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Logo of Osquery, featuring a stylized, geometric star in black and purple next to the word 'osquery' in black font.

Osquery is an open-source, cross-platform, and highly versatile operating system instrumentation framework that exposes an operating system as a high-performance relational database. This unique approach allows users to write SQL queries to explore operating system data, making it easier to gain deep insights into the security, performance, configuration, and state of their infrastructure. With osquery, SQL tables represent abstract concepts such as running processes, loaded kernel modules, open network connections, browser plugins, hardware events, and file hashes. This innovative tool, created by Facebook in 2014, has gained significant popularity among organizations looking to streamline their security and IT operations.

What is Osquery?

Osquery is an operating system instrumentation framework that provides a SQL interface to query and analyze low-level system data. It enables users to ask questions about their system infrastructure using SQL queries, making it easier to monitor, investigate, and detect potential security issues or anomalies. Osquery's key components include:

  • osqueryi: An interactive query console that allows users to explore the operating system using SQL queries.

  • osqueryd: A high-performance, low-footprint daemon that schedules queries and aggregates results over time.

  • Query Packs: Pre-defined sets of queries that focus on specific areas of interest, such as security, compliance, or performance.

Osquery's modular architecture and extensive set of system tables make it a powerful tool for various use cases, including security analytics, incident response, compliance monitoring, and asset management.

Key Features

Osquery offers several key features that make it an attractive choice for organizations:

  1. SQL-based querying: Osquery uses SQL, a widely-known and easy-to-learn language, to query operating system data, making it accessible to a broader audience.

  2. Cross-platform support: Osquery runs on Windows, macOS, Linux, and FreeBSD, allowing organizations to monitor and manage a heterogeneous environment using a single tool.

  3. Extensible architecture: Osquery's modular design enables users to create custom plugins, extensions, and tables to extend its functionality and adapt it to their specific needs.

  4. Real-time visibility: Osquery's scheduled queries and logging capabilities provide real-time visibility into the state of an organization's infrastructure, enabling quick detection and response to potential issues.

  5. Integration with existing tools: Osquery can easily integrate with various log management, SIEM, and data analytics platforms, allowing organizations to leverage their existing investments.

Who Can Use Osquery?

Osquery is suitable for a wide range of users and organizations, including:

  • Security teams: Osquery can help security professionals detect and investigate potential threats, monitor for compliance, and perform incident response activities.

  • IT operations teams: System administrators and IT operations teams can use osquery to monitor system performance, troubleshoot issues, and manage asset inventory.

  • Developers: Osquery's extensible architecture allows developers to create custom plugins and extensions to integrate with their applications and services.

  • Compliance teams: Osquery can assist compliance teams in monitoring and enforcing security policies, as well as generating reports for audits and assessments.

Supported Platforms

Osquery supports multiple platforms, making it a versatile tool for managing heterogeneous environments:

  • Windows: Osquery can be installed on Windows using the Windows Installer or Chocolatey package manager.

  • macOS: Osquery is available as a macOS package installer and can be easily deployed using management tools like Munki or Jamf.

  • Linux: Osquery provides packages for various Linux distributions, including Ubuntu, CentOS, and Fedora.

  • FreeBSD: Osquery also supports FreeBSD, allowing users to monitor and manage their FreeBSD systems alongside other platforms.

How to Install Osquery?

Follow these step-by-step instructions to install osquery on your preferred platform:

  1. Choose your platform: Osquery supports Windows, macOS, Linux, and FreeBSD. Determine which operating system you want to install osquery on.

  2. Download the appropriate package:

    • Visit the official osquery website ( or the GitHub releases page (

    • Locate the download section for your specific platform.

    • Select the appropriate package format for your operating system (e.g., MSI for Windows, PKG for macOS, or DEB/RPM for Linux).

  3. Install osquery:

    • Windows:

      • Double-click the downloaded MSI file and follow the installation wizard.

      • Alternatively, use the Chocolatey package manager by running the command: choco install osquery.

    • macOS:

      • Double-click the downloaded PKG file and follow the installation wizard.

      • You can also use management tools like Munki or Jamf to deploy osquery on macOS.

    • Linux:

      • Open a terminal and navigate to the directory containing the downloaded DEB or RPM package.

      • For DEB packages, run: sudo dpkg -i osquery_package.deb.

      • For RPM packages, run: sudo rpm -i osquery_package.rpm.

    • FreeBSD:

      • Open a terminal and run: pkg install osquery.

  4. Verify the installation:

    • Open a terminal or command prompt.

    • Run the command: osqueryi.

    • If the installation was successful, the osquery interactive shell should start, and you should see the osquery> prompt.

