Indicator Removal: Clear Linux or Mac System Logs

Adversaries may clear system logs to hide evidence of an intrusion. macOS and Linux both keep track of system or user-initiated actions via system logs. The majority of native system logging is stored under the /var/log/ directory. Subfolders in this directory categorize logs by their related functions, such as:[1]

  • /var/log/messages:: General and system-related messages
  • /var/log/secure or /var/log/auth.log: Authentication logs
  • /var/log/utmp or /var/log/wtmp: Login records
  • /var/log/kern.log: Kernel logs
  • /var/log/cron.log: Crond logs
  • /var/log/maillog: Mail server logs
  • /var/log/httpd/: Web server access and error logs
ID: T1070.002
Sub-technique of:  T1070
Tactic: Defense Evasion
Platforms: Linux, macOS
Version: 1.0
Created: 28 January 2020
Last Modified: 29 March 2020

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description
S1016 MacMa

MacMa can clear possible malware traces such as application logs.[2]

S0279 Proton

Proton removes logs from /var/logs and /Library/logs.[3]

G0106 Rocke

Rocke has cleared log files within the /var/log/ folder.[4]

G0139 TeamTNT

TeamTNT has removed system logs from /var/log/syslog.[5]


ID Mitigation Description
M1041 Encrypt Sensitive Information

Obfuscate/encrypt event files locally and in transit to avoid giving feedback to an adversary.

M1029 Remote Data Storage

Automatically forward events to a log server or data repository to prevent conditions in which the adversary can locate and manipulate data on the local system. When possible, minimize time delay on event reporting to avoid prolonged storage on the local system.

M1022 Restrict File and Directory Permissions

Protect generated event files that are stored locally with proper permissions and authentication and limit opportunities for adversaries to increase privileges by preventing Privilege Escalation opportunities.


ID Data Source Data Component Detects
DS0017 Command Command Execution

Monitor executed commands and arguments for actions that could be taken to remove or overwrite system logs.

DS0022 File File Deletion

Monitor for unexpected deletion of a system log file, typically stored in /var/logs or /Library/Logs.

File Modification

Monitor for changes made to system log files, typically stored in /var/log or /Library/Logs, for unexpected modifications to access permissions and attributes