[geeklog-devel] access.log

Dirk Haun dirk at haun-online.de
Fri Jan 16 18:08:52 EST 2004

I'd like to propose that we re-think the use of the access.log file.
Currently, it is pretty much useless (open yours and see for yourself),
as all it lists are session ids and date stamps about someone logging
out. Since the session id has been gone from the gl_sessions table by
then, this information doesn't really help with anything.

Now, I don't want us to log when people are logging in and out, as there
is no reason to collect that information (and especially not in a file).
Geeklog currently stores the last time someone logged in, for the
legitimate reason of trying to keep track if an account is (still) in use.

(On a side note, I'd like to see some "housekeeping" tools being
developed as addon-ons making use of that information, e.g. to weed out
unused accounts after some time.)

Back to access.log: When trying to access one of the admin pages without
being an admin, you are told that this attempt had been logged. However,
in almost all cases, it hasn't - I've only recently added this to CVS,
after someone pointed it out in the forums.

Since the error.log tends to be clogged with lots of messages, it would
be hard to find any access violations in all that noise. So I'd suggest
we use the access.log for that instead.

To save on code, COM_accessLog could be extended to automatically log the
IP, user id (and name?) of the user that caused the violation in addtion
to the time stamp it's already adding automatically.

So what should be logged?

- Any attempts at accessing the admin pages without proper authentication
  (just what we already claim we're logging)
- Attempts at doing something the user doesn't have proper permissions
to, e.g.
  trying to access a story without the proper permissions, or an
  admin doing something they are not allowed to do (e.g. a Group Admin
  trying to edit the Root group).
- Failed login attempts, to see if someone is trying to hack accounts
- anything else?

What I want to avoid, though, is to collect too much (detailed)
information or to give users the impression that they are being spied on.


bye, Dirk


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