File Integrity Monitoring (FIM) Tools and HIDS - the Foundation for Security and Compliance in a Cloudy World - Atomicorp - Unified Security Built on OSSEC

File Integrity Monitoring (FIM) Tools and HIDS – the Foundation for Security and Compliance in a Cloudy World

File integrity monitoring (FIM) tools and a host-based intrusion detection system (HIDS) are the foundation for security and compliance, including NIST, PCI-DSS, GDPR, and more.

HIDS (host-based intrusion detection system) is a security system that monitors the computing devices on which it is installed, the traffic between devices, the containers on the device, and that detects and logs suspicious and malicious activities. Arguably the most important part of a HIDS is the file integrity monitoring (FIM) system, which checks each device for peculiar changes, the smoking gun for any cyber-takeover.

FIM is the practice of validating the integrity of operating system and application software by verifying a current file’s (or setting’s) state against an established baseline. It is one of the most valuable security and compliance capabilities today – a requirement to deal with business compliance regulations and standards vs. just security threats. PCI-DSS, NIST, and JSIG security standards require file integrity monitoring explicitly via prescriptively defined requirements; HIPAA, GDPR, NERC, NRC, and other regulations call for FIM as part of their performance requirements. No matter where you look, you’re required to have FIM.

How the Cloud Complicates Security and Compliance

Why is FIM so valuable nowadays? Your infrastructure no longer consists solely of known private network infrastructure – i.e., the hardware and software you typically inventory and operate yourself. It is a hybrid internet- and cloud-based infrastructure now, and your overall attack surface, or points where you can be breached, gets widened and complicated. You need to be able to protect your computing endpoints and systems from contamination and compromise by extending security to the file transmission level and deeper, including those files to and from the internet and cloud.

The cloud allows organizations to abstract core parts of their businesses, which has given birth to more flexible and easily managed ‘hosted’ offerings such as SaaS, IaaS, PaaS. But being in the cloud also can complicate enterprise data security and privacy enforcement and control, particularly on cloud workloads.

The cloud poses a host of data compliance challenges, including lack of visibility, confusion over whose responsibility it is to protect data, and the lack of an ideal standard compliance architecture. What’s needed is a holistic and host-based endpoint inspection system (HIDS) strong in FIM and that can provide a cloud compliance tool platform for auditing and reporting.

To the Rescue… Advanced FIM Tools Provide More Than Just File Monitoring

FIM not only monitors files traversing this hybrid infrastructure but configuration information and software native to the operating system, like registries, binary files, containers, virtual machines, libraries and web applications, as well as infrastructure components like the configuration of network and cloud devices, web servers, and firewalls. All this should be monitored in real-time.

FIM tools detect what changed. Was it a change to the file or system, a sharing of access privileges, a changing of a security default, the inappropriate use of a transport, the deletion of a file or log entry? On top of FIM, the Atomic OSSEC HIDS uses automatic log file analysis, vulnerability management to identify unpatched systems and portals for malicious lateral movement, audit control mechanisms for compliance, and a SIEM console that lets you organize and visualize security information all in one place.

Atomicorp’s FIM tool and intrusion detection system lets you know what changed, where and why. Why would you try to tackle today’s cybersecurity and compliance challenges without this ability?

The Atomic OSSEC FIM and HIDS solution enables:

  • Automatic log management. There’s no shortage of log files for the security operations center (SOC) to inspect, either manually or automatically. You want technology to do intelligent filtering out in front, integrating deep detection that’s built in by developers (DevSecOps). Employ Atomic OSSEC automatic log data analysis for threat detection and to lower your SIEM costs, and also decrease response time while putting less strain on the network and firewall.
  • Monitoring beyond just files. A good FIM tool should monitor more than just your applications and containers and data stores containing sensitive data. It should also monitor configuration information and the state of your cloud assets and do so in real-time. The solution should be able to check the system for malware and rootkits, shield the workload from vulnerabilities, manage firewall policies, track and record system and file changes, and maintain forensics copies of these changes.
  • The ability to automate monitoring and reconciliation of authentic changes, and detect and stop those that are not authorized. Stop attacks in their tracks, before you even know they’ve occurred.
  • The elimination of security infoglut. A smart FIM tool enables you to select thresholds and the files you want to monitor, and filters out the less important stuff. This empowers more accurate detection, which should include known threats and evolving ones as well. Keep your organization safer and more compliant with privacy laws, while relieving the toll of manually searching file logs and the overall cost of security information and event management (SIEM).
  • Deep support across different operating systems (Windows, Mac, Linux) including legacy systems such as AIX, HP-UX, OpenVMS, and Solaris. 
  • Compliance with standards and regulations such as PCI-DSS, HIPAA, Hitrust, NIST 800-53, NIST 800-171, NERC CIP, CIS, GDPR, and others. File integrity monitoring is essential toward making sure breaches and unauthorized changes are detected in your environment and toward generating artifacts to respond to regulatory requirements and compliance laws and standards. Maintain the integrity of your files and database and server environments so you can find information when you need it and be ready for a records audit.

FIM as Part of Host-Based Intrusion Detection System (HIDS)

Get advanced fIle integrity monitoring (FIM) tools as part of the world’s leading open-source host-based intrusion detection system (HIDS).

Atomic OSSEC empowers your organization to extend advanced security, including advanced FIM, across major cloud platform provider platforms, across operating systems, and across today’s public and private hybrid cloud infrastructure. Versatile Atomic OSSEC is available as a software subscription or as part of a managed software as a service offering (SaaS).

Learn more about Atomic OSSEC.

Read the FIM whitepaper.