  5. Configure osquery:

    • Locate the osquery configuration file:

      • Windows: C:\ProgramData\osquery\osquery.conf

      • macOS: /var/osquery/osquery.conf

      • Linux: /etc/osquery/osquery.conf

    • Open the configuration file using a text editor with appropriate permissions.

    • Customize the configuration according to your organization's requirements, such as defining query packs, setting up logging, and configuring integrations with other tools.

    • Save the configuration file.

  6. Start the osquery daemon (osqueryd):

    • Windows:

      • Open the Services manager and start the osqueryd service.

    • macOS and Linux:

      • Open a terminal and run: sudo systemctl start osqueryd (for systems with systemd) or sudo service osqueryd start (for systems with init.d).

  7. Verify osquery is running:

    • Open a terminal or command prompt.

    • Run the command: osqueryi.

    • Execute a simple query, such as SELECT * FROM os_version;, to ensure osquery is functioning correctly.

For more detailed installation instructions and platform-specific considerations, refer to the official osquery documentation at

How to Use Osquery?

To start using osquery effectively, follow these steps:

  1. Explore the osquery schema:

    • Launch the osquery interactive shell by running:osqueryi

    • Use the .tables command to list all available tables:Copy codeosquery> .tables

    • Use the .schema command followed by a table name to view its schema:osquery> .schema processes

    • Refer to the official osquery documentation at for a complete list of tables and their descriptions.

  2. Run basic queries:

    • In the osquery interactive shell, execute simple queries to familiarize yourself with the SQL-like syntax and the available tables. For example:

      • List all running processes:osquery> SELECT * FROM processes;

      • Find listening ports and their associated processes:osquery> SELECT DISTINCT, listening_ports.port,> FROM listening_ports JOIN processes USING (pid);

      • Search for a specific file on the filesystem:osquery> SELECT * FROM file WHERE path = '/path/to/file';

  3. Use pre-defined query packs:

    • Osquery provides a set of pre-defined query packs that cover common use cases, such as security, compliance, and performance monitoring.

    • Browse the available query packs in the osquery repository at

    • To use a query pack, copy the desired pack file (e.g., incident-response.conf) to your osquery configuration directory (e.g., /usr/share/osquery/packs/).

    • Update your osquery configuration file (osquery.conf) to include the new query pack:


      { "packs": { "incident-response": "/usr/share/osquery/packs/incident-response.conf" }}

    • Restart the osquery daemon (osqueryd) to load the new configuration.

  4. Schedule queries with osqueryd:

    • Osquery allows you to schedule queries to run periodically using the osquery daemon (osqueryd).

    • Open your osquery configuration file (osquery.conf) and define the scheduled queries under the schedule key. For example:


      { "schedule": { "process_events": { "query": "SELECT * FROM process_events;", "interval": 60 }, "file_changes": { "query": "SELECT * FROM file_events WHERE action = 'MODIFIED';", "interval": 300 } }}

    • Restart the osquery daemon (osqueryd) to apply the new schedule.

    • The scheduled queries will run at the specified intervals, and the results will be logged according to your logging configuration.

  5. Integrate with other tools:

    • Osquery can be easily integrated with various log management, SIEM, and data analytics platforms for centralized data collection, analysis, and alerting.

    • Popular integration options include:

      • Filebeat: Use Filebeat to ship osquery logs to Elasticsearch or Logstash.

      • Splunk: Configure Splunk's Universal Forwarder to collect osquery logs and forward them to Splunk for analysis.

      • Kolide Fleet: Use Kolide Fleet as a management and aggregation layer for osquery, providing a user-friendly interface for query scheduling, result analysis, and alerting.

    • Consult the documentation of your chosen integration platform for specific setup instructions.

  6. Extend osquery with custom plugins and extensions:

Remember to regularly update osquery to the latest version to benefit from new features, bug fixes, and security improvements. You can update osquery by downloading the latest package from the official website or using your package manager.

As you become more comfortable with osquery, explore advanced topics like performance tuning, fleet management, and writing complex queries to unlock its full potential in securing and monitoring your environment.

Bottom Line

Osquery is a powerful and flexible operating system instrumentation framework that simplifies the process of monitoring, investigating, and securing an organization's infrastructure. By providing a SQL interface to query low-level system data, osquery democratizes access to valuable insights and enables users to ask complex questions about their systems with ease.

Whether you are a security professional, IT operations team member, developer, or compliance officer, osquery can help you streamline your workflows, improve visibility, and make data-driven decisions to protect and optimize your organization's assets. As an open-source project with a growing community and extensive documentation, osquery is well-positioned to become an essential tool in your IT and security toolbox.




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