Windows Security Logging and Other Esoterica

thoughts from the Windows auditing team

Mapping pre-Vista Security Event IDs to Security Event IDs in Vista+

Mapping pre-Vista Security Event IDs to Security Event IDs in Vista+

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I've written twice (here and here) about the relationship between the "old" event IDs (5xx-6xx) in WS03 and earlier versions of Windows, and between the "new" security event IDs (4xxx-5xxx) in Vista and beyond.

In short, EventID(WS03) + 4096 = EventID(WS08) for almost all security events in WS03.

The exceptions are the logon events.  The logon success events (540, 528) were collapsed into a single event 4624 (=528 + 4096).  The logon failure events (529-537, 539) were collapsed into a single event 4625 (=529+4096).

Other than that, there are cases where old events were deprecated (IPsec IIRC), and there are cases where new events were added (DS Change).  These are all new instrumentation and there is no “mapping” possible- e.g. the new DS Change audit events are complementary to the old DS Access events; they record something different than the old events so you can’t say that the old event xxx = the new event yyy because they aren’t equivalent.  The old event means one thing and the new event means another thing; they represent different points of instrumentation in the OS, not just formatting changes in the event representation in the log.

Of course I explained earlier why we renumbered the events, and (in the same place) why the difference is "+4096" instead of something more human-friendly like "+1000".  The bottom line is that the event schema is different, so by changing the event IDs (and not re-using any), we force existing automation to be updated rather than just misinterpreting events when the automation doesn't know the version of Windows that produced the event.  We realized it would be painful but it is nowhere near as painful as if every event consumer had to be aware of, and have special casing for, pre-Vista events and post-Vista events with the same IDs but different schema.

So if you happen to know the pre-Vista security events, then you can quickly translate your existing knowledge to Vista by adding 4000, adding 100, and subtracting 4.  You can do this in your head.

However if you're trying to implement some automation, you should avoid trying to make a chart with "<Vista" and ">=Vista" columns of event ID numbers, because this will likely result in mis-parsing one set of events, and because you'll find it frustrating that there is not a 1:1 mapping (and in some cases no mapping at all).





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