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auditd/aureport --auth not recording/reporting username of failed su root attempts

This document (7015230) is provided subject to the disclaimer at the end of this document.


SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 Service Pack 3 (SLES 11 SP3)


When auditing is enabled (auditctl -e 1), and an end user ssh's into the server, auditd records the ssh attempt.  If the user then su's to the root user and an aureport --auth is run, the report does not report which user su'd in, if the wrong password is provided for the root user, it does not report which user attempted to authenticate with the bad password.

For example:

1.  ssh to the server as a non-root user.
2.  su to root.
3.  Provide an invalid password for the root user.
4.  su to root (again).
5.  Provide the correct password for the root user.
6.  Run aureport --auth

The output will look similar to this:

  #        Date     Time  Acct         Host  Terminal      Executable  Success  Event

334. 06/16/2014 11:02:18  jdoe       ssh  /usr/sbin/sshd      yes     84
335. 06/16/2014 11:02:18  jdoe       ssh  /usr/sbin/sshd      yes     87
336. 06/16/2014 11:02:26  root ?                pts/1  /bin/su              no     98
340. 06/16/2014 11:02:35  root ?                pts/1  /bin/su             yes    103

and /var/log/messages shows:

Jun 16 11:02:18 slert11sp3 sshd[10044]: Accepted keyboard-interactive/pam for jdoe from port 48097 ssh2
Jun 16 11:02:26 slert11sp3 su: FAILED SU (to root) jdoe on /dev/pts/1
Jun 16 11:02:35 slert11sp3 su: (to root) jdoe on /dev/pts/1

audit.log will contain the full sshd session creation but skipping forward to just before the failed use of su we see the following (Note: For the example case below, jdoe's auid is 1000, but for the failed su attempt no username is shown, only an auid):

type=CRED_ACQ msg=audit(1403100799.008:43): user pid=10047 uid=0 auid=1000 ses=10037 msg='op=PAM:setcred acct="jdoe" exe="/usr/sbin/sshd" (hostname=, addr=, terminal=ssh res=success)'
type=USER_LOGIN msg=audit(1403100799.008:44): user pid=10044 uid=0 auid=1000 ses=10037 msg='op=login id=1000 exe="/usr/sbin/sshd" (hostname=, addr=, terminal=/dev/pts/2 res=success)'
type=USER_START msg=audit(1403100799.008:45): user pid=10044 uid=0 auid=1000 ses=10037 msg='op=login id=1000 exe="/usr/sbin/sshd" (hostname=, addr=, terminal=/dev/pts/2 res=success)'
type=USER_AUTH msg=audit(1403101400.648:52): user pid=10103 uid=1000 auid=1000 ses=10037 msg='op=PAM:authentication acct="root" exe="/bin/su" (hostname=?, addr=?, terminal=pts/2 res=failed)'

As can be seen, /var/log/messages provides the username that attempted and failed to su as root whereas the audit --auth shows no user identity and the /var/log/audit/audit.log data shows only the uid or auid as the identity of the failed su attempt.


In order to obtain the username for the audit data you need to use the following command:

aureport --user

Output will look similar to the following:

User ID Report
#         date     time auid  term host            exe event
31. 06/18/2014 08:15:01    0  cron    ? /usr/sbin/cron   95
32. 06/18/2014 08:15:01    0  cron    ? /usr/sbin/cron   96
33. 06/18/2014 08:15:01    0  cron    ? /usr/sbin/cron   97
34. 06/18/2014 08:23:20 1000 pts/2    ?        /bin/su   98
35. 06/18/2014 08:30:01   -1  cron    ? /usr/sbin/cron   99
36. 06/18/2014 08:30:01   -1  cron    ? /usr/sbin/cron  100
37. 06/18/2014 08:30:01    0     ?    ?              ?  101
38. 06/18/2014 08:30:01    0  cron    ? /usr/sbin/cron  102

Note the event column at the end of each line, the same event ID is used in the aureport --auth output and by linking the event IDs on the two reports the auid for the failed su attempt in the first report can be obtained from the second report. If this is then looked up in /etc/passwd the username will be found. Such a process can be performed using a relatively simple shell script.



This Support Knowledgebase provides a valuable tool for SUSE customers and parties interested in our products and solutions to acquire information, ideas and learn from one another. Materials are provided for informational, personal or non-commercial use within your organization and are presented "AS IS" WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND.

  • Document ID:7015230
  • Creation Date: 18-Jun-2014
  • Modified Date:03-Mar-2020
    • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server

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