Content Management Systems

This guide explains how to collect logs from Content Management Systems using NXLog. Most popular Content Management Systems (CMS) use a MySQL database to store content, and in many cases, audit logs as well. Some logging is external to the CMS, such as the access and error logs that web servers like Nginx or Apache generate while serving the content and handling client requests (see how to collect Nginx logs or Apache logs using NXLog). Audit log data, or any type of logs, can be retrieved from a CMS database and processed with NXLog using the im_odbc module.

The primary focus of this guide is on collecting audit logs. However, the principles presented here can be applied to other CMS systems and log types.

Database location and structure

Each CMS presented here has a built-in logging feature that stores logs in its database. This guide covers the audit logging capabilities of three commonly used CMS systems: WordPress, PrestaShop, and Drupal.

WordPress

WordPress contains an activity log plugin called WP Activity Log, which is installed separately. It logs user behavior patterns for easy troubleshooting if suspicious activity is detected. From the admin dashboard, the Log Viewer option under the plugin name shows all events by retrieving event IDs and metadata from the database.

The plugin creates two tables in the WordPress database that store the audit log:

  • wp_wsal_metadata

  • wp_wsal_occurrences

Table 1. wp_wsal_metadata table structure
Column Type Description

id

INTEGER

Primary Key - a unique ID assigned to every row in the table

occurence_id

INTEGER

The ID that correlates the metadata in this table to the alert ID stored in the wp_wsal_occurrences table

name

LONGVARCHAR

The name of the row that describes the data stored in that row

value

LONGVARCHAR

The actual metadata value, such as post title, URL, etc

Table 2. wp_wsal_occurrences table structure
Column Type Description

id

INTEGER

Primary Key - a unique ID assigned to every row in the table

site_id

INTEGER

The ID of the website in a WordPress multi-site network

alert_id

INTEGER

The ID of the event in the activity log

created_on

INTEGER

The date and time in milliseconds of when the change happened

PrestaShop

PrestaShop has its built-in logging feature accessible from the admin dashboard. To access, click on Advanced Parameters under the Configure tab, then the Logs option. This page shows all the actions performed in the shop.

The ps_log table stores the audit log in the PrestaShop database.

Table 3. ps_log table structure
Column Type Description

id_log

INTEGER

Primary Key - a unique ID assigned to every row in the table

severity

INTEGER

The level of severity between 1-4

message

LONGVARCHAR

The action that the user performed on the site

id_lang

INTEGER

The language ID used

in_all_shops

INTEGER

The shop context used

id_employee

INTEGER

The ID of the employee making the change

date_add

INTEGER

The date and time in milliseconds of when the change happened

date_upd

INTEGER

The date and time in milliseconds of when the change was updated

Drupal

Drupal also has its built-in logging feature accessible from the admin dashboard. To access, click on the Manage tab, navigate to the Reports drop-down option, then select Recent log messages. This page displays all the logged system events.

The watchdog table stores the audit log in the Drupal database.

Table 4. watchdog table structure
Column Type Description

wid

INTEGER

Primary Key - a unique ID assigned to every row in the table

uid

INTEGER

The user ID of the user making the change

type

LONGVARCHAR

The error type

message

LONGVARCHAR

The action that the user performed on the site

severity

INTEGER

The level of severity between 1-8

location

LONGVARCHAR

The URL where that was accessed

hostname

INTEGER

The IP Address of the host accessing the site

timestamp

INTEGER

The date and time in milliseconds of when the change happened

Collecting CMS systems audit logs

Example 1. Collecting WordPress audit logs

This example configuration uses the im_odbc module to read data from the wp_wsal_metadata and wp_wsal_occurences tables. JOINS is used in the SQL query to return one column for every value of wp_wsal_metadata.name.

