Micro agent event collection (Preview)

Defender for IoT security agents collect data and system events from your local device, and send the data to the Azure cloud for processing.

If you've configured and connected a Log Analytics workspace, you'll see these events in Log Analytics. For more information, see Tutorial: Investigate security alerts.

The Defender for IoT micro agent collects many types of device events including new processes, and all new connection events. Both the new process and new connection events may occur frequently on a device. This capability is important for comprehensive security, however, the number of messages the security agents send may quickly meet, or exceed your IoT Hub quota, and cost limits. These messages and events contain highly valuable security information that is crucial to protecting your device.

To reduce the number of messages and costs while maintaining your device's security, Defender for IoT agents aggregate the following types of events:

  • Process events (Linux only)

  • Network Activity events

For more information, see event aggregation for process and network collectors.

Event-based collectors are collectors that are triggered based on corresponding activity from within the device. For example, a process was started in the device.

Trigger-based collectors are collectors that are triggered in a scheduled manner based on the customer's configurations.

Process events (event-based collector)

Process events are supported on Linux operating systems.

Process events are considered identical when the command line and userid are identical.

The default buffer for process events is 256 processes. When this limit is met, the buffer will cycle, and the oldest process event is discarded in order to make room for the newest processed event. A warning to increase the cache size will be logged.

The data collected for each event is:

Parameter Description
Timestamp The first time the process was observed.
process_id The Linux PID.
parent_process_id The Linux parent PID, if it exists.
Commandline The command line.
Type Can be either fork, or exec.
hit_count The aggregate count. The number of executions of the same process, during the same time frame, until the events are sent to the cloud.

Network Activity events (event-based collector)

Network activity events are considered identical when the local port, remote port, transport protocol, local address, and remote address are identical.

The default buffer for a network activity event is 256. For situations where the cache is full:

  • Azure RTOS devices: No new network events will be cached until the next collection cycle starts.

  • Linux devices: The oldest event will be replaced by every new event. A warning to increase the cache size will be logged.

For Linux devices, only IPv4 is supported.

The data collected for each event is:

Parameter Description
Local address The source address of the connection.
Remote address The destination address of the connection.
Local port The source port of the connection.
Remote port The destination port of the connection.
Bytes_in The total aggregated RX bytes of the connection.
Bytes_out The total aggregated TX bytes of the connection.
Transport_protocol Can be TCP, UDP, or ICMP.
Application protocol The application protocol associated with the connection.
Extended properties The Additional details of the connection. For example, host name.
Hit count The count of packets observed

Login collector (event-based collector)

The Login collector collects user sign-ins, sign-outs, and failed sign-in attempts.

The Login collector supports the following types of collection methods:

  • UTMP and SYSLOG. UTMP catches SSH interactive events, telnet events, and terminal logins, as well as all failed login events from SSH, telnet, and terminal. If SYSLOG is enabled on the device, the Login collector also collects SSH sign-in events via the SYSLOG file named auth.log.

  • Pluggable Authentication Modules (PAM). Collects SSH, telnet, and local sign-in events. For more information, see Configure Pluggable Authentication Modules (PAM) to audit sign-in events.

The following data is collected:

Parameter Description
operation One of the following: Login, Logout, LoginFailed
process_id The Linux PID.
user_name The Linux user.
executable The terminal device. For example, tty1..6 or pts/n.
remote_address The source of connection, either a remote IP address in IPv6 or IPv4 format, or to indicate local connection.

System Information (trigger-based collector)

The data collected for each event is:

Parameter Description
hardware_vendor The name of the vendor of the device.
hardware_model The model number of the device.
os_dist The distribution of the operating system. For example, Linux.
os_version The version of the operating system. For example, Windows 10, or Ubuntu 20.04.1.
os_platform The OS of the device.
os_arch The architecture of the OS. For example, x86_64.
nics The network interface controller. The full list of properties is listed below.

The nics properties are composed of the following;

Parameter Description
type One of the following values: UNKNOWN, ETH, WIFI, MOBILE, or SATELLITE.
vlans The virtual lan associated with the network interface.
vendor The vendor of the network controller.
info IPS, and MACs associated with the network controller. This Includes the following fields;
- ipv4_address: The IPv4 address.
- ipv6_address: The IPv6 address.
- mac: The MAC address.

Baseline (trigger-based collector)

The baseline collector performs periodic CIS checks, and failed, pass, and skip check results are sent to the Defender for IoT cloud service. Defender for IoT aggregates the results and provides recommendations based on any failures.

The data collected for each event is:

Parameter Description
Check ID In CIS format. For example, CIS-debian-9-Filesystem-1.1.2.
Check result Can be Fail, Pass, Skip, or Error. For example, Error in a situation where the check can’t run.
Error The error's information, and description.
Description The description of the check from CIS.
Remediation The recommendation for remediation from CIS.
Severity The severity level.

SBoM (trigger-based collector)

The SBoM (Software Bill of Materials) collector collects the packages installed on the device periodically.

The data collected on each package includes:

Parameter Description
Name The package name.
Version The package version.
Vendor The package's vendor, which is the Maintainer field in deb packages.


The SBoM collector currently only collects the first 500 packages ingested.

Event aggregation for Process and Network collectors

How event aggregation works for the Process events and Network Activity events:

Defender for IoT agents aggregate events during the send interval defined in the message frequency configuration for each collector, such as Process_MessageFrequency or NetworkActivity_MessageFrequency. Once the send interval period has passed, the agent sends the aggregated events to the Azure cloud for further analysis. The aggregated events are stored in memory until being sent to the Azure cloud.

When the agent collects similar events to the ones that are already stored in memory, the agent will increase the hit count of this specific event to reduce the memory footprint of the agent. When the aggregation time window passes, the agent sends the hit count of each type of event that occurred. Event aggregation is the aggregation of the hit counts of similar events. For example, network activity with the same remote host and on the same port, is aggregated as one event, instead of as a separate event for each packet.


By default, the micro agent sends logs and telemetry to the cloud for troubleshooting and monitoring purposes. This behavior can be configured or turned off through the twin.

Next steps

For more information, see: