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Create Alert for "Create or Update Virtual Machine" Events

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Last updated: 12 August 2020
Risk level: High (not acceptable risk)
Rule ID: ActivityLog-011

Ensure that an Azure activity log alert is fired whenever "Create Virtual Machine" or "Update Virtual Machine" events are triggered in your Microsoft Azure cloud account. Activity log alerts get triggered when a new activity log event that matches the condition specified in the alert configuration occurs. For this conformity rule, the matched condition is `Whenever the Administrative Activity Log "Create or Update Virtual Machine (Microsoft.Compute/virtualMachines)" has "any" Event level, with "any" Status and Event initiated by "any"`

This rule resolution is part of the Cloud Conformity Security & Compliance tool for Azure

Security

Monitoring your Microsoft Azure account for "Create or Update Virtual Machine" events can give you insights into the changes made within your cloud environment regarding Azure virtual machines (VMs) and can help reduce the time it takes to detect unauthorized activity.

Audit

To determine if there are any activity log alerts created for "Create or Update Virtual Machine" events in your Microsoft Azure cloud account, perform the following actions:

Using Azure Portal

01 Sign in to Azure Management Console.

02 Navigate to Azure Monitor blade at https://portal.azure.com/#blade/Microsoft_Azure_Monitoring/AzureMonitoringBrowseBlade/overview.

03 In the navigation panel, select Alerts to access all the alerts available in your cloud account.

04 On the Alerts page, click on the Manage alert rules button from the dashboard top menu to access the alert rules management page.

05 On the Rules page, select the subscription that you want to examine from the Subscription filter box and the Enabled option from the Status dropdown list, to return all the active alert rules created in the selected subscription.

06 Click on the name of the alert rule that you want to examine.

07 On the selected alert rule configuration page, check the condition phrase available in the CONDITION section. If the phrase is different than Whenever the Administrative Activity Log "Create or Update Virtual Machine (Microsoft.Compute/virtualMachines)" has "any" level, with "any" status and event is initiated by "any", the selected alert rule is not designed to fire whenever "Create Virtual Machine" or "Update Virtual Machine" events are triggered.

08 Repeat step no. 6 and 7 for the rest of the alert rules available within the selected account subscription. If none of the verified rules contain the right condition, there are no activity log alerts available for "Create or Update Virtual Machine" events in the selected Microsoft Azure cloud account subscription.

09 Repeat steps no. 5 – 8 for each subscription created in your Microsoft Azure cloud account.

Using Azure CLI

01 Run monitor activity-log alert list command (Windows/macOS/Linux) using custom query filters to get the IDs of the active activity log alert rules available in the current Azure subscription:

az monitor activity-log alert list
    --query '[?(enabled==`true`)].id'

02 The command output should return the requested activity log alert rule IDs:

[
"/subscriptions/1234abcd-1234-abcd-1234-abcd1234abcd/resourceGroups/cloud-shell-storage-westeurope/providers/microsoft.insights/activityLogAlerts/cc-create-security-groups-alert",
"/subscriptions/1234abcd-1234-abcd-1234-abcd1234abcd/resourceGroups/cloud-shell-storage-westeurope/providers/microsoft.insights/activityLogAlerts/cc-delete-key-vault-alert"
]

03 Run monitor activity-log alert show command (Windows/macOS/Linux) using the ID of the alert rule that you want to examine as identifier parameter and custom query filters to list the condition(s) defined for the selected activity log alert rule:

az monitor activity-log alert show
    --ids "/subscriptions/1234abcd-1234-abcd-1234-abcd1234abcd/resourceGroups/cloud-shell-storage-westeurope/providers/microsoft.insights/activityLogAlerts/cc-create-security-groups-alert"
    --query 'condition'

04 The command output should return the condition metadata for the selected alert rule:

{
  "allOf": [
    {
      "containsAny": null,
      "equals": "Administrative",
      "field": "category",
      "odata.type": null
    },
    {
      "containsAny": null,
      "equals": "Microsoft.Network/networkSecurityGroups/write",
      "field": "operationName",
      "odata.type": null
    }
  ],
  "odata.type": null
}

Check the monitor activity-log alert show command output for a JSON object with the "field" property set to "operationName" (highlighted). If the object's "equals" property is not set to "Microsoft.Compute/virtualMachines/write", the selected activity log alert rule is not designed to fire whenever "Create or Update Virtual Machine" events get triggered.

05 Repeat step no. 3 and 4 for the rest of the alert rules available in the current subscription. If none of the verified rules contain the right condition, there are no activity log alerts available for "Create Virtual Machine" or "Update Virtual Machine" events within the selected Azure account subscription.