nxlog.conf
<Extension json>
    Module              xm_json
</Extension>

<Input odbc>
    Module              im_odbc
    # This is the connection string containing the ODBC data source name
    ConnectionString    DSN=wordpress; database=wordpress;
    # This is the SQL statement that the module will execute to query data from the data source
        SQL     SELECT  o.id AS id, \
                        o.alert_id AS AlertID, \
                        FROM_UNIXTIME(o.created_on) AS EventTime, \
                        ma.value   AS Attempts, \
                        mcl.value  AS ClientIP, \
                        mcui.value AS CurrentUserID, \
                        mcur.value AS CurrentUserRoles, \
                        met.value  AS EventType, \
                        mfn.value  AS FirstName, \
                        mln.value  AS LastName, \
                        mli.value  AS Login, \
                        mnr.value  AS NewRole, \
                        mnud.value AS NewUserData, \
                        mnui.value AS NewUserID, \
                        mnv.value  AS NewVersion, \
                        mo.value   AS Object, \
                        mor.value  AS OldRole, \
                        mov.value  AS OldVersion, \
                        mpld.value AS PluginData, \
                        mplf.value AS PluginFile, \
                        mpod.value AS PostDate, \
                        mpoi.value AS PostID, \
                        mpos.value AS PostStatus, \
                        mpti.value AS PostTitle, \
                        mpty.value AS PostType, \
                        mpou.value AS PostUrl, \
                        mr.value   AS roles, \
                        ms.value   AS Severity, \
                        mtui.value AS TargetUserID, \
                        mtun.value AS TargetUsername, \
                        mthm.value AS Theme, \
                        mua.value  AS UserAgent, \
                        muc.value  AS UserChanger, \
                        mun.value  AS Username, \
                        mus.value  AS Users \
                FROM    wp_wsal_occurrences o \
                    LEFT JOIN wp_wsal_metadata ma ON ( \
                            ma.occurrence_id = o.id \
                        AND ma.name = 'Attempts' \
                    )\
                    LEFT JOIN wp_wsal_metadata mcl ON ( \
                            mcl.occurrence_id = o.id \
                        AND mcl.name = 'ClientIP' \
                    )\
                    LEFT JOIN wp_wsal_metadata mcui ON ( \
                            mcui.occurrence_id = o.id \
                        AND mcui.name = 'CurrentUserID' \
                    )\
                    LEFT JOIN wp_wsal_metadata mcur ON ( \
                            mcur.occurrence_id = o.id \
                        AND mcur.name = 'CurrentUserRoles' \
                    )\
                    LEFT JOIN wp_wsal_metadata met ON ( \
                            met.occurrence_id = o.id \
                        AND met.name = 'EventType' \
                    )\
                    LEFT JOIN wp_wsal_metadata mfn ON ( \
                            mfn.occurrence_id = o.id \
                        AND mfn.name = 'firstname' \
                    )\
                    LEFT JOIN wp_wsal_metadata mln ON ( \
                            mln.occurrence_id = o.id \
                        AND mln.name = 'lastname' \
                    )\
                    LEFT JOIN wp_wsal_metadata mli ON ( \
                            mli.occurrence_id = o.id \
                        AND mli.name = 'login' \
                    )\
                    LEFT JOIN wp_wsal_metadata mnr ON ( \
                            mnr.occurrence_id = o.id \
                        AND mnr.name = 'NewRole' \
                    )\
                    LEFT JOIN wp_wsal_metadata mnud ON ( \
                            mnud.occurrence_id = o.id \
                        AND mnud.name = 'NewUserData' \
                    )\
                    LEFT JOIN wp_wsal_metadata mnui ON ( \
                            mnui.occurrence_id = o.id \
                        AND mnui.name = 'NewUserID' \
                    )\
                    LEFT JOIN wp_wsal_metadata mnv ON ( \
                            mnv.occurrence_id = o.id \
                        AND mnv.name = 'NewVersion' \
                    )\
                    LEFT JOIN wp_wsal_metadata mo ON ( \
                            mo.occurrence_id = o.id \
                        AND mo.name = 'Object' \
                    )\
                    LEFT JOIN wp_wsal_metadata mor ON ( \
                            mor.occurrence_id = o.id \
