PaloAlto GlobalProtect Gateway Test

The security subscriptions on the Palo Alto Firewall allows you to safely enable applications, users and content by adding natively integrated protection from known and unknown threats both on and off the network. These security subscriptions are purpose-built to share context and prevent threats at every stage of an attack, allowing you to enable singular policies and automated protection that secure your network and remote workforce while simplifying management and enabling your business. Some of these subscriptions are:

  • AutoFocus
  • GlobalProtect
  • URL Filtering PAN-DB
  • Threat Prevention and
  • WildFire

In a corporate environment, most of the employees prefer to work outside of their corporate boundaries due to various reasons like travel, work from home facility etc. Though this increased workforce mobility would increase the productivity of the employees along with flexibility, it also simultaneously introduces significant security threats to the corporate environment. The GlobalProtect provides a complete infrastructure for managing the mobile workforce of a corporate by enabling secure access to all the users, regardless of what devices they are using or where they are located. The GlobalProtect infrastructure comprises of the following components:

  • GlobalProtect Portal
  • GlobalProtect gateways
  • GlobalProtect Client and
  • GlobalProtect Mobile Security

Every client system that participates in the GlobalProtect network receives configuration information from the portal, including information about available gateways as well as any client certificates that may be required to connect to the GlobalProtect gateway(s) and/or the Mobile Security Manager. In addition, the portal controls the behavior and distribution of the GlobalProtect agent software to both Mac and Windows laptops. (On mobile devices, the GlobalProtect app is distributed through the Apple App Store for iOS devices or through Google Play for Android devices). If you are using the Host Information Profile (HIP) feature, the portal also defines what information to collect from the host, including any custom information you require. The two types of configuring the GlobalProtect gateway are:

  • External gateways - Provide security enforcement and/or virtual private network (VPN) access for your remote users. VPN access is provided through an IPSec or SSL tunnel between the client and a tunnel interface on the gateway firewall.
  • Internal gateways - An interface on the internal network configured as a GlobalProtect gateway for applying security policy for access to internal resources. When used in conjunction with User-ID and/or HIP checks, an internal gateway can be used to provide a secure, accurate method of identifying and controlling traffic by user and/or device state. Internal gateways are useful in sensitive environments where authenticated access to critical resources is required. You can configure an internal gateway in either tunnel mode or non-tunnel mode.

Whenever an infrastructure is accessed from an external network, administrators should keep constant vigil on the traffic flowing through the established tunnels. The same logic applies to the tunnels that were created to access an infrastructure that is guarded using the Palo Alto Firewall with the GlobalProtect subscription. If the number of tunnels suddenly increases or if the GloblaProtect gateway is utilized to the maximum frequently, then the firewall may not function efficiently resulting in a few tunnels hogging the bandwidth resources and choking the network! To avoid this, administrators should periodically check the number of tunnels and the utilization of the GlobalProtect gateways. This is where the PaloAlto GlobalProtect Gateway Utilizations test helps!

This test continuously monitors the GlobalProtect subscription enabled Palo Alto Firewall and reports the number of tunnels created on the firewall using the GlobalProtect subscription and the utilization of the GlobalProtect gateways. Using this test, administrators can easily identify malicious threats to their network if the number of tunnels are abnormally high and fine-tune the number of GlobalProtect gateways if the gateway utilization is high throughout.

Note:

This test will report metrics only if you have subscribed to GlobalProtect.

Target of the test : A Palo Alto Firewall

Agent deploying the test : An external agent

Outputs of the test : One set of results for the firewall being monitored.

The figure below depicts the test configuration page of this test. Click on the parameters in the figure below to know what they are and how to configure them.

Configurable parameters for the test
Parameter Description

Test Period

How often should the test be executed.

Host

The IP address of the host for which this test is to be configured.

Port

Enter the port number at which the specified host listens to. By default, this is Null.

SNMPPort

The port at which the monitored target exposes its SNMP MIB; The default value is 161.

