Example: Parameterized sensors

Parameterized sensors prompt you to specify a value when asking a dynamic question. If you save the question, the sensor value becomes part of the saved question configuration. When you then issue the saved question, Tanium Cloudthe Tanium Server automatically specifies the sensor value. Create pParameterized sensors to query endpoints for specific values that are often variable, such as file names, process names, and registry key values.

Registry Value Data is a Tanium-provided parameterized sensor. When you use that sensor in a dynamic question, Tanium Cloudthe Tanium Server prompts you to specify values for the Registry Key and Registry Value parameters.

Figure  1:  Dynamic question with parameterized sensor
Parameterized sensor

When you specify values and click Ask Question, Tanium Cloudthe Tanium Server issues the question. Then the question field shows the substituted values and the Question Results grid shows the results.

Figure  2:  Results from a dynamic question with a parameterized sensor

When you save a question that has a parameterized sensor, the sensor definition, including the substituted values, is saved in an object called a temporary sensor. On the endpoint, the Tanium Client runs the temporary sensor when it computes answers to a saved question that calls it. A saved question that is reissued according to a schedule continues to use the temporary sensor even if the sensor from which it was based is updated. Therefore, if a sensor is updated, and you want the saved question to use the updated code, you must re-create the saved question.

Sensor script

When you develop the sensor script (see Create a sensor), enclose the input parameters with double vertical bars (||), like ||strKey|| in the following example.

Figure  3:  Sensor script (click image to enlarge)

The Tanium Server encodes parameter data before passing it to the underlying script and the data must have UTF-8 decoding applied before use. The Registry Value Data sensor script in Figure  3 uses an @include to the i18n/UTF8Decode.vbs script. This script ensures that user input in the Tanium Console form is properly encoded when passed to the sensor script.

'- Begin file: i18n/UTF8Decode.vbs
' UTF8Decode
' Used to convert the UTF-8 style parameters passed from 
' the server to sensors in sensor parameters.
' This function should be used to safely pass non english input to sensors.
Function UTF8Decode(str)
    Dim arraylist(), strLen, i, sT, val, depth, sR
    Dim arraysize
    arraysize = 0
    strLen = Len(str)
    for i = 1 to strLen
        sT = mid(str, i, 1)
        if sT = "%" then
            if i + 2 <= strLen then
                Redim Preserve arraylist(arraysize + 1)
                arraylist(arraysize) = cbyte("&H" & mid(str, i + 1, 2))
                arraysize = arraysize + 1
                i = i + 2
            end if
            Redim Preserve arraylist(arraysize + 1)
            arraylist(arraysize) = asc(sT)
            arraysize = arraysize + 1
        end if
    depth = 0
    for i = 0 to arraysize - 1
		Dim mybyte
        mybyte = arraylist(i)
        if mybyte and &h80 then
            if (mybyte and &h40) = 0 then
                if depth = 0 then
                    Err.Raise 5
                end if
                val = val * 2 ^ 6 + (mybyte and &h3f)
                depth = depth - 1
                if depth = 0 then
                    sR = sR & chrw(val)
                    val = 0
                end if
            elseif (mybyte and &h20) = 0 then
                if depth > 0 then Err.Raise 5
                val = mybyte and &h1f
                depth = 1
            elseif (mybyte and &h10) = 0 then
                if depth > 0 then Err.Raise 5
                val = mybyte and &h0f
                depth = 2
                Err.Raise 5
            end if
            if depth > 0 then Err.Raise 5
            sR = sR & chrw(mybyte)
        end if
    if depth > 0 then Err.Raise 5
    UTF8Decode = sR
End Function
'- End file: i18n/UTF8Decode.vbs