                        AND mor.name = 'OldRole' \
                    )\
                    LEFT JOIN wp_wsal_metadata mov ON ( \
                            mov.occurrence_id = o.id \
                        AND mov.name = 'OldVersion' \
                    )\
                    LEFT JOIN wp_wsal_metadata mpld ON ( \
                            mpld.occurrence_id = o.id \
                        AND mpld.name = 'PluginData' \
                    )\
                    LEFT JOIN wp_wsal_metadata mplf ON ( \
                            mplf.occurrence_id = o.id \
                        AND mplf.name = 'PluginFile' \
                    )\
                    LEFT JOIN wp_wsal_metadata mpod ON ( \
                            mpod.occurrence_id = o.id \
                        AND mpod.name = 'PostDate' \
                    )\
                    LEFT JOIN wp_wsal_metadata mpoi ON ( \
                            mpoi.occurrence_id = o.id \
                        AND mpoi.name = 'PostID' \
                    )\
                    LEFT JOIN wp_wsal_metadata mpos ON ( \
                            mpos.occurrence_id = o.id \
                        AND mpos.name = 'PostStatus' \
                    )\
                    LEFT JOIN wp_wsal_metadata mpti ON ( \
                            mpti.occurrence_id = o.id \
                        AND mpti.name = 'PostTitle' \
                    )\
                    LEFT JOIN wp_wsal_metadata mpty ON ( \
                            mpty.occurrence_id = o.id \
                        AND mpty.name = 'PostType' \
                    )\
                    LEFT JOIN wp_wsal_metadata mpou ON ( \
                            mpou.occurrence_id = o.id \
                        AND mpou.name = 'PostUrl' \
                    )\
                    LEFT JOIN wp_wsal_metadata mr ON ( \
                            mr.occurrence_id = o.id \
                        AND mr.name = 'roles' \
                    )\
                    LEFT JOIN wp_wsal_metadata ms ON ( \
                            ms.occurrence_id = o.id \
                        AND ms.name = 'Severity' \
                    )\
                    LEFT JOIN wp_wsal_metadata mtui ON ( \
                            mtui.occurrence_id = o.id \
                        AND mtui.name = 'TargetUserID' \
                    )\
                    LEFT JOIN wp_wsal_metadata mtun ON ( \
                            mtun.occurrence_id = o.id \
                        AND mtun.name = 'TargetUsername' \
                    )\
                    LEFT JOIN wp_wsal_metadata mthm ON ( \
                            mthm.occurrence_id = o.id \
                        AND mthm.name = 'Theme' \
                    )\
                    LEFT JOIN wp_wsal_metadata mua ON ( \
                            mua.occurrence_id = o.id \
                        AND mua.name = 'UserAgent' \
                    )\
                    LEFT JOIN wp_wsal_metadata muc ON ( \
                            muc.occurrence_id = o.id \
                        AND muc.name = 'UserChanger' \
                    )\
                    LEFT JOIN wp_wsal_metadata mun ON ( \
                            mun.occurrence_id = o.id \
                        AND mun.name = 'Username' \
                    )\
                    LEFT JOIN wp_wsal_metadata mus ON ( \
                            mus.occurrence_id = o.id \
                        AND mus.name = 'Users' \
                    )\
                    WHERE o.id > ?
    <Exec>
        If not defined($FirstName) or $FirstName == '' delete($FirstName);
        to_json();
    </Exec>
</Input>
Output sample
{
  "id": 29,
  "AlertID": 4002,
  "EventTime": "2022-02-02T07:22:18.923007+00:00",
  "Attempts": 1,
  "ClientIP": "192.168.100.28",
  "CurrentUserID": "1",
  "CurrentUserRoles": "a:1:{i:0;s:13:\"administrator\";}",
  "EventType": "modified",
  "LastName": " ",
  "Login": "johndoe",
  "NewRole": "Administrator",
  "NewUserData": null,
  "NewUserID": null,
  "NewVersion": null,
  "Object": "user",
  "OldRole": "Subscriber",
  "OldVersion": null,
  "PluginData": null,
  "PluginFile": null,
  "PostDate": null,
  "PostID": null,
  "PostStatus": null,
  "PostTitle": null,
  "PostType": null,
  "PostUrl": null,
  "roles": null,
  "Severity": "500",
  "TargetUserID": "2",
  "TargetUsername": "johndoe",
  "Theme": null,
  "UserAgent": "Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/97.0.4692.99 Safari/537.36",
  "UserChanger": null,
  "Username": null,
  "Users": null,
  "EventReceivedTime": "2022-02-11T16:00:51.030759+00:00",
  "SourceModuleName": "odbc",
  "SourceModuleType": "im_odbc"
}
Example 2. Collecting PrestaShop audit logs

