Section: Linux System Administration (8)
Updated: 27 May 2014
rsyslogd [ -4 ] [ -6 ] [ -A ] [ -d ] [ -D ] [ -f config file ]
[ -i pid file ] [ -l hostlist ] [ -n ] [ -N level ]
[ -q ] [ -Q ] [ -s domainlist ] [ -u userlevel ] [ -v ] [ -w ] [ -x ]
Rsyslogd is a system utility providing support for message logging. Support of both internet and unix domain sockets enables this utility to support both local and remote logging.
Note that this version of rsyslog ships with extensive documentation in html format. This is provided in the ./doc subdirectory and probably in a separate package if you installed rsyslog via a packaging system. To use rsyslog's advanced features, you need to look at the html documentation, because the man pages only cover basic aspects of operation. For details and configuration examples, see the rsyslog.conf (5) man page and the online documentation at http://www.rsyslog.com/doc
Rsyslogd provides a kind of logging that many modern programs use. Every logged message contains at least a time and a hostname field, normally a program name field, too, but that depends on how trusty the logging program is. The rsyslog package supports free definition of output formats via templates. It also supports precise timestamps and writing directly to databases. If the database option is used, tools like phpLogCon can be used to view the log data.
While the rsyslogd sources have been heavily modified a couple of notes are in order. First of all there has been a systematic attempt to ensure that rsyslogd follows its default, standard BSD behavior. Of course, some configuration file changes are necessary in order to support the template system. However, rsyslogd should be able to use a standard syslog.conf and act like the original syslogd. However, an original syslogd will not work correctly with a rsyslog-enhanced configuration file. At best, it will generate funny looking file names. The second important concept to note is that this version of rsyslogd interacts transparently with the version of syslog found in the standard libraries. If a binary linked to the standard shared libraries fails to function correctly we would like an example of the anomalous behavior.
The main configuration file /etc/rsyslog.conf or an alternative file, given with the -f option, is read at startup. Any lines that begin with the hash mark (``#'') and empty lines are ignored. If an error occurs during parsing the error element is ignored. It is tried to parse the rest of the line.
Rsyslogd reacts to a set of signals. You may easily send a signal to rsyslogd using the following:
kill -SIGNAL $(cat /var/run/rsyslogd.pid)
Note that -SIGNAL must be replaced with the actual signal you are trying to send, e.g. with HUP. So it then becomes:
kill -HUP $(cat /var/run/rsyslogd.pid)
There is the potential for the rsyslogd daemon to be used as a conduit for a denial of service attack. A rogue program(mer) could very easily flood the rsyslogd daemon with syslog messages resulting in the log files consuming all the remaining space on the filesystem. Activating logging over the inet domain sockets will of course expose a system to risks outside of programs or individuals on the local machine.
There are a number of methods of protecting a machine:
If remote logging is enabled, messages can easily be spoofed and replayed. As the messages are transmitted in clear-text, an attacker might use the information obtained from the packets for malicious things. Also, an attacker might replay recorded messages or spoof a sender's IP address, which could lead to a wrong perception of system activity. These can be prevented by using GSS-API authentication and encryption. Be sure to think about syslog network security before enabling it.
Please visit http://www.rsyslog.com/doc for additional information, tutorials and a support forum.
rsyslogd is derived from sysklogd sources, which in turn was taken from the BSD sources. Special thanks to Greg Wettstein (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Martin Schulze (email@example.com) for the fine sysklogd package.
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