19.3. Procedure – Creating reports from audit trail content


PSM can index the contents of audit trails using its own indexer service or external indexers. Indexing extracts the text from the audit trails and segments it to tokens. A token is a segment of the text that does not contain whitespace: for example words, dates (2009-03-14), MAC or IP addresses, and so on. The indexer returns the extracted tokens to PSM, which builds a comprehensive index from the tokens of the processed audit trails.

Once indexed, the contents of the audit trails can be searched from the web interface. PSM can extract the commands typed and the texts seen by the user in terminal sessions, and text from graphical protocols like RDP, Citrix ICA, and VNC. Window titles are also detected.

PSM has an internal indexer, which runs on the PSM appliance. In addition to the internal indexer, external indexers can run on Linux hosts.

Processing and indexing audit trails requires significant computing resources. If you have to audit lots of connections, or have a large number of custom reports configured, consider using an external indexer to decrease the load on PSM. For sizing recommendations, ask your Balabit partner or contact the Balabit Support Team.

PSM also creates statistics of the occurrences of the search keywords, as well as screenshots from the audit trail. These statistics and screenshots can be included in custom reports as subchapters.

  • The screenshot generated from the search results contains the first occurrence of the search keywords. If your search keywords are visible in the audit trail for a longer period, it is possible that the first occurrence is not the most relevant.

  • For technical reasons, trail data in terminal connections (SSH and Telnet) is aggregated for each second. The screenshot generated for the report reflects the terminal buffer, as it was visible at the end of that second. If data that contains the search keyword was pushed off-screen during this second, the search still finds it, but it will not be visible on the generated screenshot. Similarly, if you search for multiple keywords, it is possible that you will receive results that do not contain every keyword on the same screen (but they were separately visible within the one-second interval).

To configure PSM to create reports from the contents of audit trails, complete the following steps.


Only audit trails created after the content subchapter has been configured will be processed. It is not possible to create reports from already existing audit trails.

Prerequisites for the indexer service: 

If you are indexing the audit trails with the indexer service, make sure to enable indexing for the connections you want to include in the report. Otherwise, reporting on audit trail content will not work. For details, see Procedure 15.1, Configuring the internal indexer.


  1. Login to the PSM web interface, and navigate to Reports > Content subchapters.

    Figure 19.4. Reports > Content subchapters — Configuring audit-trail reports

    Reports > Content subchapters — Configuring audit-trail reports
  2. Click and enter a name for the subchapter.

  3. Enter the search keywords (or parts of the words) into the Search word(s) field. Note the following points.

    • Your search expression must be shorter than 255 characters.

    • The search is not case sensitive.

    • Wildcards and regular expressions are not supported.

    • To search for an exact phrase or expression, enclose the keywords in double quotes, for example "program files".

  4. Configure filters to select the audit trails to index. The following filters are available:

    • Protocol: Process only audit trails of the specified traffic type (for example SSH).

    • Connection: Process only audit trails of the specified connection policy.

    • Channel policy: Process only audit trails of the specified channel policy.

    • Username: Process only audit trails where the specified username was used in the connection. Available only for protocols where the username is known (for example SSH).

    • Source: Process only audit trails where the specified client IP address or port was used.

    • Server: Process only audit trails where the specified server IP address or port was used.


    If you do not configure any filters, every available audit trail will be processed. Audit trails are created only for channels where the Audit option is enabled for the particular channel in the channel policy.

  5. Click .

  6. Navigate to Reporting > Configuration, and add the new subchapter to an existing report, or create a new report. Subchapters created from searching the contents of audit trails are listed under Misc. For details, see Procedure 19.2, Configuring custom reports.

    Figure 19.5. Reporting > Configuration > Add Subchapter — Adding subchapters to reports

    Reporting > Configuration > Add Subchapter — Adding subchapters to reports