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Apache Module mod_log_forensic

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Description:Forensic Logging of the requests made to the server
Module Identifier:log_forensic_module
Source File:mod_log_forensic.c
Compatibility:Available in version 2.0.50 and later


This module provides for forensic logging of client requests. Logging is done before and after processing a request, so the forensic log contains two log lines for each request. The forensic logger is very strict, which means:

The check_forensic script, which can be found in the distribution's support directory, may be helpful in evaluating the forensic log output.

This module was backported from version 2.1 which uses a more powerful APR version in order to generate the forensic IDs. If you want to run mod_log_forensic in version 2.0, you need to include mod_unique_id as well.



See also


Forensic Log Format

Each request is logged two times. The first time is before it's processed further (that is, after receiving the headers). The second log entry is written after the request processing at the same time where normal logging occurs.

In order to identify each request, a unique request ID is assigned. This forensic ID can be cross logged in the normal transfer log using the %{forensic-id}n format string. If you're using mod_unique_id, its generated ID will be used.

The first line logs the forensic ID, the request line and all received headers, separated by pipe characters (|). A sample line looks like the following (all on one line):

+yQtJf8CoAB4AAFNXBIEAAAAA|GET /manual/de/images/down.gif HTTP/1.1|Host:localhost%3a8080|User-Agent:Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv%3a1.6) Gecko/20040216 Firefox/0.8|Accept:image/png, etc...

The plus character at the beginning indicates that this is the first log line of this request. The second line just contains a minus character and the ID again:


The check_forensic script takes as its argument the name of the logfile. It looks for those +/- ID pairs and complains if a request was not completed.


Security Considerations

See the security tips document for details on why your security could be compromised if the directory where logfiles are stored is writable by anyone other than the user that starts the server.


ForensicLog Directive

Description:Sets filename of the forensic log
Syntax:ForensicLog filename|pipe
Context:server config, virtual host

The ForensicLog directive is used to log requests to the server for forensic analysis. Each log entry is assigned a unique ID which can be associated with the request using the normal CustomLog directive. mod_log_forensic takes the unique ID from mod_unique_id, so you need to load this module as well. (This requirement will not be necessary in version 2.1 and later, because of a more powerful APR version.) The ID token is attached to the request under the name forensic-id, which can be added to the transfer log using the %{forensic-id}n format string.

The argument, which specifies the location to which the logs will be written, can take one of the following two types of values:

A filename, relative to the ServerRoot.
The pipe character "|", followed by the path to a program to receive the log information on its standard input. The program name can be specified relative to the ServerRoot directive.


If a program is used, then it will be run as the user who started httpd. This will be root if the server was started by root; be sure that the program is secure or switches to a less privileged user.


When entering a file path on non-Unix platforms, care should be taken to make sure that only forward slashed are used even though the platform may allow the use of back slashes. In general it is a good idea to always use forward slashes throughout the configuration files.

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