Fortinet – Common PCI/Security audit issues

This is an ongoing blog, and one that I will update often will things that come up in security audits.

Companies are always getting external audits to make sure they comply with policies and have no outstanding vulnerabilities with their systems. This is great, but sometime the Fortigate will get pinged on SSL/SSH encryption level issues. The following blog is a few helpful commands that can get the Fortinet to pass inspection by disabling the lowest or least secure SSL and SSH protocols. Also below I have put in excerpts from a few scans.

Issue 1:


Error: TLS Version 1 Protocol Detection – So the above was an issue with TLS Version 1.0 being enabled on port 443 (My SSL VPN port). So, we need to remove TLS 1.0 from the accepted protocols on the VPN.

The commands to do that are:

config vpn ssl settings
    set tlsv1-1 disable

The disables TLSv1 from the SSL VPN

Next issue

  • Vulnerability Details 116818

This host is susceptible to the SSL version 3 POODLE (Padding Oracle On Downgraded Legacy Encryption) attack. By using SSL version 3 and CBC Mode ciphers this host can allow an attacker to expose encrypted data in a connection between the client and server. Impact: Over time, an attacker can steal sensitive information between the client and the server using this man in the middle attack. Hosts may default to a more secure protocol (TLS 1.2, for example), but a network attacker could potentially trigger a reconnection causing the browser to retry older protocols (SSL version 3).

The above error basically says that SSL Version 3 was enabled on SSL VPN port. Just like before we will disable that

config vpn ssl settings
    set sslv3 disable
set tlsv1-0 disable
set tlsv1-1 disable

This turns of SSLV3 from the SSL VPN supported protocols.

This Entry will be updated as I find more from going through audits.

Fortigate – Simple device hardening

As always has the best information.

Firewalls almost always interface with the internet, and most of the time we enable remote access from the internet to make our lives easier when troubleshooting an issue, and maybe not being behind the firewall at the time. The best why to secure the device is just not enable access from insecure locations, but some times we have to enable it.

There are a few simple things we can do to help elevate vulnerable spots when allowing access from the internet.

  • Enable a password policy
  • Modify lockout policy/duration if needed
  • Allow admin access from only Trusted hosts
  • Modify default access TCP ports
  • Create a new admin account named something different, and then delete the default admin account.
  • Make sure a log in banner is active – Certain cyber laws need explicit notification that the user attempting login should have authorization.
  • Use dual factor authentication to gain admin access to the device.
  • Logging , always logging!

This blog is written with both 5.2 and 5.4 firmwares.

Enabling a password policy

This is great to do if you have multiple accounts on the device. This way a user cannot change their super complex password to something with 3-4 letters. A password policy enforces certain specifics to the password. For example you can set the character requirements as well as password reuse/expiration. Check out the below images for 5.2 and 5.4. Notice you can enable this for VPN accounts and admin accounts.





Login failure lockout duration and Threshold

When you mistype your password 3 times by default you are locked out of the firewall for 5 minutes (All docs say 60 seconds though). This is a great defense against applications that attempts to brute for the firewall user/pass. Increasing the time the user is locked out can be a good idea to keep the bad guys from knocking, but could also really put a damper in your day if you lock yourself out for X amount of time.

But the commands to lower or increase it are the same in both firmware’s:

config sys global

set admin-lockout-duration X (seconds)


To increase the threshold (how many incorrect login attempts you can have)

config sys global

set admin-lockout-threshold (1-10 attempts)


Only allow logins from Trusted hosts

Why allow logins from anywhere on the internet, when you know if you logged in it would come from only a few sources.


Under the administrators options, you can select the trusted hosts (IP networks) that can login with the Mirazon account in this case. You could also modify the default admin account.




Change default port numbers used for logins

I was in a debate one time about the security of changing default port numbers, and a friend said “Changing your login port numbers is as secure as hiding your keys under the front door mat.” He was most certainly correct, but security by obscurity is better than nothing. By changing the default port numbers from 443,80 some bots that try to log in will not find the open login due to different ports that are not in its scanning script.

In the following examples I am changing the default port of 443 to 8081.






In summary there are tons of things to do to increase device security. One of the most important, if you don’t need to allow remote logins to the device, why even enable it? Disable the login options under the interface. I believe the best practice is to have an out of band management PC that might connect directly into the MGMT port. To access the FW you have to access this machine.

Changing Port numbers and implementing the other options are great ways to help reduce login failure attempts, or unauthorized access. Another great option, not explained here is using dual factor authentication. By default you get two licenses for two factor – why not use it for admin access!

The importance of logging is one thing that cannot be underestimated. When logging is enabled you know exactly what happened – if someone tried to log in, from where, what username, and if they failed or were successful.

These were just a few of the many ways to increase device security.

Link to login banner blog:


Recently we were troubleshooting some network issues with a Cisco 1242  AP that suddenly stopped communicating with our WLC.

Controller firmware is 8.0.133

We consoled into the AP and found logs that looked like below. Then we logged into the WLC and saw similar logs.

