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Manual Chapter: Viewing DoS reports statistics and logs
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Viewing DoS reports, statistics, and logs

Overview: Viewing DoS reports, statistics, and logs

If you have configured DoS protection on the BIG-IP® system, you can view charts, reports, statistics, and event logs that show information about DoS attacks and mitigations in place on the system. For example, you can view a DoS Overview Summary screen that shows at a glance whether or not the system is under attack. The Overview Summary also indicates the impact of DoS attacks on the server's throughput, and RAM and CPU usage.

Other reports show DoS statistics, and correlate the impact of system detection and the mitigation of DoS attacks. The reports and event logs help you to understand whether the DoS protection you have implemented is protecting your application web site, or whether you need to fine-tune the configuration. You can use the information to provide the intelligence necessary to identify and track DoS attacks. By looking at historical attacks and their trends, you can gain insight on the DoS threats the web site is facing.

You can also define custom reports based on dimensional queries.

Investigating DoS attacks and mitigation

Before you can investigate DoS attacks, you need to have created a DoS profile so that the system is capturing the analytics on the BIG-IP® system. You must associate the DoS profile with one or more virtual servers.
You can display a DoS Overview Summary that tells you whether or not a DoS attack is taking place, and shows information about the impact of DoS attacks on your system throughput and memory.
  1. On the Main tab, click Security > Reporting > DoS .
    The DoS Overview Summary screen opens and displays real-time information about DoS attacks on the system.
  2. Review the current status, RAM and CPU usage, throughput, and see if there have been any recent DoS attacks.
    The current status tells you if your system is OK or if it is under attack.
  3. To focus in on the specific details in the charts, point on the charts at the time you are interested in.
    The system displays the details about what was happening at that time in a tooltip. For example, pointing on the throughput chart at a specific time displays the number of bits in and bits out at that time.
You can review the details about DoS attacks on the DoS Overview Summary and quickly see one way or another whether you are under attack.

Sample DoS Overview Summary

This figure shows a sample DoS Overview Summary showing a system that is operating normally. The statistics will vary from system to system, and it is a good idea to get familiar with typical memory and CPU usage and throughput on your system.

Sample DoS statistics report

Sample DoS Overview Summary (no DoS attacks)

This figure shows a sample DoS Overview Summary showing a system that is currently under attack. The system has 1 ongoing attack as shown in the current status.

Sample DoS Overview with attack

Sample DoS Overview Summary (system under attack)

In the Recent Attacks table, each attack is displayed with the duration of the attack on the X-axis, and the severity of the attack on the Y-axis. The Severity shows the impact of the DoS attack on your system, and it correlates with the average latency of the server. The Severity is measured from 0-10, where 0 has the least impact and higher numbers have greater impact. In this case, the impact is fairly high averaging between 5 and 7.

Click the Recent Attacks table to view statistics about the attack.

Viewing DoS application statistics

Before you can look at DoS application statistics, you need to have created a DoS profile so that the system is capturing the analytics on the BIG-IP® system. You must associate the DoS profile with one or more virtual servers. If your browser is IE8 or earlier, you need to have Adobe Flash Player installed on the computer where you plan to review the data.
You can display graphic charts that show statistics about DoS attacks on web applications that were detected on your system. The charts provide visibility into what caused the attack, IP addresses of the attackers, which applications are being attacked, and how the attacks are being mitigated.
  1. On the Main tab, click Security > Reporting > DoS > Application > Statistics .
    The DoS Application Statistics screen opens and displays a graphical chart with information about DoS attacks detected by the system.
  2. If you want to change the time frame for information shown in the chart, adjust the Display .. during settings.
    You can focus in on requests or responses only, and for the period of time you are interested in.
  3. To see the statistics for a specific time, point anywhere on the chart.
    Information about the transactions at that time pops up on the screen.
  4. If you want to view additional information, under the chart, from Drilldown to select the option for the details you want to see.
    For example, select Client IP Addresses to see the list of IP addresses involved in the attack, the number of transactions initiated by each one, and those which were valid, mitigated, and blocked.
By reviewing DoS Application Statistics, you can investigate the details of an attack. You can become more familiar with what caused the attacks, what applications are most vulnerable, and you see the mitigation methods that are in place. As a result of your investigation, you have more information to help you decide whether you need to tune the DoS configuration and add more protections, or change the thresholds in the DoS profile.
To get additional information If you are recording traffic during attacks, you can view the TCP dumps related to the DoS attacks in /shared/dosl7/tcpdumps.

