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Windows DNS Logs Deciphering

Windows DNS Logs Deciphering

DNS logs are extremely useful for many purposes. Let's review the basic DNS resource records and their purposes. 

  • Host address (A). Maps a Domain Name System (DNS) domain name to an Internet Protocol (IP) address that is used by a computer.
  • Alias canonical (CNAME). Maps an alias DNS domain name to another primary name or canonical name.
  • Mail Exchanger (MX). Maps a DNS domain name to the name of a computer that exchanges or forwards mail.

Problem:

An organization is migrating their Windows 2008 production file server(s) (active/standby) to a DFS system. The file server had a Host A record created named 'fileserver' mapped to 10.10.39.1. 

The problem is many employees are using the A record 'fileserver' in excel, business applications, file drive mappings, and such. Since the business was told to reference this name as needed, there's no telling where the A record could exist exactly - a very bad practice. DFS will be referenced by a global domain name.

Luckily, DNS logs can help an administrator to where 'fileserver' is being referenced on host machines.

 

The following example shows the logging options within Windows DNS manager that we're concerned with. Depending how big your organization is, this will capture a lot of information. The log file is overwritten when it reaches the maximum file size. Set this file size with caution.

DNS Log size

Set DNS Windows

From TechNet: <https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc776361(v=ws.10).aspx>

  • Direction of packets

    Send  Packets sent by the DNS server are logged in the DNS server log file.

    Receive  Packets received by the DNS server are logged in the log file.
  • Content of packets

    Standard queries  Specifies that packets containing standard queries (per RFC 1034) are logged in the DNS server log file.

    Updates  Specifies that packets containing dynamic updates (per RFC 2136) are logged in the DNS server log file.

    Notifies  Specifies that packets containing notifications (per RFC 1996) are logged in the DNS server log file.
  • Transport protocol

    UDP  Specifies that packets sent and received over UDP are logged in the DNS server log file.

    TCP  Specifies that packets sent and received over TCP are logged in the DNS server log file.
  • Type of packet

    Request  Specifies that request packets are logged in the DNS server log file (a request packet is characterized by a QR bit set to 0 in the DNS message header).

    Response  Specifies that response packets are logged in the DNS server log file (a response packet is characterized by a QR bit set to 1 in the DNS message header).
  • Enable filtering based on IP address Provides additional filtering of packets logged in the DNS server log file. This option allows logging of packets sent from specific IP addresses to a DNS server, or from a DNS server to specific IP addresses.
  • File name Lets you specify the name and location of the DNS server log file.

    For example:
    • dns.log specifies that the DNS server log file should be saved as dns.log in the systemroot\System32\Dns directory.
    • temp\dns.log specifies that the DNS server log file should be saved as dns.log in the systemroot\Temp directory
  • Log file maximum size limit Lets you set the maximum file size for the DNS server log file. When the specified maximum size of the DNS server log file is reached, the DNS server overwrites the oldest packet information with new information. Note: If left unspecified, the DNS server log file's size can take up a large amount of hard disk space.

 

Depending on your org size, you should at least capture 1 full business day of DNS logs before reviewing. Once ready, we can easily filter the log file in command prompt.

In this example, the DNS log file resides in a shared network drive. We will find any reference of 'filserver' and output to a text file in same directory.

Open command prompt with Admin privileges if needed. 

 

1. First we will likely have to to store the shared directory in command prompt before we can find in the log. (This step may not be necessary for all)

C:\Users\> pushd \\shared\DnsLog

Push DNS Command Windows

 

2. Find references of "fileserver"

Z:\> find "fileserver" /i z:\dnslog.txt > dns

Find DNS

Open the created text file in Excel -> Tab Delimited. Sort by IP addresses and clean up duplicates. IP addresses are great...but host/domain/FQDN's would be best to help identify systems.

Download and open dns-script script. Paste the IP Addresses from excel into the iplist.txt file.

Open fqdn.bat and add your DNS server IP in set server field and save.

Windows Set IP

 

Run fqdn.bat  and it will create a .cvs output in same directory. Now you should see hostnames associated with your IP's!

 DNS Hex Log reference:

0x0

0

No logging. (This is the default)

0x1

1

Queries transactions

0x10

16

Notifications transactions

0x20

32

Updates transactions

0xFE

254

Non-queries transactions

0x100

256

Question packets

0x200

512

Answer packets

0x1000

4096

Send packets

0x2000

8192

Receive packets

0x4000

16384

UDP packets

0x8000

32768

TCP packets

0xFFFF

65535

All packets

0x10000

65536

AD write transactions

0x20000

131072

AD update transactions

0x1000000

16777216

Full packets

 
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Sunday, 16 June 2019




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