Tag Archives: Palo Alto Networks

Stateful DHCPv6 Capture (along with Relaying)

For my IPv6 training classes, I was missing a capture of a stateful DHCPv6 address assignment. That is: M-flag within the RA, followed by DHCPv6 messages handing out an IPv6 address among others. Therefore, I set up a DHCPv6 server on an Infoblox grid and furthermore used a Palo Alto NGFW as a DHCPv6 relay to it. I captured on two points: from the client’s point of view (getting to the relay) and from the server’s point of view (unicast messages from the relay). And since I was already there anyway, I additionally captured the same process for DHCPv4. So, here we go:

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Palo Alto: Instant Commit

Finally! With PAN-OS 11.0 Palo Alto Networks introduced an “instant commit”. That is: You no longer have to commit (and wait and wait and wait) until your changes are live, but everything you do is IMMEDIATELY active. Just as on any other firewall, e.g., the Fortis.

Here is how you can enable it along with some use cases and drawbacks:

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Who sends TCP RSTs?

At SharkFest’22 EU, the Annual Wireshark User and Developer Conference, I attended a beginners’ course called “Network Troubleshooting from Scratch”, taught by the great Jasper Bongertz. In the end, we had some high-level discussions concerning various things, one of them was the insight that TCP RSTs are not only sent from a server in case the port is closed, but are also commonly sent (aka spoofed) from firewalls in case a security policy denies the connection. Key question: Can you distinguish between those spoofed vs. real TCP RSTs? Initially, I thought: no, you can’t, cause the firewalls out there do a great job.

It turned out: you can!

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Palo Packet Capture: Choosing the Right Filter

Palo Alto firewalls have a nice packet capture feature. It enables you to capture packets as they traverse the firewall. While you might be familiar with the four stages that the Palo can capture (firewall, drop, transmit, receive), it’s sometimes hard to set the correct filter – especially when it comes to NAT scenarios. (At least it was hard for me…)

I am using the packet capture feature very often for scenarios in which the IP connections are in fact working (hence no problems at the tx/rx level nor on the security policy/profile) but where I want to verify certain details of the connection itself. I’m simply using the Palo as a capturing device here, similar to a SPAN port on a switch. (Yes, I’m aware of all disadvantages of not using a real TAP and a real capture device.) In the end, I want a single pcap which shows all relevant packets for a client-server connection, even if NAT is in place. Wireshark should be able to correlate the incoming/outgoing packets into a single TCP stream. Furthermore, I definitely want to use a filter to limit the amount of captured packets. This is how I’m doing it:

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PAN: Logging of Packet-Based Attack Protection Events e.g. Spoofed IP

I just had a hard time figuring out that a network routing setup was not working due to a correctly enforced IP Spoofing protection on a Palo Alto Networks firewall. Why was it a hard time? Because I did not catch that the IP spoofing protection kicked in since there were no logs. And since we do log *everything*, a non-existent log means nothing happened, right? Uhm, not in this case. Luckily you can (SHOULD!) enable an additional thread log on the Palo.

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Palo Alto Syslog via TLS

As we have just set up a TLS capable syslog server, let’s configure a Palo Alto Networks firewall to send syslog messages via an encrypted channel. While it was quite straightforward to configure I ran into a couple of (unresolved) problems as I added and deleted some syslog servers and their certificates. Uhm.

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Palo Alto: User Group Count Exceeds Threshold

We have run into an annoying situation: A hardware-dependent limit of user groups on a Palo Alto Next-Generation Firewall. That is: We cannot use more Active Directory groups at our firewalls. The weird thing about this: We don’t need that many synced groups on our Palo, but we have to do it that way since we are using nested groups for our users. That is: Palo Alto does not support nested groups out of the box, but needs all intermediary groups to retrieve the users which results in a big number of unnecessary groups.

I am asking you to give me some input on how you’re using user groups on the Palo. How are you using group filters? What count of AD groups do you have? Are you using nested groups (which is best practice)?

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Palo Alto Networks Cluster “not synchronized”

For whatever reason, I had a Palo Alto Networks cluster that was not able to sync. A manual sync was not working, nor did a reboot of both devices (sequentially) help. Finally, the PAN support told me to “Export device state” on the active unit, import it on the passive one, do some changes, and commit. Indeed, this fixed it. A little more details:

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Route-Based VPN Tunnel Palo Alto <-> Cisco ASA

More than 6 years ago (!) I published a tutorial on how to set up an IPsec VPN tunnel between a Palo Alto Networks firewall and a Cisco ASA. As time flies by, ASA is now able to terminate route-based VPN tunnels (which is great!), we have IKEv2 running everywhere and enhanced security proposals. Hence, it’s time for an update:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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