Computer science log, what are they?


  • log
  • log management

Computer science log, what are they?

In computer science, a log refers to a sequential and chronological record of operations performed by a computer system. Logs can originate from various sources such as a server, application, client, or software. They are stored in specific files called log files and form the basis of log management systems and SIEM (Security Information and Event Management) solutions.

Logs are designed to track operations, and in case of malfunctions or cyber attacks, they can help identify the cause or responsible party. They serve as an audit trail and can be analyzed to understand the sequence of events leading up to an issue or security incident.

To clarify any ambiguity, it’s important to note that the term “log” has different meanings in other contexts. In online searches, “log” can refer to a wooden trunk, logistics, or logarithm in mathematics. Therefore, it’s crucial to pay attention to the specific context when seeking information online.

What are the types of logs?

Logs can come in various types, including:

  1. Authentication, Recognition, and Access Logs: These logs record user access to a system, often referred to as login or logon events. They are stored in a dedicated file and can be analyzed to detect anomalies and identify issues related to user access.
  2. System Logs: Network servers record significant events occurring between the system and its clients using the operating system’s logging mechanism. For example, they can record the start and end of each service and any conditions that deviate from the norm.
  3. Database Logs: Database management systems (DBMS) record operations performed on the database, such as record insertion, updates, and deletions. These logs can also capture other types of information depending on the system configuration.
  4. Security Logs: Complex computer systems or systems designed to handle sensitive data often maintain logs of critical operations to ensure data integrity and monitor access attempts.
  5. Application Logs: Many applications generate their own logs, which record application-specific events and can serve as a protocol for tracking input and output.

What are logs used for?

Logs serve various purposes, including:

  • Infrastructure analysis and health assessment: By analyzing the errors logged, it is possible to identify and troubleshoot issues within the system.
  • Analysis of repeated failed access attempts: Logs can help detect patterns indicative of potential attacks.
  • Correlation and prediction of attacks in SIEM: Security information and event management systems utilize logs to correlate data and predict potential security breaches.
  • Production of operational and performance statistics.
  • Restoration of previous system states.
  • Tracking changes made to a database.
  • Tracking changes made to files and folders.
  • Analysis of operations performed and identification of responsible parties, often crucial for compliance with regulations.