In shell scripts, you can use a function similar to the following to decode the parameter data:


percent_decode() {
        local data=$(echo "$1" | sed 's/%/\\\x/g')
        /usr/bin/printf '%b' "$data"

myVariable=`percent_decode "||parameter_value||"`

The printf utility might not be available or might not work correctly on all Linux, macOS, and UNIX platforms. A more fool-proof but less elegant implementation is:


brute_force_percent_decode() {
        # decode everything between 0x20-0x7E except:
        #0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 (0x30-0x39)
        #A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z (0x41-0x5A)
        #a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z (0x61-0x7A)
        echo "$1" | sed -e 's/%20/ /g' \
        -e 's/%21/!/g' \
        -e 's/%22/"/g' \
        -e 's/%23/#/g' \
        -e 's/%24/$/g' \
        -e 's/%25/%/g' \
        -e 's/%26/\&/g' \
        -e "s/%27/'/g" \
        -e 's/%28/(/g' \
        -e 's/%29/)/g' \
        -e 's/%2[aA]/*/g' \
        -e 's/%2[bB]/+/g' \
        -e 's/%2[cC]/,/g' \
        -e 's/%2[dD]/-/g' \
        -e 's/%2[eE]/./g' \
        -e 's#%2[fF]#/#g' \
        -e 's/%3[aA]/:/g' \
        -e 's/%3[bB]/;/g' \
        -e 's/%3[cC]/</g' \
        -e 's/%3[dD]/=/g' \
        -e 's/%3[eE]/>/g' \
        -e 's/%3[fF]/?/g' \
        -e 's/%40/@/g' \
        -e 's/%5[bB]/[/g' \
        -e 's/%5[cC]/\\/g' \
        -e 's/%5[dD]/]/g' \
        -e 's/%5[eE]/^/g' \
        -e 's/%5[fF]/_/g' \
        -e 's/%60/`/g' \
        -e 's/%7[bB]/{/g' \
        -e 's/%7[cC]/|/g' \
        -e 's/%7[dD]/}/g' \
        -e 's/%7[eE]/-/g'

myVariable=`brute_force_percent_decode "||parameter_value||"`

Parameter input settings

Parameter Inputs that you set in a sensor configuration determine the settings that the Tanium Console prompts users to configure upon issuing a question with parameterized sensors (see Questions with parameterized sensors). In the Key field, specify the parameter names that are used in the script. Do not enter the double vertical bars (||). The bars are included automatically when you add a parameter.

Figure  4:  Parameter inputs (click image to enlarge)

The most common widget for user input is a text box, but you can select any of the following options. For the List, Text Area, and Text Input widgets, you can add Validation Expressions to define the allowed values. The expressions are based on Perl Compatible Regular Expressions (PCRE). Boolean AND logic applies if you add fields for multiple expressions. You can apply Boolean OR logic to multiple expressions by entering them as a single field entry with vertical bars "|" as separators. Each expression field has an adjacent text box where you can enter a description to help users understand the expression. For example, if the expression is \S{5}, you might enter the help text Value must be at least 5 characters.

Include validation for input parameters in the script, not just in Validation Expressions.

Because it is the Tanium Console that validates expressions, not the Tanium Server, the validation does not apply to custom sensors that you import or that you create through the Tanium API.

  • Checkbox: The user enables a setting by checking a box. The value 0 or 1 is entered into the variable. The sensor returns 1 if checked and 0 if not checked.
  • Date, Date Time, Date Time Range: The user selects a date and time or a date-time range. The date-time format is epoch with milliseconds. For a range, the user specifies two date-times separated by a pipe.
  • Drop Down List: The user selects only one item from a list.
  • List: The user selects one or more values. Multiple values are separated by a pipe.
  • Numeric: The user enters a number. The input can be controlled with minimum and maximums. You can specify a Step Size to require that the input be divisible by the specified value. Snap Interval is the amount that a number is increased or decreased by pressing the up or down button respectively. The Step Size value should be a multiple of the Snap Interval value unless Snap Interval is 0. The user-selected number is entered into the variable.
  • Numeric Interval: The user selects a number and an item from a list. The list item has a numeric value. The value entered into the variable is the result of the multiplication. For example, if a user selects 2 and selects High (with high having a value of 3), the value is 6 in the variable.
  • Separator: A separator is a graphical way to separate sections in the user input form.
  • Text Area: The user enters a large amount of text, which is entered into the variable.
  • Text Input: The user enters text input, which is entered into the variable.
  • Time: The user selects a time from a dropdown list. The input can be subject to restrictions.

Most parameter types provide Options for specifying read-only values that help users understand how to configure the parameters when issuing a question. Figure  4 shows the read-only values that you can specify for Text Input. The Preview section shows how the settings appear when users issue a question. Note that the Provide Help Text content appears as a tooltip when a user hovers over Information Info:

Figure  5:  Parameter options
Provide Help Text