Set LogLevel to INFO

Description

The INFO parameter specifices that record login and logout activity will be logged.

The default SSH configuration sets the log level to INFO. The appropriate configuration is used if no value is set for LogLevel.

To explicitly specify the log level in SSH, add or correct the following line in

/etc/ssh/sshd_config:

LogLevel INFO

Rationale

SSH provides several logging levels with varying amounts of verbosity. DEBUG is specifically not recommended other than strictly for debugging SSH communications since it provides so much data that it is difficult to identify important security information. INFO level is the basic level that only records login activity of SSH users. In many situations, such as Incident Response, it is important to determine when a particular user was active on a system. The logout record can eliminate those users who disconnected, which helps narrow the field.

Remediation

Shell script

The following script can be run on the host to remediate the issue.

#!/bin/bash

# Remediation is applicable only in certain platforms
if [ ! -f /.dockerenv ] && [ ! -f /run/.containerenv ]; then

if [ -e "/etc/ssh/sshd_config" ] ; then
    
    LC_ALL=C sed -i "/^\s*LogLevel\s\+/Id" "/etc/ssh/sshd_config"
else
    touch "/etc/ssh/sshd_config"
fi
# make sure file has newline at the end
sed -i -e '$a\' "/etc/ssh/sshd_config"

cp "/etc/ssh/sshd_config" "/etc/ssh/sshd_config.bak"
# Insert at the beginning of the file
printf '%s\n' "LogLevel INFO" > "/etc/ssh/sshd_config"
cat "/etc/ssh/sshd_config.bak" >> "/etc/ssh/sshd_config"
# Clean up after ourselves.
rm "/etc/ssh/sshd_config.bak"

else
    >&2 echo 'Remediation is not applicable, nothing was done'
fi

Ansible playbook

The following playbook can be run with Ansible to remediate the issue.

- name: Set LogLevel to INFO
  block:

  - name: Check for duplicate values
    lineinfile:
      path: /etc/ssh/sshd_config
      create: true
      regexp: (?i)^\s*LogLevel\s+
      state: absent
    check_mode: true
    changed_when: false
    register: dupes

  - name: Deduplicate values from /etc/ssh/sshd_config
    lineinfile:
      path: /etc/ssh/sshd_config
      create: true
      regexp: (?i)^\s*LogLevel\s+
      state: absent
    when: dupes.found is defined and dupes.found > 1

  - name: Insert correct line to /etc/ssh/sshd_config
    lineinfile:
      path: /etc/ssh/sshd_config
      create: true
      regexp: (?i)^\s*LogLevel\s+
      line: LogLevel INFO
      state: present
      insertbefore: BOF
      validate: /usr/sbin/sshd -t -f %s
  when: ansible_virtualization_type not in ["docker", "lxc", "openvz", "podman", "container"]
  tags:
  - NIST-800-53-AC-17(a)
  - NIST-800-53-CM-6(a)
  - low_complexity
  - low_disruption
  - low_severity
  - no_reboot_needed
  - restrict_strategy
  - sshd_set_loglevel_info