06 Repeat steps no. 1 – 5 for each subscription available in your Microsoft Azure cloud account.

Remediation / Resolution

To create a Microsoft Azure activity log alert for "Create or Update Virtual Machine (Microsoft.Compute/virtualMachines)" events, perform the following actions:

Using Azure Portal

01 Sign in to Azure Management Console.

02 Navigate to Azure Monitor blade at https://portal.azure.com/#blade/Microsoft_Azure_Monitoring/AzureMonitoringBrowseBlade/overview.

03 In the navigation panel, select Alerts to access the alerts available in your Azure cloud account.

04 On the Alerts page, click on the Manage alert rules button from the dashboard top menu to access the alert rules management page.

05 On the Rules page, select the Azure account subscription where you want to create the new alert rule, from the Subscription filter box.

06 Click New alert rule button from the dashboard top menu to initiate the alert rule setup process.

07 On the Create rule page, perform the following actions:

  1. In the Scope section, click Select and configure the target subscription that you wish to monitor. Once the appropriate Azure subscription is selected, click Done.
  2. In the Condition section, click Add to configure the alert rule condition (i.e. a signal and its logic). On Configure signal logic panel, find and select the signal with the name Create or Update Virtual Machine (Microsoft.Compute/virtualMachines). To obtain the right configuration for the condition (i.e. Whenever the Administrative Activity Log "Create or Update Virtual Machine (Microsoft.Compute/virtualMachines)" has "any" level, with "any" status and event is initiated by "any"), leave the default settings available for the selected signal unchanged, then click Done to generate the rule condition.
  3. In the Action group section, click Select action group to choose an existing action group to attach to the new alert rule or click Create action group button to create a new one. An action group is a collection of alert notification preferences defined for the selected Azure subscription. Azure Monitor service utilizes action groups to notify admin users when VM-based alerts are triggered.
  4. In the Alert rule details section, provide a unique name for the new rule in the Alert rule name box, type a short description in the Description box, and choose the resource group in which the new alert will be created, from the Save alert to resource group dropdown list.
  5. Make sure that Enable alert rule upon creation option is set to checked, then click Create alert rule to finish the rule setup process. It can take up to 5 minutes for an alert rule to become active.

08 Repeat steps no. 5 – 7 for each subscription created in your Microsoft Azure cloud account.

Using Azure CLI

01 Run monitor activity-log alert create command (Windows/macOS/Linux) to create a new Azure activity log alert that fires whenever a "Create or Update Virtual Machine" event is triggered in the current Azure cloud subscription:

az monitor activity-log alert create
    --name cc-create-update-vm-alert
    --description "Alert triggered by Create or Update Virtual Machine events"
    --resource-group Default-ActivityLogAlerts
    --action-group "/subscriptions/1234abcd-1234-abcd-1234-abcd1234abcd/resourcegroups/default-activitylogalerts/providers/microsoft.insights/actiongroups/cloudconformity%20action%20group"
    --condition category=Administrative and operationName=Microsoft.Compute/virtualMachines/write

02 The command output should return the configuration metadata for the new activity log alert:

{
  "actions": {
    "actionGroups": [
      {
        "actionGroupId": "/subscriptions/1234abcd-1234-abcd-1234-abcd1234abcd/resourcegroups/default-activitylogalerts/providers/microsoft.insights/actiongroups/cloudconformity%20action%20group",
        "webhookProperties": null
      }
    ]
  },
  "condition": {
    "allOf": [
      {
        "containsAny": null,
        "equals": "Administrative",
        "field": "category",
        "odata.type": null
      },
      {
        "containsAny": null,
        "equals": "Microsoft.Compute/virtualMachines/write",
        "field": "operationName",
        "odata.type": null
      }
    ],
    "odata.type": null
  },
  "description": "Alert triggered by Create or Update Virtual Machine events",
  "enabled": true,
  "id": "/subscriptions/1234abcd-1234-abcd-1234-abcd1234abcd/resourceGroups/Default-ActivityLogAlerts/providers/microsoft.insights/activityLogAlerts/cc-create-update-vm-alert",
  "identity": null,
  "kind": null,
  "location": "Global",
  "name": "cc-create-update-vm-alert",
  "resourceGroup": "Default-ActivityLogAlerts",
  "scopes": [
    "/subscriptions/1234abcd-1234-abcd-1234-abcd1234abcd/resourceGroups/Default-ActivityLogAlerts"
  ],
  "tags": {},
  "type": "Microsoft.Insights/ActivityLogAlerts"
}

03 Repeat step no. 1 and 2 for each subscription created in your Microsoft Azure cloud account.

References

Publication date Nov 28, 2019

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Create Alert for "Create or Update Virtual Machine" Events

Risk level: High