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Audit: Shut down system immediately if unable to log security audits

Published: November 15, 2012

Updated: November 15, 2012

Applies To: Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Vista, Windows XP



This security policy reference topic for the IT professional describes the best practices, location, values, management practices, and security considerations for this policy setting.

The Audit: Shut down system immediately if unable to log security audits policy setting determines whether the system shuts down if it is unable to log security events. This policy setting is a requirement for Trusted Computer System Evaluation Criteria (TCSEC)-C2 and Common Criteria certification to prevent auditable events from occurring if the audit system is unable to log those events. Microsoft has chosen to meet this requirement by halting the system and displaying a Stop message in the case of a failure of the auditing system. Enabling this policy setting stops the system if a security audit cannot be logged for any reason. Typically, an event fails to be logged when the security audit log is full and the value of Retention method for security log is Do not overwrite events (clear log manually) or Overwrite events by days.

With Audit: Shut down system immediately if unable to log security audits set to Enabled, if the security log is full and an existing entry cannot be overwritten, the following Stop message appears:

 

STOP: C0000244 {Audit Failed}

An attempt to generate a security audit failed.

To recover, an administrator must log on, archive the log (optional), clear the log, and reset this option as desired.

If the computer is unable to record events to the security log, critical evidence or important troubleshooting information might not be available for review after a security incident.

  • Enabled

  • Disabled

  • Not defined

  1. Depending on your security audit requirements, you can enable the Audit: Shut down system immediately if unable to log security audits setting to ensure that security auditing information is captured for review. However, enabling this setting will increase the number of events logged.

GPO_name\Computer Configuration\Windows Settings\Security Settings\Local Policies\Security Options

The following table lists the actual and effective default values for this policy. Default values are also listed on the policy’s property page.

 

Server type or GPO Default value

Default Domain Policy

Not defined

Default Domain Controller Policy

Not defined

Stand-Alone Server Default Settings

Disabled

DC Effective Default Settings

Disabled

Member Server Effective Default Settings

Disabled

Client Computer Effective Default Settings

Disabled

There are no differences in this policy between Windows operating systems beginning with Windows Server 2008.

This section describes features and tools that are available to help you manage this policy.

The administrative burden of enabling this policy setting can be very high, especially if you also set the Retention method for security log to Do not overwrite events (clear log manually). This setting turns a repudiation threat (a backup operator could deny that they backed up or restored data) into a denial-of-service threat, because a server can be forced to shut down if it is overwhelmed with logon events and other security events that are written to the security log. Additionally, because the shutdown is not graceful, it is possible that irreparable damage to the operating system, applications, or data could result. Although the NTFS file system will guarantee that the file system's integrity will be maintained during a sudden system shutdown, it cannot guarantee that every data file for every application will still be in a usable form when the system is restarted.

None. Changes to this policy become effective without a computer restart when they are saved locally or distributed through Group Policy.

Modifying this setting may affect compatibility with clients, services, and applications.

This section describes how an attacker might exploit a feature or its configuration, how to implement the countermeasure, and the possible negative consequences of countermeasure implementation.

If the computer is unable to record events to the Security log, critical evidence or important troubleshooting information may not be available for review after a security incident. Also, an attacker could potentially generate a large volume of Security log events to purposely force a computer shutdown.

Enable the Audit: Shut down system immediately if unable to log security audits setting to ensure that security auditing information is captured for review.

If you enable this policy setting, the administrative burden can be significant, especially if you also configure the Retention method for the Security log to Do not overwrite events (clear log manually). This configuration causes a repudiation threat (a backup operator could deny that they backed up or restored data) to become a denial of service (DoS) vulnerability because a server could be forced to shut down if it is overwhelmed with logon events and other security events that are written to the Security log. Also, because the shutdown is abrupt, it is possible that irreparable damage to the operating system, applications, or data could result. Although the NTFS file system maintains its integrity when this type of computer shutdown occurs, there is no guarantee that every data file for every application will still be in a usable form when the computer restarts.

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