Getting syslog-ng to filter messages by source IP address

I received a call this week from one of our network guys because messages from several network devices weren’t being logged by our centralized log server. When I started debugging the issue, I noticed that traffic from the hosts (host1 in this example) was making it to our syslog-ng server:

$ tcpdump -i eth0 host host1

tcpdump: verbose output suppressed, use -v or -vv for full protocol decode
listening on eth0, link-type EN10MB (Ethernet), capture size 96 bytes
09:22:01.672377 host1.65093 > syslog.syslog: SYSLOG local4.error, length: 108
09:22:06.904446 host1.65093 > syslog.syslog: SYSLOG local4.notice, length: 128

While the traffic was making it to the server, the syslog messages were not being matched against a rule we had defined. Being the curious guy I am, I decided to read the syslog RFC to get a better understanding of the syslog message format. If you aren’t familiar with syslog messages, they take the following form:

The PRI section contains the facility and priority, the HEADER section contains a timestamp and the hostname or IP address of the device, and the MSG section contains the message the host is trying to send to the server.

When I dumped one of the syslog message as a raw string of bytes, I noticed that the hostname field didn’t match the expression we were trying to match against. For reference, here is the expression we were using (FYI: the host() directive matches against the hostname in the syslog message, not the source IP address in the IP datagram):

filter f_web_hosts { (host( };

Since the hostname and source IP address were different, the rule didn’t match. To get this to work correctly, I needed to use a netmask() statement to filter based on the source IP address in the IP datagram:

filter f_web_hosts { (netmask( };

Once this rule was in place, everything worked as expected! Rock on!

This article was posted by Matty on 2010-03-02 21:27:00 -0400 -0400