# Palo Alto GRE Tunnel

Since PAN-OS version 9.0 you can configure GRE tunnels on a Palo Alto Networks firewall. Greetings from the clouds. As always, this is done solely through the GUI while you can use some CLI commands to test the tunnel. This time Palo put a little stumbling block in there as you have to allow a GRE connection with a certain zone/IP reference. I will show how to set up such a GRE tunnel between a Palo and a Cisco router. Here we go:

# Palo Alto Networks Feature Requests

This is a list of missing features for the next-generation firewall from Palo Alto Networks from my point of view (though I have not that many compared to other vendors such as Fortinet). Let’s see whether some of them will find their way into PAN-OS in the next years…

# Workaround for Not Using a Palo Alto with a 6in4 Tunnel

Of course, you should use dual-stack networks for almost everything on the Internet. Or even better: IPv6-only with DNS64/NAT64 and so on. ;) Unfortunately, still not every site has native IPv6 support. However, we can simply use the IPv6 Tunnel Broker from Hurricane Electric to overcome this time-based issue.

Well, wait… Not when using a Palo Alto Networks firewall which lacks 6in4 tunnel support. Sigh. Here’s my workaround:

# PAN Blocking Details

One of my readers sent me this question:

We have an internal discussion about whether it is possible to block the 3 way hanshake TCP but allow the JDBC application protocol. In other words we would like to block the test of the port with the command “telent address port” but we would like that the connections via JDBC continue to work. is it possible to do this theoretically? Is it possibile to do it with paloalto firewall?

Let’s have a look:

# Palo Alto Networks NGFW using NTP Authentication

Everyone uses NTP, that’s for sure. But are you using it with authentication on your own stratum 1 servers? You should since this is the only way to provide security against spoofed NTP packets, refer to Why should I run own NTP Servers?. As always, Palo Alto has implemented this security feature in a really easy way, since it requires just a few clicks on the GUI. (Which again is much better than other solutions, e.g., FortiGate, which requires cumbersome CLI commands.) However, monitoring the NTP servers, whether authentication was successful or not, isn’t implemented in a good way. Here we go:

# Using Case Sensitive IPv6 Addressing on a Palo Alto

IPv6 brings us enough addresses until the end of the world. Really? Well… No. There was an interesting talk at RIPE77 called “The Art of Running Out of IPv6 Addresses” by Benedikt Stockebrand that concludes that we will run out of IPv6 addresses some day.

Luckily Palo Alto Networks has already added one feature to expand the IPv6 address space by making them case sensitive. That is: you can now differentiate between upper and lower case values “a..f” and “A..F”. Instead of 16 different hexadecimal values you now have 22 which increases the IPv6 space from $2^{128}$ to about $2^{142}$. Here is how it works on the Palo Alto Networks firewall:

# 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.

# 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.]

# Palo Alto policy-deny though Action allow

I came across some strange behaviors on a Palo Alto Networks firewall: Certain TLS connections with TLS inspection enabled did not work. Looking at the traffic log the connections revealed an Action of “allow” but of Type “deny” with Session End Reason of “policy-deny”. What?

# Notes regarding Palo Alto HA2 Session Sync

Just a quick note concerning the session sync on a Palo Alto Networks firewall cluster: Don’t trust the green HA2 bubble on the HA widget since it is always “Up” as long as the HA interface is up. It does NOT indicate whether the session sync is working or not. You MUST verify the session count on the passive unit to be sure. Here are some details:

# Palo Alto Application: First Packets Will Pass!

I am using an almost hidden FTP server in my DMZ behind a Palo Alto Networks firewall. FTP is only allowed from a few static IP addresses, hence no brute-force attacks on my server. Furthermore, I have an “allow ping and traceroute from any to DMZ” policy since ping is no security flaw but really helpful while troubleshooting.

Now, here comes the point: My FTP server logfile showed dozens of connections from many different IP addresses from the Internet. WHAT? For the first moment I was really shocked. Have I accidentally exposed my FTP server to the Internet? Here is what happened:

# 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.

# 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.

# Palo Alto NDP Monitoring

With PAN-OS version 8.0 Palo Alto Networks introduced another IPv6 feature, namely “NDP Monitoring for Fast Device Location“. It basically adds a few information to the existing neighbor cache such as the User-ID (if present) and a “last reported” timestamp. That is: the admin has a new reporting window within the Palo Alto GUI that shows the reported IPv6 addresses along with its MAC addresses. This is really helpful for two reasons: 1) a single IPv6 node can have multiple IPv6 addresses which makes it much more difficult to track them back to the MAC address and 2) if SLAAC is used you now have a central point where you can look up the MAC-IPv6 bindings (comparable to the DHCP server lease for legacy IPv4).

# PAN NGFW IPv6 NDP RA RDNSS & DNSSL

Haha, do you like acronyms as much as I do? This article is about the feature from Palo Alto Networks’ Next-Generation Firewall for Internet Protocol version 6 Neighbor Discovery Protocol Router Advertisements with Recursive Domain Name System Server and Domain Name System Search List options. ;) I am showing how to use it and how Windows and Linux react on it.