Home > Articles > Security > Network Security

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

Diagnostic Commands and Tools

Cisco Secure ACS has extensive logging capability that allows an administrator to troubleshoot any issue pertaining to CS ACS Server itself (for example, replication) or an AAA requests problem (for example, an authentication problem) from NAS. This section explores these tools and how to use them efficiently.

Reports and Activity (Real-time Troubleshooting)

The Failed Attempts log under the Reports and Activity from the GUI is the quickest and best way to find out the reasons for authentication failure. Failed Attempts logs are turned on by default. However, if you want to add additional fields to the Default, you may by browsing to System Configuration > Logging > CSV Failed Attempts. In the CSV Failed Attempts File Configuration page, move desired attributes from Attributes to Logged Attributes. Then click on Submit. These additional attributes are shown under Reports and Activity. Occasionally, you might need to look at the Passed Authentications to troubleshoot authorization or NAS Access Restriction (NAR) issues. By default, the Passed Authentication log is not turned on. To turn it on, go to System Configuration > Logging > CSV Passed Authentications, and check Log to CSV Passed Authentications report under Enable Logging. There are other logs available for different services. For instance, for replication issues, there is a corresponding CSV file called Database Replication under Reports and Activity.

Radtest and Tactest

These tools are available to simulate AAA requests from the CS ACS server itself, which eliminates any possibilities of NAS configuration issues. This is especially important for troubleshooting the authentication issues with external user database authentication, for example, Microsoft Active Directory (AD) or Secure ID server. These tools are installed as part of CS ACS installation and located at C:\Program Files\CiscoSecure ACS v3.3\Utils>. More details on how to run these tools can be found at the following location: http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/sw/secursw/ps2086/products_tech_ note09186a00800afec1.shtml#auth_of

Package.cab File

Package.cab is the result of execution of the CSSupport utility, which includes all the log files for every service that we have discussed in the section entitled "CS ACS Architecture." Before running the CSSupport utility as shown in the paragraphs that follow, to capture the debug level logging, be sure to collect the "FULL" logging (on CS ACS, System Configuration > Service Control > Level of detail > Choose FULL > Restart). This is shown in Figure 13-3. Also be sure to check Manage Directory and set the appropriate option.

Figure 3

Figure 13-3 Turning on Full Logging on CS ACS

Once you set up the logging level to "FULL", run a few tests that are sure to fail and then run cssupport.exe as shown below:

C:\Program Files\CiscoSecure ACS v3.3\utils\CSSupport.exe

The Package.cab file contains a good deal of meaningful information, but the amount of information may be overwhelming. So, being able to read the file efficiently is a key to success in isolating issues from the Package.cab file logs. Before getting into any more detail, you need to understand what goes into the makings of the package.cab file. Figure 13-4 shows the unzipped version of package.cab with a listing of files (icons are arranged by type).

Figure 4

Figure 13-4 Listing of Files in package.cab

The following are short descriptions of the files of package.cab:

  • CSV Files—CSV files contain the information about Audit log, Accounting, and Failed and Passed Authentication. Most of the files contain statistics, but to troubleshoot issues, Failed and Passed Authentication files are often used in conjunction with the log files that are discussed in the paragraphs that follow. The CSV files are created every day. Each file name without the date is the Active file. So, Failed Attempts active.csv is the active file, which stores the Failed Attempts information from the NAS.
  • Log Files—Every service discussed in the "CS ACS Architecture" section of this chapter has a corresponding log file. These files contain extensive logs about each and every service. For instance, auth.log contains all the current log information of CSAuth service. Just like CSV files, log files are created every day and the active log file is the one without the date in its name.
  • User Database Files—Three files go into making the CS ACS database. These files are user.dat, user.idx, and varsdb.mdb. You should not manipulate these files. Unless otherwise requested by Cisco, capturing these files is not necessary when running the CSSupport.exe utility.
  • Registry File—ACS.reg contains the Registry information of the CS ACS Server. Substantial CS ACS configuration (for example, NAS) goes into the Windows Registry. So, reading this file may be required for some troubleshooting. Do not import this file into another server; instead, open it with a text editor of your choice.
  • Other Files—Another useful file is MSInfo.txt, which contains the server and the OS information. The resource.txt file contains the resource information on the server, and SecEventDump.txt, AppEventDump.txt, and SysEventDump.txt contain an additional event dump on the server that may be used occasionally to troubleshoot any issues with the server itself.

As mentioned before, reading these files efficiently to isolate the problem is a key to success in troubleshooting CS ACS. To illustrate how to analyze the files, examine an example. The example assumes that a regular login authentication by the CS ACS Server is failing. The NAS debug does not give any conclusive output that indicates the reason for the failure.

To analyze this, first look at the Failed Attempts active.csv file to see why the user is failing. Quite often the information obtained from this file gives you the reason, so that no further analysis is needed; however, that's not always the case. For this example, assume that you have no conclusive reason for failure from the CSV file. However, you do have the username. The next step is to analyze the auth.log, because that contains more detailed information.

So, you search the username in the auth.log file. In this case, unfortunately, you receive no results from the search based on that username. So there must be a problem. It could be that CSTacacs service cannot process and forward the authentication request to the CSAuth service. Because you see the authentication failure in the Failed Attempts log, the authentication request must be reaching the CS ACS, and the first service that receives that packet is the CSTacacs, as the communication protocol configured between NAS and CS ACS is TACACS+. So, you need to analyze the TCS.log file, which contains all the activities that CSTacacs performs. As expected, you see the user request coming from the NAS. However, the user request is not being forwarded to the CSAuth service. After a little investigation, we find that NAR is configured for this user and, hence, packets are being dropped by the CSTacacs service; therefore, they are not being forwarded to the CSAuth service. Hence, you do not see the user in the auth.log. For every AAA request failure, you must look at the Failed Attempt first, and then search for the username in the auth.log. If an additional detail is needed, you need to analyze either the TCS.log or the RDS.log. Note that both CSTacacs and CSRadius form the communication bridge between the NAS and CS ACS, and CSAuth is the communication bridge between the CSTacacs/CSRadius and any external user databases such as Active Directory, NDS, and so on.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020