Practical Logging In Web Applications
Identity Flow Through Application Layers
All web application security experts will tell you how important logging is . How else can you detect attacks, successful or otherwise? Logs should allow you to replay a user's request lifecycle. In an enterprise web application, this is a lot of work and I'm not happy to tell you not many people are doing it right.
There's generally two things development teams have to figure out when architecting a logging strategy; what to log and when to log.
When to Log
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What to Log
There's a general consensus on what kind of information an application log message should contain:
- date and time
- server IP
- source IP
- URL requested
- module/action/class responsible
- user ID
- description of the event
- severity level
Whether you're investigating your web application's log files as part of a regular monitoring program or incident response, you should be able to follow a user's request lifecycle, all the way from the receival of the request (before the invocation of any HTTP filters).