Category Archives: Vendor/Device/OS

Palo Alto Reporting

I wanted to configure a weekly email report on a Palo Alto Networks firewall. “Yes, no problem”, I thought. Well, it was absolutely not that easy. ;(

While the PAN firewalls have a great GUI and a good design at all they lack an easy-to-use email reporting function, especially when compared to the FortiGate firewalls which have a great local report feature. –> If you want some stats on a weekly basis you must configure it completely from scratch. Unluckily this is not that easy since you must pass several steps for that. Therefore, I drew an outline of the Palo Alto reporting stages to have an overview of them.

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CLI Commands for Troubleshooting Juniper ScreenOS Firewalls

Yes I know, ScreenOS is “End of Everything” (EoE). However, for historical reasons I am still managing many Netscreen/ScreenOS firewalls for some customers. Similar to my troubleshooting CLI commands for Palo Alto and Fortinet I am listing the most common used commands for the ScreenOS devices. These are only the commands that are needed for deep troubleshooting sessions that cannot be done solely on the GUI.

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DNSSEC Signing w/ BIND

To solve the chicken-or-egg problem for DNSSEC from the other side, let’s use an authoritative DNS server (BIND) for signing DNS zones. This tutorial describes how to generate the keys and configure the “Berkeley Internet Name Domain” (BIND) server in order to automatically sign zones. I am not explaining many details of DNSSEC at all, but only the configuration and verification steps for a concrete BIND server.

It is really easy to tell BIND to do the inline signing. With this option enabled, the admin can still configure the static database for his zone files without any relation to DNSSEC. Everything with signing and maintaining is fully done by BIND without any user interaction. Great.

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DNSSEC Validation with Unbound on a Raspberry

To overcome the chicken-or-egg problem for DNSSEC (“I don’t need a DNSSEC validating resolver if there are no signed zones”), let’s install the DNS server Unbound on a Raspberry Pi for home usage. Up then, domain names are DNSSEC validated. I am listing the commands to install Unbound on a Raspberry Pi as well as some further commands to test and troubleshoot it. Finally I am showing a few Wireshark screenshots from a sample iterative DNS capture. Here we go:

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Basic BIND Installation

This is a basic tutorial on how to install BIND, the Berkeley Internet Name Domain server, on a Ubuntu server in order to run it as an authoritative DNS server. It differs from other tutorials because I am using three servers (one as a hidden primary and two slaves as the public accessible ones), as well as some security such as denying recursive lookups and public zone transfers, as well as using TSIG for authenticating internal zone transfers. That is, this post is not an absolute beginner’s guide.

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Palo Alto DNS Proxy Rule for Reverse DNS

I am using the DNS Proxy on a Palo Alto Networks firewall for some user subnets. Beside the default/primary DNS server it can be configured with proxy rules (sometimes called conditional forwarding) which I am using for reverse DNS lookups, i.e., PTR records, that are answered by a BIND DNS server. While it is easy and well-known to configure the legacy IP (IPv4) reverse records, the IPv6 ones are slightly more difficult. Fortunately there are some good tools on the Internet to help reversing IPv6 addresses.

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Palo Alto FQDN Objects

While I tested the FQDN objects with a Palo Alto Networks firewall, I ran into some strange behaviours which I could not reproduce, but have documented them. I furthermore tested the usage of FQDN objects with more than 32 IP addresses, which are the maximum that are supported due to the official Palo Alto documentation. Here we go:

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ownCloud Data Directory

I initially stored my ownCloud data on an external NTFS hard disk. (Yes, this was not a good idea at all.) After some time now I wanted to move the files to a bigger ext4 drive on the same machine. Unluckily there are many posts and articles that are really irritating on the Internet, such as: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. At least I found some promising hints at the official GitHub forums (this and that) and gave it a try:

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CPU Usage Increase FortiGate 100D -> 90D

A few weeks ago I swapped a FortiGate 100D firewall to a 90D firewall. The 100D was defective and needed to be replaced. Since the customer only has a 20 Mbps ISP connection, I thought that a FortiGate 90D would fit for the moment, since it has a firewall throughput of 3,5 Gbps, compared to the lower value of 2,5 Gbps from the 100D.

Indeed, it worked. However, the CPU usage increase was huge, almost related to the NGFW throughput. Here are some graphs:

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Fortinet Feature Requests

I really like the FortiGate firewalls. They are easy to manage and have lots of functionality. However, I am also aware of some other firewall products and therefore have some feature requests to Fortinet that are not currently implemented in their firewalls. I am sometimes forwarding these FRs to the Fortinet support or to an SE, but they are not really interested in that. ;( So here is a list of my ideas that could improve the firewall. Hopefully/maybe some of them will be implemented one day…

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Palo Alto VPN Speedtests

Once more some throughput tests, this time the Palo Alto Networks firewalls site-to-site IPsec VPN. Similar to my VPN speedtests for the FortiGate firewall, I set up a small lab with two PA-200 firewalls and tested the bandwidth of different IPsec phase 2 algorithms. Compared to the official data sheet information from Palo Alto that state an IPsec VPN throughput of 50 Mbps, the results are really astonishing.

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Palo Alto IPv4 vs. IPv6 Performance Speedtests

After I have done some speedtests on the FortiGate firewall I was interested in doing the same tests on a Palo Alto. That is: What are the throughput differences of IPv4 vs. IPv6, measured with and without security profiles, i.e., with and without threat prevention.

It turned out that the throughput is much higher than the official information from Palo Alto. Furthermore, I was not able to test the threat prevention at all, because non of my traffic (Iperf and mere HTTP) went through the antivirus engines. I have to test this again. However, here are the measured values so far:

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Palo Alto Software Download Failure

I had an error on my PA-200 with PAN-OS 7.0.5 while trying to download a new firmware version. “Error: There is not enough free disk space to complete the desired operation. […]”. Even the tips to delete older software, dynamic updates, etc., and to use the “set max-num-images count” command did not lead to a successful download.

Finally, the TAC support could solve the problem via root access to the Palo Alto firewall and by manually moving data files…

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