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Enable System Updates Monitoring

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Risk level: Medium (should be achieved)
Rule ID: SecurityCenter-003

Ensure that system updates monitoring is enabled within your Azure cloud account in order to be notified about the security and critical updates released from Microsoft Windows Update or Microsoft Windows Server Update service.

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

Security

When this setting is enabled, it retrieves a daily list of available security and critical updates from Microsoft Windows Update/Microsoft Windows Server Update. The security updates on this list depend on the service configured for that specific Azure virtual machine (VM) and recommends via notifications that the missing updates be applied as soon as possible. This is to ensure that the virtual machine's operating system is running the most recent security updates provided by the software vendor. For Unix/Linux systems, the feature uses the distro-provided package management system to determine packages that have available updates.

Audit

To determine if "Monitor System Updates" feature is enabled, perform the following actions:

Using Azure Console

01 Sign in to Azure Management Console.

02 Navigate to Azure Security Center blade at https://portal.azure.com/#blade/Microsoft_Azure_Security/SecurityMenuBlade/.

03 In the navigation panel, choose Security policy to access Policy Management portal.

04 On the Policy Management page, click on the name of the subscription that you want to examine to access the selected subscription configuration settings.

05 On the Security Policy page, in the Compute and Apps category, check the System updates should be installed on your machines setting status. If the configuration setting status is set to Disabled, the system updates recommendations are not enabled for the Microsoft Azure virtual machines (VMs) provisioned within the current subscription.

06 Repeat step no. 4 and 5 for each Microsoft Azure subscription available in your account.

Using Azure CLI and PowerShell

01 Run account get-access-token command (Windows/macOS/Linux) using custom query filters to get the "Monitor System Updates" feature status for the current Azure account subscription:

az account get-access-token
	--query "{subscription:subscription,accessToken:accessToken}"
	--out tsv | xargs -L1 bash -c 'curl -X GET -H "Authorization: Bearer $1" -H "Content-Type: application/json" https://management.azure.com/subscriptions/$0/providers/Microsoft.Authorization/policyAssignments/SecurityCenterBuiltIn?api-version=2018-05-01' | jq 'select(.name=="SecurityCenterBuiltIn")'|jq '.properties.parameters.systemUpdatesMonitoringEffect.value'

02 The command output should return the requested feature configuration status:

"Disabled"

If the command output returns "Disabled", as shown in the example above, the system updates monitoring and recommendations are not enabled for the Azure virtual machines (VMs) available in the selected subscription.

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

Remediation / Resolution

To enable system updates recommendations for your Microsoft Azure virtual machines (VMs), perform the following actions:

Using Azure Console

01 Sign in to Azure Management Console.

02 Navigate to Azure Security Center blade at https://portal.azure.com/#blade/Microsoft_Azure_Security/SecurityMenuBlade/.

03 In the navigation panel, choose Security policy to access Policy Management portal.

04 On the Policy Management page, click on the name of the subscription that you want to reconfigure to access the subscription configuration settings.

05 On the Security Policy page, click on the ASC Default (subscription: abcdabcd-1234-1234-1234-abcdabcdabcd) policy assignment to edit the policy configuration.

06 On the selected policy assignment page, in the PARAMETERS section, select AuditIfNotExists from Monitor system updates dropdown list to enable the system updates monitoring for the Microsoft Azure virtual machines available in the selected Azure subscription.

07 Click Save to apply the changes. If successful, the following message should be displayed: "Updating policy assignment succeeded". Once the configuration changes are saved, your Azure subscription will receive system updates recommendations for all the provisioned VMs.

08 If required, repeat steps no. 4 – 7 for other Microsoft Azure cloud subscription available.

Using Azure CLI and PowerShell

01 Define the necessary parameters for the account get-access-token command, where the systemUpdatesMonitoringEffect configuration parameter is enabled. Save the following content to a JSON file named enable-system-updates-monitoring.json and replace the highlighted details, i.e. <azure-subscription-id> and <policy-definition-id>, with your own Azure account details:

{
   "properties":{
      "displayName":"ASC Default (subscription: <azure-subscription-id>)",
      "policyDefinitionId":"/providers/Microsoft.Authorization/policySetDefinitions/<policy-definition-id>",
      "scope":"/subscriptions/<azure-subscription-id>",
      "parameters":{
         "systemUpdatesMonitoringEffect":{
            "value":"AuditIfNotExists"
         }
      }
   },
   "id":"/subscriptions/<azure-subscription-id>/providers/Microsoft.Authorization/policyAssignments/SecurityCenterBuiltIn",
   "type":"Microsoft.Authorization/policyAssignments",
   "name":"SecurityCenterBuiltIn",
   "location":"eastus"
}

02 Run account get-access-token command (Windows/macOS/Linux) using the parameters defined at the previous step (i.e. enable-system-updates-monitoring.json file) to enable the system updates monitoring for the Microsoft Azure virtual machines available in the selected Azure subscription (the command request does not produce an output):

az account get-access-token
	--query "{subscription:subscription,accessToken:accessToken}"
	--out tsv | xargs -L1 bash -c 'curl -X PUT -H "Authorization: Bearer $1" -H "Content-Type: application/json" https://management.azure.com/subscriptions/$0/providers/Microsoft.Authorization/policyAssignments/SecurityCenterBuiltIn?api-version=2018-05-01 -d@"enable-system-updates-monitoring.json"'

03 If successful, the command output should return the updated Azure Security Center policy (truncated):

{
   "sku":{
      "name":"A0",
      "tier":"Free"
   },
   "properties":{
      "displayName":"ASC Default (subscription: abcdabcd-1234-1234-1234-abcdabcdabcd)",
      "scope":"/subscriptions/abcdabcd-1234-1234-1234-abcdabcdabcd",

      ...

      "description":"This is the default set of policies monitored by Azure Security Center. It was automatically assigned as part of on-boarding to Security Center. The default assignment contains only audit policies. For more information please visit https://aka.ms/ascpolicies",
   },
   "id":"/subscriptions/abcdabcd-1234-1234-1234-abcdabcdabcd/providers/Microsoft.Authorization/policyAssignments/SecurityCenterBuiltIn",
   "type":"Microsoft.Authorization/policyAssignments",
   "name":"SecurityCenterBuiltIn",
   "location":"eastus"
}

04 If required, repeat steps no. 1 – 3 for other Microsoft Azure cloud subscription available.

References

Publication date May 21, 2019

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You are auditing:

Enable System Updates Monitoring

Risk level: Medium