Traffic distribution in DoS application statistics

When displaying DoS application statistics, the charts classify the traffic into the following traffic types.

Traffic type What it means
Incomplete Traffic that was dropped by the server because the connection was incomplete or the server did not respond.
Blocked Traffic that was blocked as a result of the prevention policy (with rate limiting set using request blocking) in the DoS profile.
Proactive Mitigation Traffic that did not respond to a JavaScript challenge, which was sent due to using Proactive Bot Defense in the DoS profile. So it is potentially a web robot.
CAPTCHA Mitigation Traffic that did not respond to a CAPTCHA challenge or responded incorrectly. The challenge is specified in the prevention policy of the DoS profile.
CS Integrity Mitigation Traffic that did not respond to a JavaScript challenge, which was sent as a result of the prevention policy (set using client-side integrity defense options) in the DoS profile.
BIG-IP Response Traffic that is a response to the client from the BIG-IP® system.
Cached by BIG-IP Traffic that is served from cache configured in the Web Acceleration profile.
Whitelisted Traffic from IP addresses on the IP Address whitelist in the DoS profile.
Passthrough Traffic that is allowed because it does not constitute a DoS attack.

In the lower table, Latency (ms) indicates how long it takes (in milliseconds) from the time a request reaches the BIG-IP system, for it to proceed to the web application server, and return a response.

Sample DoS Statistics reports

This figure shows a sample DoS Statistics report for a system on which there has been DoS attacks for the past week. The chart shows how the traffic has been handled by the system. It shows aggregated data that is updated every few minutes. A large percentage of the attacking requests have been blocked according to the prevention policy specified in the DoS profile (this policy uses Request Blocking with source IP and URL-based rate limiting). During normal traffic patterns, you typically see more passthrough traffic, and less traffic that was blocked.

Sample DoS statistics report

Sample DoS Statistics report

You can adjust which elements are listed in the table below the chart. In this figure, the virtual servers traffic is attempting to access are listed. By clicking one of the virtual servers (or other objects listed), you can drill down to see what is happening with that specific traffic. For example, here the trouble is on vip_60 and vip_57where attacks are taking place, and some of the traffic is being blocked.

You can also open a real-time chart that is constantly updated by clicking the Open Real-Time Charts link. It is a popup screen that you can leave displayed on your computer. It shows the traffic distribution on the system. Here much of the traffic is being blocked (shown in red), some is from IP addresses on the whitelist in the DoS profile (shown in turquoise), and the remaining traffic is allowed to pass through the system (shown in green).

Sample DoS real-time chart

Sample DoS real-time chart

You can go back to the DoS Statistics report and change the values for what is displayed using the Display and during settings, and open another real-time chart to see additional information. Viewing different statistical views is useful to understanding and tracking DoS attacks.

Displaying DoS event logs

You can display DoS Application event logs to see whether L7 DoS attacks have occurred, and view information about the attacks.The logs show the DoS events (attack and mitigation step occurrences) combined with the statistical reports on the traffic behavior.
  1. On the Main tab, click Security > Event Logs > DoS > Application Attacks .
    The DoS Application Attacks event log opens, and if Layer 7 DoS attacks were detected, it lists the attack ID, virtual server, associated DoS profile, the start and end times of the attack, and so on.
  2. If DoS attacks are listed, review the list of attacks to see what has occurred, when it occurred, the mitigation, and the severity of the attack.
  3. To view a list of events related to the attacks, from the DoS menu, choose Application Events.
    The DoS Application Events log opens and lists specific events related to the DoS attacks, such as when the attack started and ended.
  4. From either event log, click the Attack ID link for an attack or event to display information about the attack in a graphical chart.

Sample DoS event logs

This figure shows a sample DoS Application Attacks event log for a system that has had quite a few DoS attacks over the past few days. You can see that they have been mitigated using rate limiting, and all have ended. By clicking the down-arrow on the left of the attack ID, you can display details as shown for the first entry.

Sample DoS event log

Sample DoS Application Attacks event log

This figure shows a sample DoS Application Events log showing information about the events related to the DoS attacks, such as when the attack started and finished, how it was mitigated, the IP address where it originated, the transactions per second during the attack indicating the latency of traffic to the web application, and the attack ID.

