Windows Event Logs to S3 via Fluentd


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
WIN32_EXIT_CODE : 0 (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 UI

Step 1. Create a Custom Schema

Go to Log Analysis > Custom Schema > + New Schema and enter the below values in 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
timeFormat: 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!