Microsoft released a new version of Sysinternals Sysmon (System Monitoring) program for Microsoft Windows devices this week. Sysmon 11.0 is a major update of the application; users may download the latest version of the program from the official Sysinternals website or launch the new version of the tool directly using Sysinternals Live.
Sysmon is a specialized system monitor tool for Windows 7 and up that installs as a system service and device driver. The application monitors events on the system commonly used by attackers, e.g. by malware attacks, and logs these to the Windows event log.
The program monitors important activity such as the creation of processes and their termination, network connections, the loading of drivers, the creation of files, or Registry Events when it is active.
Sysmon 11.0 adds a new event to the list of monitored activity on Windows devices. Event 23, FileDelete, monitors all file removal activity on the Windows machine; this gives administrators options to see all files that were deleted on a system while Sysmon was active.
One of the reasons for adding file delete monitoring came from Microsoft's own experience. The company noted that attackers who successfully got into company machines would drop tools on the machine, use these, and delete these when they were done. The new file delete monitoring provides analysts with information about the tools that the attacker used on the system. Naturally, file deletion activity covers other types of deletions as well when it is used.
Here is a video by Mark Russinovich that offers additional details on the update:
Installation of Sysmon is straightforward. All that needs to be done is to download the latest archive version of the program and extract it on the target system. You may check the configuration using sysmon -s using the command prompt, and install the monitoring service using sysmon -accepteula -i; this uses the default configuration. To uninstall sysmon, run sysmon -u from the command line.
Advanced users can use configuration files to customize the monitoring, e.g. to ignore certain activity on the system. The new version of Sysmon comes with a flag to disable reverse DNS lookups to avoid DNS servers being overloaded by requests from the tool.
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