Sample DoS Application Events log

Sample DoS Application Events log

You can click the attack ID to display DoS application statistics for the attack.

Viewing URL Latencies reports

For the URL Latencies report to include useful information, you need to have created a DoS profile and associated it with the application's virtual server for the system to capture the latency statistics for the application.
You can display a report that shows information about the latency of traffic to specific web pages in your application. The report lists the latency for each URL separately, and one row lists the latency for all URLs combined. You can use this report to check that the latency threshold that you used is close to the value in the latency histogram column for all traffic.
  1. On the Main tab, click Security > Reporting > DoS > Application > URL Latencies .
    The URL Latencies reporting screen opens.
  2. From the Time Period list, select the time period for which you want to view URL latency, or specify a custom time range.
  3. If you want to filter the information by virtual server, DoS profile, URL, or detection criteria, specify the ones for which you want to view the URL latency, and click Filter.
    By default, the report displays information for all items.
  4. Adjust the chart display options as you want.
    Display Option Description
    Display Mode Select whether to display the information as Cumulative or as related to the respective latency range, Per Interval.
    Unified Scale Select this check box to display all histograms using a single scale for all URLs, rather than a separate scale for each one.
    Order by Select the order in which to display the statistics: by the average server latency, the number of transactions, the histogram latency ranges (in milliseconds), or by how heavy URLs were detected (automatically detected or manually set).
  5. Review the latency statistics.
    • The report shows the latency for the most active URLs.
    • The Aggregated row summarizes the statistics for the URLs not included in the report.
    • The Overall Summary shows the latency of all traffic.
  6. To focus in on the specific latency details for one row, click the latency histogram.
    A magnified view of the histogram is displayed in a separate window. The latency histogram shows the percentage of transactions for each range of latency (0-2 ms, 2-4 ms, and so on up to 10000 ms or 10 seconds).

The URL Latencies report shows how fast your web application returns web pages and can show typical latency for applications (meaning virtual servers associated with a DoS profile) on your system. It can help you to identify slow pages with latency problems that may require additional troubleshooting by application developers.

You can also use the URL Latencies report for the following purposes:

  • To determine the threshold latencies, especially the heaviness threshold.
    Tip: Set the heaviness threshold to approximately 90-95% of the latency distribution for the site. Filter the data by site (that is, by virtual server and DoS profile), and check the latency distribution in the histogram of the Total row.
  • To track the current heavy URLs. You can add or remove manually configured heavy URLs depending on the information in the report.
  • To monitor the latency distribution.

Sample URL Latencies report

This figure shows a sample URL Latencies report for a system that has two DoS profiles and two virtual servers. It shows the latency for several web pages ranging from 10.97 ms to 2006.07 ms. One page (/DOS/latency2.php) has very high latency and might require some troubleshooting. In this case, the system determined that URL to be "heavy" based on traffic. While investigating the latency of URLs that take longer to display, if it is acceptable, you may decide to add them to the list of heavy URLs in the DoS profile so they do not trigger DoS mitigation.

Sample URL Latencies report

Sample URL Latencies report

Creating customized DoS reports

You can create a customized DoS reporting screen so that it shows the specific data you are interested in, such as the top DoS attacks and server latency.
  1. On the Main tab, click Security > Reporting > DoS > Application > Custom Page .
    The DoS Custom Page screen opens, and shows default widgets you may find useful.
  2. Review the charts and tables provided, and click the configuration icon to adjust or delete them, as needed.
    • To modify the widget and change what it displays, click the gear icon and select Settings. On the popup screen, adjust the values that control what is displayed.
    • To remove the widget from the custom page, click the gear icon and select Delete.
  3. To create a new widget to your specifications, click Add Widget.
    The Add New Widget popup screen opens where you can select custom options for what to include, the time frame, and how to display the information.
  4. Continue adjusting the custom page so that it shows the information you want.
    You can drag and drop the widgets to change the order in which they are displayed. You can set the time range for all widgets or for each one separately.
  5. To save the information shown in the custom report to a file or email attachment, click Export and choose your options.
    You can also export the data from a single widget by selecting Export from the configuration icon.
You have created a custom page that includes the information you need to monitor your system. As you use the reports to investigate DoS attacks, you can adjust the custom page to include additional data that you need. You can save the reports or send them to others that want to review the date.
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