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In today's episode, I talk about how the level of Windows server/client logging out of the box is...not really awesome. I then look at how we can create a GPO that turns logging "up to 11" using some free tools and cheat sheets.
If you want to simulate this in your own lab by building out an Active Directory environment, check out part 1 of a Webinar series we've been working on called DIY $500 Pentest Lab, which helps you select hardware/software components you need to build a lab. Then coming up soon is part 2 where we'll build out a Windows 2012 server, promote it to a DC, join a couple clients to it, and prepare to start hacking!
Once your AD and clients are setup, you can start slurping up their logs for free using a Papertrailapp account (not a sponsor). I went ahead and paid for a $7/mo plan so I could get 1GB of storage and a little longer log retention.
Then, I used LOG-MD to audit a Windows workstation and get some great recommendations on what registry settings and security policy tweaks to make. Finally, I started turning this into a GPO so I could begin pushing out these settings en masse. My living/breathing document to capture all this information is in a new gist that I plopped here.