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Alerting: Rule Builder Tab

Document created by RSA Information Design and Development Employee on Sep 12, 2017Last modified by RSA Information Design and Development Employee on Jul 14, 2020
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The Rule Builder tab enables you to define a Rule Builder rule.

What do you want to do?

Role I want to ...Show me how
Content Expert

Define a Rule Builder rule.

Add a Rule Builder Rule

Content Expert

Define rule criteria.

Step 2. Build a Rule Statement

Content Expert

Add conditions to the rule.

Step 3. Add Conditions to a Rule Statement

Related Topics

Quick Look

To access the Rule Builder tab:

  1. Go to Configure > ESA Rules.

    The Rules tab opens by default.

  2. In the Rule Library toolbar, select Add list icon > Rule Builder.

    The Rule Builder tab is displayed.

The following figure shows the Rule Builder tab.

Rule Builder tab

The following table lists the parameters in the Rule Builder tab.

Rule NamePurpose of the ESA rule.
Description Summary of what the ESA rule detects.
Trial RuleDeployment mode to see if the rule runs efficiently.
Alert(This option applies to version 11.3 and later.) When selected, the alert is sent to Respond. If the checkbox is cleared, an alert will not be sent to Respond.
To turn alerts on or off for ALL rules, see the ESA Configuration Guide.
Severity Threat level of alert triggered by the rule.

The Rule Builder includes the following components:

  • Conditions section
  • Notifications section
  • Enrichments section

Conditions Section

In the Conditions section of the Rule Builder tab, you define what the rule detects.

The following figure shows the Conditions section.

Rule Builder Conditions section


The following table lists the parameters of the Conditions section.

Add icon Add a statement.
Delete icon Remove selected statement.
Edit icon Edit selected statement.
StatementLogical group of conditions for one operation.
OccursAlert frequency if the condition is met. This specifies that there must be at least that many events that satisfy the criteria  in order to trigger an alert. The time window in minutes binds the Occurs count.
ConnectorOptions to specify relationship among the statements:
  • followed by
  • not followed by
  • AND
  • OR
The Connector joins two statements with AND, OR, followed by, or not followed by. When followed by is used, it specifies that there is a sequencing of those events. AND and OR build one large criteria. The followed by creates distinct criteria that occurs in sequence.
Correlation TypeCorrelation Type applies only to followed by and not followed by. If you choose a correlation type of SAME, select one meta to correlate on, and if you choose a correlation type of JOIN, select two meta to correlate on. You may want to use JOIN if you are trying to correlate on meta from two different data sources. For example, say you want to correlate an AV alert with an IDS alert.
MetaEnter the meta condition if choosing a correlation type of SAME or JOIN (as described above).


Enter the second meta condition if choosing a correlation type of JOIN (as described above). For example, The destination IP address from the AV alert and source IP address for the workstation from the IDS alert are joined to allow you to view the same entities across different sources.

occurs within minutesTime window within which the conditions must occur. 
Event Sequence

Choose whether the pattern must follow a strict match or a loose match. If you specify a strict match, this means that the pattern must occur in the exact sequence you specified with no additional events occurring in between. For example, if the sequence specifies five failed logins (F) followed by a successful login (S), this pattern will only match if the user executes the following sequence: F,F,F,F,F,S. If you specify a loose match, this means that other events may occur within the sequence, but the rule will still trigger if all of the specified events also occur. For example, five failed login attempts (F), followed by any number of intervening successful login attempts (S), followed by a successful login attempt might create the following pattern: F,S,F,S,F,S,F,S,F,S which would trigger the rule despite the intervening successful logins. 

Group By

Select the meta key by which to group results from the dropdown list. For example, suppose that there are three users; Joe, Jane, and John and you use the Group By meta, user_dst (user_dst is the meta field for the user destination account). The result will show events grouped under the user destination accounts, Joe, Jane, and John.

You can also group by multiple keys. For example, you might want to group by user and machine to see if a user logged in from the same machine attempts to log into an account multiple times. To do this, you might group by user_dst and ip_src.


In the Notifications section, you can choose how to be notified when ESA generates an alert for the rule.

For more information on the alert notifications, see Add Notification Method to a Rule.

The following figure shows the Notifications section.
Rule Builder Notifications section

Add list icon To add an alert notification type.
Delete icon To delete the selected alert notification.
OutputAlert notification type. Options are:
  • Email
  • SNMP (This option is not supported in NetWitness Platform version 11.3 and later.)
  • Syslog
  • Script
NotificationName of previously configured output, such as an email distribution list.
Notification ServerName of server that sends the output.
TemplateName of template for the alert notification.
Output Suppression of every    Option to specify alert frequency.
MinutesAlert frequency in minutes.


In the Enrichments section, you can add a data enrichment source to a rule.

For more information on the enrichments, see Add an Enrichment to a Rule.

The following figure shows the Enrichments section.

Enrichments section

Add list icon To add an enrichment.
Delete icon To delete the selected enrichment.
OutputEnrichment source type. Options are:
  • In-Memory Table (Ad hoc only - Recurring In-Memory Tables are no longer supported in version 11.3 and later.)
  • External DB Reference (This option is not supported in NetWitness Platform version 11.3 and later.)
  • Warehouse Analytics (This option is not supported in NetWitness Platform version 11.3 and later.)
  • GeoIP
Enrichment SourceName of previously configured enrichment source, such as a .CSV filename for an In-Memory Table.
ESA Event Stream MetaESA meta key whose value will be used as one operand of join condition.
Enrichment Source Column Name Enrichment source column name whose value will be used as the other operand of the join condition.

For an in-memory table, If you configured a key when creating a .CSV-based enrichment, this column automatically populates with the selected key. However, you can change it if you like. 

For a GeoIP enrichment source, ipv4 is automatically selected. 


Select the Debug option to print alerts to the ESA logs for troubleshooting. This adds an @Audit(‘stream’) annotation to the rule. This is useful when debugging the Esper rules.


Click Show Syntax to view the EPL syntax of conditions, statements, and debugging parameters. It also provides a warning when the syntax is invalid. For more information, see Rule Syntax Dialog.

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