Pf logging

In my previous post, PF for me PF for you, I went over how to utilize PF in your environment. One thing that I did not discuss was logging with PF. When PF is enabled, it does not log any of the pass in or blocks for the system. You can obtain the statistics on how well your firewall rules are performing by utilizing the following command:

pfctl -s info

Here is an example of the output:

Output of pfctl -s info. Giving you a listing of how effective is your firewall ruleset. 

But, let's say you wanted to collect more data to output to your log aggregator or just to the internal syslog to investigate;  how would you set this up?  Essentially, we want to create a text file  of traffic, things we block, or things we allow in - otherwise, we are flying blind. There are a few steps to set up logging on the system. (I have included the steps for set up on my Github as well.)

First, enable the syslogging of local2:

echo -e "# gather PF log data\nlocal2.*\t\t\t/private/var/log/pf.log" >> /etc/syslog.conf

Next, create the actual log file and change the permissions on the file:

touch /private/var/log/pf.log
chmod 640 /private/var/log/pf.log 
chown root:wheel /private/var/log/pf.log
killall -HUP syslogd

Next, set up a tcpdump from /dev/pflog0 to syslog:

cat >/usr/local/bin/ <<END
/sbin/ifconfig pflog0 create
/usr/sbin/tcpdump -lnettti pflog0 | /usr/bin/logger -t pf -p

Then, change permissions on the the tcpdump logging:

chown root:wheel /usr/local/bin/
chmod 555 /usr/local/bin/

Next, create a launch daemon that will ensure pf is started at boot and is running:

cat >/Library/LaunchDaemons/name of.plist <

<key>Label</key>                <string>pflog</string>        <key>ProgramArguments</key>
    <key>Disabled</key>             <false/>
    <key>RunAtLoad</key>            <true/>
    <key>KeepAlive</key>            <true/>


Change Permissions:

chown root:wheel /Library/LaunchDaemons/nameof.plist
chmod 444 /Library/LaunchDaemons/nameof.plist

Finally, this step switches the pfctl launch Daemon to start fully rather than enabled on demand.  Add in the -e option into the ProgramArguments array inside of /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/



Once all of this is in place then check to see if pf is running:

launchctl list | grep pf

Load the pf log plist:

launchctl load -w /Library/LaunchDaemons/nameof.plist

Then, check to ensure that pf log is now running:

launchctl list | grep pf