This example configuration uses the im_odbc module to read data from the ps_log table.

nxlog.conf
<Extension json>
    Module              xm_json
</Extension>

<Input odbc>
    Module              im_odbc
    # This is the connection string containing the ODBC data source name
    ConnectionString    DSN=presta; database=presta;
    # This is the SQL statement that the module will execute to query data from the data source
    SQL                 SELECT id_log AS id, \
                               severity AS SeverityLevel, \
                               message AS ActionTaken, \
                               id_lang AS Language, \
                               in_all_shops AS ShopContext, \
                               id_employee AS EmployeeID, \
                               date_add AS DateAdded , \
                               date_upd AS DateUpdated \
                        FROM   ps_log WHERE id_log > ?
    <Exec>
        rename_field($id, $id_log);
        to_json();
    </Exec>
</Input>
Output sample
{
  "id_log": 325,
  "SeverityLevel": 1,
  "ActionTaken": "Back office connection from 192.168.100.28",
  "Language": 1,
  "ShopContext": 1,
  "EmployeeID": 1,
  "DateAdded": "2022-01-05T15:35:29.000000+00:00",
  "DateUpdated": "2022-01-05T15:35:29.000000+00:00",
  "EventReceivedTime": "2022-02-11T16:44:25.261108+00:00",
  "SourceModuleName": "odbc",
  "SourceModuleType": "im_odbc"
}
Example 3. Collecting Drupal audit logs

This example configuration uses the im_odbc module to read data from the watchdog table.

nxlog.conf
<Extension json>
    Module              xm_json
</Extension>

<Input odbc>
    Module              im_odbc
    # This is the connection string containing the ODBC data source name
    ConnectionString    DSN=drupal; database=drupal;
    # This is the SQL statement that the module will execute to query data from the data source
    SQL                 SELECT wid AS id, \
                               uid AS UserID, \
                               type AS ErrorType, \
                               message AS ActionTaken, \
                               severity AS SeverityLevel, \
                               location AS Location, \
                               hostname AS HostName, \
                               timestamp AS Time \
                        FROM   watchdog WHERE wid > ?
    <Exec>
        rename_field($id, $id_log);
        to_json();
    </Exec>
</Input>
Output sample
{
  "wid": 109,
  "UserID": 1,
  "ErrorType": "user",
  "ActionTaken": "Deleted user: %name %email.",
  "SeverityLevel": 5,
  "Location": "http://192.168.100.149/batch?_format=json&id=2&op=do",
  "HostName": "192.168.100.28",
  "Time": "2022-02-14T4:14:56.799020+00:00",
  "EventReceivedTime": "2022-02-14T14:14:56.799020+00:00",
  "SourceModuleName": "odbc",
  "SourceModuleType": "im_odbc"
}
Disclaimer

While we endeavor to keep the information in this topic up to date and correct, NXLog makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability, or availability of the content represented here.

The accurateness of the content was tested and proved to be working in our lab environment at the time of the last revision with the following software versions:

NXLog 5.4.7313
Ubuntu 20
WordPress 5.9, WP Activity Log 4.3.6
PrestaShop 1.7.8.2
Drupal 9.3.2
MySQL 8.0.28

Last revision: 18 February 2022