Our server logs are very valuable.
Anyone who has ever run a web site will know how powerful the logs of their server can be but the actual server logs are not the only kinds of logs on your computer.
There are several more that may be sitting on the computer that is running the server.
Many different applications out there give out logs; this includes the operating system that the server software may be running on top of.
These logs are created so that the person who is running the computer can easily pin point when something went wrong.
This is the same as it is for server logs.
You want to be able to go to the exact point when something happened and you can do that easily with logs.
But the logs on a computer can help the bad guys as well.
If they are able to get to them they can be provided with so much different information.
This is why it is important that you are able to stop the access of logs from outside of the computer.
If hackers are able to access this type of information remotely then you can be in real trouble.
What Is A Log Exactly?
So far I have been talking about logs but if you are a casual user of the computer then you might not even know what they are.
At least you might be confused when it comes to how people use the term for computers.
In real life, a log is a type of diary that people use to keep track of events.
Another name that you might hear for it is a journal.
A person will write in the log so that the activity that they are doing has proper records taken of it.
This way, if something happens, then the next person will know at what point everything went wrong.
This is the same theory for a computer.
When a computer is running there are many different applications inside of it that will keep their own log.
They are keeping an exact record of operations that they performed throughout the day.
Usually the information is stored in a text file but it can also be stored as an xml file or any other kind of data/text format.
The most important thing is that a detailed record of the events that the program had to perform is kept.
So now that we are all up to date and know what a log is, how can it be used to harm us?
How Can A Log Be Dangerous?
As I said earlier, if the bad guys have access to the logs that are in your system you can in real trouble.
This means for the server logs or especially the operating system logs that are in your server’s host computer.
The reason why this information is dangerous is because, depending on the software, some logs have every piece of information about the computer recorded while others may be too vague to use in some sort of attack.
For example, the server logs themselves will give you a lot of information about who came to the site but it also might store information about what was typed into the site.
This is an easy way to get information such as usernames and passwords.
Also, personal information about your users can be obtained this way as well.
Credit card numbers and where they live is all information that can be obtained if your server stores this information in a log.
Keep in my mind that not all server software does this, but some do with the expectations that you would be able to keep the log safe from prying eyes.
The same thing goes for the operating system logs as well.
Keeping The Logs Secure
There are several different methods that will help you keep logs like this secure.
The first thing that you can do is to make sure that no log is able to be accessed remotely from another computer.
Identify all of the logs that are on the system and make sure that they are safe from prying eyes.
You also have the option to stop the program from keeping logs but, in a lot of cases, this is not a good idea.
You may need to be able to fix the system and those logs will help you do that.
But another alternative may be to delete the logs and start a new one after a certain amount of time.
Every thirty days or so make sure the log deletes itself and then just create a new one.
This is a good solution if the software allows you to do it.
Logs on your system can be very helpful but they can also be very dangerous.
It all depends on how safe that you keep them.