentd (Legacy)

The process outlined in this guide is no longer the recommended approach to onboarding Windows Event Logs. Instead, follow the instructions in Windows Event Logs, which leverage Fluent Bit. The Fluent Bit setup process is less complex than Fluentd, and requires no additional infrastructure.


This guide provides a method to deliver Windows Event Logs to S3 using Fluentd. There are two different pipeline flows: via an AWS Firehose delivery stream and directly to an AWS S3 bucket.


This guide assumes that an S3 bucket or Firehose has already been created. If you need to create either of these resources, please see the Getting Started with Fluentd guide. If you have already provisioned the resources, you can adapt the guide below to fit your needs.

Setup Fluentd

Step 1. Install Fluentd

Follow the Fluentd installation instructions for the Windows server from which you want to collect Windows Event Logs. See the installation instructions to make sure that Fluentd is running as a service.

Step 2. Edit Fluentd Configuration

Edit the Fluentd configuration with the below configuration. This will configure Fluentd to use the windows_eventlog2 plugin to read the events and output to S3. Update the s3_bucket, s3_region, aws_key_id, and aws_sec_key in the configuration below:

  @type windows_eventlog2
  @id windows_eventlog2
  channels application,system,security
  tag system
  render_as_xml true
    persistent false
  parse_description false
  read_existing_events false

<match system.**>	
  @type s3

  s3_bucket <BUCKET-NAME>
  s3_region <BUCKET-REGION>
  path winevent/%Y/%m/%d/
  store_as gzip	

  ## There are two authentication methods below. 
  ## If this is running on EC2, you can use the assume role credentials instead of a token key

  ## Secret Token Authentication
  #aws_key_id <ACCESS-KEY-ID>
  #aws_sec_key <SECRET-KEY>

  ## Assume Role Authentication
    duration_seconds 3600
    role_arn <ROLE-ARN>
    role_session_name "#{Socket.gethostname}-panther-audit"

  <buffer tag,time>
    @type file
    path /var/log/fluent/s3
    timekey 300 # 5 min partition
    timekey_wait 2m
    timekey_use_utc true # use utc
    chunk_limit_size 256m
    @type json

#<match system.**>
#  @type kinesis_firehose
#  region <STREAM-REGION>
#  delivery_stream_name <FIREHOSE-STREAM-NAME>
#  <assume_role_credentials>
#    duration_seconds 3600
#    role_arn <ROLE-ARN>
#    role_session_name "#{Socket.gethostname}-panther-audit"
#  </assume_role_credentials>
#  <format>
#    @type json
#  </format>

You can read more about the windows_eventlog2 plugin here.

Step 3. Start Fluentd

From the command prompt, start or restart the service with the below commands. You may need to stop/start the service if it had been previously running.

sc stop fluentdwinsvc
sc start fluentdwinsvc

Check to make sure the service is running with the following command:

sc query fluentdwinsvc

Expected output of the service running:

C:\Users\Administrator>sc query fluentdwinsvc

SERVICE_NAME: fluentdwinsvc
        TYPE               : 10  WIN32_OWN_PROCESS
        STATE              : 4  RUNNING
                                (STOPPABLE, PAUSABLE, ACCEPTS_SHUTDOWN)
        WIN32_EXIT_CODE    : 0  (0x0)
        SERVICE_EXIT_CODE  : 0  (0x0)
        CHECKPOINT         : 0x0
        WAIT_HINT          : 0x0

You can check for Fluentd runtime logs under C:\opt\td-agent\td-agent.log

To troubleshoot, you can also run td-agent from the command line and review the realtime output for issues via C:\opt\td-agent\bin\td-agent -vv. Stop the Fluentd service before running it manually.

Step 4. Verify Logging

After a few minutes have passed, verify that events are being logged to the S3 bucket. Logs should be showing up under the winevent/ prefix within the bucket.

Panther Console

Step 1. Create a Custom Schema

Go to Configure > Schemas. Click +New Schema then enter the values below into the schema fields:

Name: Custom.WindowsEventLogs2 Description: Windows Event Logs for Application, Security, System

#Schema for windows_eventlog2 type from fluentd
version: 0
- name: TimeCreated
  required: true
  type: timestamp
   - rfc3339
  isEventTime: true
- name: ActivityID
  required: true
  type: string
- name: Channel
  required: true
  type: string
- name: Computer
  required: true
  type: string
- name: Description
  required: true
  type: string
- name: EventData
  required: true
  type: array
    type: string
- name: EventID
  required: true
  type: bigint
- name: EventRecordID
  required: true
  type: bigint
- name: Keywords
  required: true
  type: string
- name: Level
  required: true
  type: bigint
- name: Opcode
  required: true
  type: string
- name: ProcessID
  required: true
  type: string
- name: ProviderGUID
  required: true
  type: string
- name: ProviderName
  required: true
  type: string
- name: Qualifiers
  required: true
  type: string
- name: RelatedActivityID
  required: true
  type: string
- name: Task
  required: true
  type: bigint
- name: ThreadID
  required: true
  type: string
- name: UserID
  required: true
  type: string
- name: Version
  required: true
  type: string

The above schema was generated using logs from the Fluentd source directive config provided earlier in this guide.

Step 2. Onboard the S3 bucket

Follow the S3 source onboarding documentation and use the S3 Bucket used in the previous setup.

Select the log type Custom.WindowsEventLogs2 and prefix winevent/ in the onboarding steps. After completing the bucket onboarding, data should now be flowing into Panther!

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