Logging, auditing, and streaming

Each Tailscale agent in your distributed network streams its logs to a central log server (at log.tailscale.io). This includes real-time events for open and close events for every inter-machine connection (TCP or UDP) on your network.

Because every connection requires two endpoints, and both endpoints log every connection, it’s possible to detect lost or tampered logs by comparing the double entries of each endpoint. You could also use IDS (intrusion detection system) rules to automatically detect suspicious activity on your network.

Client logs

Each client logs information about its own operation and its attempts to contact other nodes. The data collected and how it is used are described in our privacy policy.

Logs can be accessed locally for nodes on desktop platforms.

Windows

Open the Event Viewer application and find Tailscale. Alternatively, logs can be accessed in %LOCALAPPDATA%\Tailscale.

macOS

Open the Console application and search for IPN.

Linux

Logs are available in the shell:

journalctl -u tailscaled

SSH session logs

Tailscale SSH has the ability to optionally record SSH sessions. With session recording enabled, all SSH commands and responses are recorded locally on the device.

To enable session recording on a device, you need to set the environment variable TS_DEBUG_LOG_SSH on tailscaled. This can typically be done by editing /etc/default/tailscaled and adding the following line:

TS_DEBUG_LOG_SSH=1

Restart tailscaled after setting TS_DEBUG_LOG_SSH:

systemctl restart tailscaled

Session logs are available locally on the device under /var/lib/tailscale/ssh-sessions. These logs are *.cast files, in asciicast v2 format. Use asciinema to watch them.

Session logs are currently limited:

  • Session recordings are stored locally on the device, and not currently streamed to remote storage. If the device is compromised, then you should not assume that the logs have not been tampered with.
  • Session recordings only include information about the user on the device, not the authenticated user. That is, if Alice authenticated as root on a device, session recordings would only show the user root, not Alice. We are planning to make it easier to correlate SSH session logs to Tailscale client connection logs.

Centralized log management

Some logs are centrally collected by Tailscale for debugging. This is done with a custom-built, high-capacity, high-reliability, distributed logging system.

Right now, logs are only accessible locally on each node. You could stream your system- and container-level logs to the same centralized data store for further analysis.

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