SNMPVersion

By default, the eG agent supports SNMP version 1. Accordingly, the default selection in the SNMPVersion list is v1. However, if a different SNMP framework is in use in your environment, say SNMP v2 or v3, then select the corresponding option from this list.

SNMPCommunity

The SNMP community name that the test uses to communicate with the firewall. This parameter is specific to SNMP v1 and v2 only. Therefore, if the SNMPVersion chosen is v3, then this parameter will not appear.

UserName

This parameter appears only when v3 is selected as the SNMPVersion. SNMP version 3 (SNMPv3) is an extensible SNMP Framework which supplements the SNMPv2 Framework, by additionally supporting message security, access control, and remote SNMP configuration capabilities. To extract performance statistics from the MIB using the highly secure SNMP v3 protocol, the eG agent has to be configured with the required access privileges – in other words, the eG agent should connect to the MIB using the credentials of a user with access permissions to be MIB. Therefore, specify the name of such a user against this parameter. 

Context

This parameter appears only when v3 is selected as the SNMPVersion. An SNMP context is a collection of management information accessible by an SNMP entity. An item of management information may exist in more than one context and an SNMP entity potentially has access to many contexts. A context is identified by the SNMPEngineID value of the entity hosting the management information (also called a contextEngineID) and a context name that identifies the specific context (also called a contextName). If the Username provided is associated with a context name, then the eG agent will be able to poll the MIB and collect metrics only if it is configured with the context name as well. In such cases therefore, specify the context name of the Username in the Context text box.  By default, this parameter is set to none.

AuthPass

Specify the password that corresponds to the above-mentioned Username. This parameter once again appears only if the SNMPVersion selected is v3.

Confirm Password

Confirm the AuthPass by retyping it here.

AuthType

This parameter too appears only if v3 is selected as the SNMPversion. From the Authtype list box, choose the authentication algorithm using which SNMP v3 converts the specified username and password into a 32-bit format to ensure security of SNMP transactions. You can choose between the following options:

  • MD5 – Message Digest Algorithm
  • SHA – Secure Hash Algorithm

EncryptFlag

This flag appears only when v3 is selected as the SNMPversion. By default, the eG agent does not encrypt SNMP requests. Accordingly, the this flag is set to No by default. To ensure that SNMP requests sent by the eG agent are encrypted, select the Yes option. 

EncryptType

If this EncryptFlag is set to Yes, then you will have to mention the encryption type by selecting an option from the EncryptType list. SNMP v3 supports the following encryption types:

  • DES – Data Encryption Standard
  • AES – Advanced Encryption Standard

EncryptPassword

Specify the encryption password here.

Confirm Password

Confirm the encryption password by retyping it here.

Timeout

Specify the duration (in seconds) within which the SNMP query executed by this test should time out in this text box. The default is 10 seconds.

Data Over TCP

By default, in an IT environment, all data transmission occurs over UDP. Some environments however, may be specifically configured to offload a fraction of the data traffic – for instance, certain types of data traffic or traffic pertaining to specific components – to other protocols like TCP, so as to prevent UDP overloads. In such environments, you can instruct the eG agent to conduct the SNMP data traffic related to the monitored target over TCP (and not UDP). For this, set this flag to Yes. By default, this flag is set to No.

Measurements made by the test
Measurement Description Measurement unit Interpretation

Active tunnels

Indicates the number of tunnels that are currently active on the firewall using the GlobalProtect subscription.

Number

If the value of this measure is consistently high or if the value of this measure exceeds the maximum number of tunnels that are allowed, then administrators should analyze what exactly has increased the number of tunnels? - is the genuine user activity the real reason behind the increase in tunnels or is there any malicious activity or spam that is increasing the number of tunnels?

GlobalProtect gateway utilization

Indicates the percentage utilization of the GlobalProtect gateway.

Percentage

A consistently high value for this measure is a cause of concern. Administrators should therefore consider increasing the number of GlobalProtect gateways.