Some security incidents are best detected by a sequence of logs originating from different products, i.e. log types.

For example: an email attachment followed by a malware infection. In this example, the first event is detected by an email security product and the second event is detected by an endpoint security product. In this case 2 separate events can be defined using a correlated rule.

Correlated events are instrumental for reducing false-positives. By defining a more specific use case that contains 2 scenarios, the trigger can be more sensitive and reduce unwanted noise.

Configuring a correlated rule

To correlate events, we need to configure 2 search queries, each with its own trigger condition. For the rule to trigger, both conditions must be satisfied.

If you opt to join the queries, you must also select aggregation criteria and fields to join. When the queries are joined, the values of the join fields must match for the rule to trigger.

This tutorial assumes you are familiar with the process of configuring a single-query rule. It explains what’s different when correlating queries.

  1. Name the rule
  2. Add another query
  3. Query 1 & Query 2
  4. Joining the queries (optional)
  5. Trigger conditions
  6. Notification description
  7. Configure output per query
  8. Save it!
  9. Investigating correlated rules
Name the rule

The name should convey the significance of the combined event for both queries together.

For example, “Brute-force attack from malicious address followed by malware download”.

Add another query

Click + Add another query to add the option to correlate queries.

Add another query

Query 1 & Query 2

The form now has 2 sections: Query 1 & Query 2.

There is no significance to their order. If Query 1 and Query 2 are interchanged, the results will be the same.

The following criteria are similar for both the single-query and multi-query rule:

  • Fill in the free search and filtering criteria as usual.
  • If you are only using filters, leave a wildcard asterisk (*) in the free search box.
  • You have the option to aggregate results for as many as 3 fields. Select group by fields from the dropdown list.
  • Select the Accounts to search.
  • You can preview the results in Kibana Discover for each query independently. Click Preview in Kibana to open the results for the past 24 hours in another tab.
  • If you change your mind, you can delete either of the queries. Click X Delete query to return to a single-query form.

empty alert form with 2 queries

Joining the queries (optional)

If you opt to join the queries, you must first add group by fields that will aggregate results by values. When the queries are joined, the values of the join fields must match for the rule to trigger.

  • First, select the group by fields for each of the queries.
    • You can select as many as 3 fields.
    • The number of group by fields can differ between the queries.
  • Group by fields provide criteria for count aggregations.

    As a result, the rule will count the query results returned per value of the group by field. This allows you to join the results by searching for overlapping values that are the same for the join field pairs.

  • Select the join pairs you want to enable. You can enable as many as 3 pairs.

    Available join options are automatically determined by the order of your group by fields. The suggestions are ordered pairs of the group by fields.

    You do not have to join all of the group by fields, and the queries can have a different number of group by fields.

rule with 2 queries

When joined, the rule looks for values that are common to the field pairs selected for joining the queries. This means the rule will only trigger if it finds matching values for the join field pairs.

Add a group by field function for both queries

Joined fields are indicated by the link icon .

When the rule triggers, the event log will specify the matching values that triggered the rule in the field logzio-alert-join-values.

For example, if we enable 2 joins: by the fields hostname and then IP address, the field logzio-alert-join-values will contain comma-separated pairs, such as Host1, 247.23.11.58, Host2, 44.76.131.4.

Trigger conditions

When the rule has 2 queries, you can set a single condition for each of your queries, and a single severity.

As usual, each query can take a different condition for a field of your choice.

Conditions and severity for correlated rule

The rule conditions are evaluated over regular intervals. The time frame for evaluating the conditions is the same for both queries. It can range between a minimum of 5 minutes and a maximum of 24 hours/1 day.

Notification description

It’s a good idea to add a description that works for both queries and what they capture together. As usual, best practice is to include a playbook that covers the steps needed to investigate and remediate the incident.

Configure output per query

You have the option to send notification sample data in JSON or Table format. Toggle the button to select your preferred format.

Next, select the output fields for each query, as applicable. As usual, if the query has aggregations (or group-by fields) definted, the output will be auto-selected, and the aggregated results will be sent by default. Otherwise, you can select which fields to include. Learn more

Notifications are auto-configured

Save it!

Click Save at the top of the form to save your rule.

Investigating correlated rules

You can view all recently triggered rules from your Summary dashboard.

When a correlated rule triggers, it writes 2 event logs - 1 per query. The event logs will be numbered 1/2 and 2/2, respectively. Each event log will have its own Investigate drilldown link.

Investigate correlated events

The best way to begin investigating a correlated event is to filter for the matching join values to narrow the list. Hover over the field logzio-alert-join-values and click to filter for its value. Then click the Investigate link to dive into the details.