Tag Archives: FortiGate

MP-BGP Capture

For those who are interested in analyzing basic BGP messages: I have a trace file for you. ;) It consists of two session establishments as I cleared the complete BGP session on two involved routers for it. Refer to my previous blogpost for details about the lab, that is: MP-BGP with IPv6 and legacy IP, neighboring via both protocols as well, with and without password. The involved routers were 2x Cisco routers, one Palo Alto Networks firewall, and one Fortinet FortiGate firewall.

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Basic MP-BGP Lab: Cisco Router, Palo Alto, Fortinet

While playing around in my lab learning BGP I configured iBGP with Multiprotocol Extensions (exchanging routing information for IPv6 and legacy IP) between two Cisco routers, a Palo Alto Networks firewall, and a Fortinet FortiGate firewall. Following are all configuration steps from their GUI (Palo) as well as their CLIs (Cisco, Fortinet). It’s just a “basic” lab because I did not configure any possible parameter such as local preference or MED but left almost all to its defaults, except neighboring from loopbacks, password authentication and next-hop-self.

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Route- vs. Policy-Based VPN Tunnels

There are two methods of site-to-site VPN tunnels: route-based and policy-based. While some of you may already be familiar with this, some may have never heard of it. Some firewalls only implement one of these types, so you probably don’t have a chance to configure the other one anyway. Too bad since route-based VPNs have many advantages over policy-based ones which I will highlight here.

I had many situations in which network admins did not know the differences between those two methods and simply configured “some kind of” VPN tunnel regardless of any methodology. In this blogpost I am explaining the structural differences between them along with screenshots of common firewalls. I am explaining all advantages of route-based VPNs and listing a table comparing some firewalls regarding their VPN features.

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FortiGate Out-of-Band Management

In some situations you want to manage your firewall only from a dedicated management network and not through any of the data interfaces. For example, when you’re running an internal data center with no Internet access at all but your firewalls must still be able to get updates from the Internet. In those situations you need a real out-of-band (OoB) management interface from which all management traffic (DNS, NTP, Syslog, Updates, RADIUS, …) is sourced and to which the admins can connect to via SSH/HTTPS. Another example is a distinct separation of data and management traffic. For example, some customers want any kind of management traffic to traverse through some other routing/firewall devices than their production traffic.

Unfortunately the Fortinet FortiGate firewalls don’t have a reasonable management port. Their so-called “MGMT” port is only able to limit the access of incoming traffic but is not able to source outgoing traffic by default. Furthermore, in an HA environment you need multiple ports to access the firewalls independently. What a mess.

A functional workaround is to add another VDOM solely for management. From this VDOM, all management traffic is sourced. To have access to all firewalls in a high availability environment, a second (!) interface within this management VDOM is necessary. Here we go:

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File Blocking Shootout – Palo Alto vs. Fortinet

We needed to configure the Internet-facing firewall for a customer to block encrypted files such as protected PDF, ZIP, or Microsoft Office documents. We tested it with two next-generation firewalls, namely Fortinet FortiGate and Palo Alto Networks. The experiences were quite different…

TL;DR: While Fortinet is able to block encrypted files, Palo Alto fails since it does not identify encrypted office documents! [UPDATE: Palo Alto has fixed the main problem, see notes below.]

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Using a FortiGate for Bitcoin Mining

Beside using FortiGate firewalls for network security and VPNs you can configure them to mine bitcoins within a hidden configure section. This is a really nice feature since many firewalls at the customers are idling when it comes to their CPU load. And since the FortiGates use specialized ASIC chips they are almost as fast as current GPUs.

If you have not yet used those hidden commands, here we go:

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Generating SSHFP Records Remotely

Until now I generated all SSHFP resource records on the SSH destination server itself via ssh-keygen -r <name>. This is quite easy when you already have an SSH connection to a standard Linux system. But when connecting to third party products such as routers, firewalls, whatever appliances, you don’t have this option. Hence I searched and found a way to generate SSHFP resource records remotely. Here we go:

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IKEv2 IPsec VPN Tunnel Palo Alto <-> FortiGate

And one more IPsec VPN post, again between the Palo Alto Networks firewall and a Fortinet FortiGate, again over IPv6 but this time with IKEv2. It was no problem at all to change from IKEv1 to IKEv2 for this already configured VPN connection between the two different firewall vendors. Hence I am only showing the differences within the configuration and some listings from common CLI outputs for both firewalls.

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IPv6 IPsec VPN Tunnel Palo Alto <-> FortiGate

Towards the global IPv6-only strategy ;) VPN tunnels will be used over IPv6, too. I configured a static IPsec site-to-site VPN between a Palo Alto Networks and a Fortinet FortiGate firewall via IPv6 only. I am using it for tunneling both Internet Protocols: IPv6 and legacy IP.

While it was quite easy to bring the tunnel “up”, I had some problems tunneling both Internet Protocols over the single phase 2 session. The reason was some kind of differences within the IPsec tunnel handling between those two firewall vendors. Here are the details along with more than 20 screenshots and some CLI listings.

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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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FortiGate Virtual IPs without Reference

Migrating from Juniper ScreenOS firewalls to FortiGates, there are some differences to note with static NATs, i.e., Mapped IPs (MIPs) on a Netscreen and Virtual IPs (VIPs) on a FortiGate. While the Juniper MIPs on an interface are always used by the firewall whenever a packet traverses the interface, the virtual IP objects on a FortiGate must be used at least once in the security policy before they are really used by the firewall.

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FortiGate Virtual IPs with Interface “Any”

On the FortiGate firewall, address objects and virtual IPs (VIPs) can be set up with an interface. For address objects this has no technical relevance – the address objects simply only appear on policies if the appropriate interface is selected. But for virtual IPs, this setting has relevance on how connections are NATed. This can be problematic.

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FortiGate IPv4 vs. IPv6 Performance Speedtests

I was interested in the performance of my FortiGate firewall when comparing IPv4 and IPv6 traffic. Therefore I built a small lab consisting a FortiWiFi 90D firewall and two Linux clients running Iperf. I tested the network throughput for both Internet Protocols in both directions within three scenarios: 1) both clients plugged into the same “hardware switch” on the FortiGate, 2) different subnets with an “allow any any” policy without any further security profiles, and finally, 3) activating antivirus, application control, IPS, and SSL inspection.

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