*spamApTask0:  %LWAPP-3-PAYLOAD_MISSING: spam_lrad.c:6433  Join request does not contain BOARD_DATA payload
*spamApTask5:  %CAPWAP-3-DECODE_ERR: capwap_ac_sm.c:4702 Error decoding Join request from AP 00:26:0b:10:34:70
*spamApTask6:  %DTLS-3-HANDSHAKE_FAILURE: openssl_dtls.c:844 Failed to complete DTLS handshake with peer
*spamApTask2:  %DTLS-3-HANDSHAKE_FAILURE: openssl_dtls.c:844 Failed to complete DTLS handshake with peer
*spamApTask6:  %CAPWAP-3-DECODE_ERR: capwap_ac_sm.c:4702 Error decoding Join request from AP 00:26:0b:10:34:70
*spamApTask5:  %DTLS-3-HANDSHAKE_FAILURE: openssl_dtls.c:844 Failed to complete DTLS handshake with peer
*spamApTask0:  %LWAPP-3-DECODE_ERR: spam_lrad.c:2364 Error decoding join request from AP 00:19:aa:35:10:88
*spamApTask0:  %LWAPP-3-KEY_ERR3: spam_crypto.c:1630 The system is unable to free public key for AP 00:19:aa:35:10:88
*spamApTask0:  %LWAPP-3-PAYLOAD_ERR: spam_lrad.c:7931 Join request does not contain valid certificate in certificate payload – AP 00:19:aa:35:10:88

Seems the AP cert had expired. To get around this we had to enable a command in the WLC that ignored the AP cert. The happened because the Manufacturer Installed Certificate (MIC) has now become older than ten years and has expired. This will not be accepted now.

I SSH’d into the controller and ran the below command:

config ap cert-expiry-ignore mic enable

This allowed the AP to come back online immediately.


Brocade MGMT Vlan

I recently installed quite a few Brocade 6450 switches. Great switches by the way, easy to use, very full CLI, great hardware. Most of Brocades (given its a L3 switch) switches support both routing code and switching code. I mostly deploy the Routing code, just my preference. But, in this scenario the 6450 was being deployed for a very small classroom, and no need to setup the routing interface, etc. so the instructions are for a switch running Switching code – you can check VIA show version command.

In this case we have a very specific vlan for management of networking gear, so I need the IP/GW to be on the vlan – in this case vlan 255. Below is how

Lets first create the vlan in CLI:

config t

vlan 255 name MGMT
 tagged ethe 1/2/1   (My uplink port)
 ip address
 default-gateway 1

Lets run over a few things here.

  • First the vlan has to be tagged on a port, or untagged to actually show up in the config. Here I am tagging my uplink port 1/2/1
  • The management-vlan command has to be used on the Vlan you want for management, otherwise its the default vlan setup in the switch which by default is 1.
  • the default gateway commands needs the metric of the IP at the end. You can specify a value from 1 – 5. There is no default. The software uses the gateway with the lowest metric.

Fortigate 5.4 – Named policies

Fortigate has done a great job with the 5.4 firmware. Its a big change from 5.2 but once you get going with it, you will find things are structured very well. For example the “Monitor” category is a great way to get everything you need, instead of going through each individual category.

One feature of 5.4 that really “Grinds my gears” is the named policy feature. The feature itself is awesome, great way to put in a name on a policy such as “Students to internet”.. etc.  But, they make it mandatory to put in a name by default. What’s so aggregating about this is that if you upgrade to 5.4 from 5.2 all of your policies are unnamed, so when you modify one of those existing policies you HAVE to put in a name. The following will show how to turn that feature off, so it is not mandatory you put in a name. You still can, just don’t have to.

Below you will see what happens when you try to create that policy , and the the feature has not been disabled. You get the “This field is required.” error. It will not let you create or modify the policy until that is filled in.


To disable this feature, go to system-Feature select- then check “Allow unnamed policies”. Once you press Apply this will let you bypass the mandatory name feature.


Cisco ASA VPN Spoke to Spoke communication in 8.3 and later

This configuration was in ASA 8.4

Spoke to spoke communication has always been super easy in ASA Site to Site VPNs. As long as your CRYPTO ACL has the remote subnets in it, and NO-NAT Statements are there  everything pretty much works.

The other day I had an issue getting it to work. After some research I was still struggling. All of my remote sites were in my Crypto ACL, my VPN was up and working to the hub, and any subnet behind the hub would work, but access to other IPSEC tunnels connected behind were not working. See rough sketch of the network below.


I checked Nat statements, looked great, but my traffic was not flowing. I decided to debug via ASDM this is the error I received.


Routing failed to locate next hop for ICMP then my outside (Louisville), and inside (Italy) address.

Other examples are:

Routing failed to locate next hop for TCP then my outside (Louisville), and inside (Italy) address.

Routing failed to locate next hop for UDP then my outside (Louisville), and inside (Italy) address.

Well, does not live inside my firewall – it should be connected to the outside (US-Signal) VIA the VPN. Boom, that’s when it clicked. My nat statement is wrong, well not wrong, just missing. Since these connections are connecting to my outside network, and then going to my outside network – I need to create the nat statement with the source interface and destination interface being US-Signal.

A few things to note about the below statement – I put it at the top of my manual nat entries, and notice the interface – both are US-Signal my outside interface.

object network Louisville-Subnet

object network Italy-Subnet

nat (US-Signal,US-Signal) source static Louisville-Subnet Louisville-Subnet destination static Italy-Subnet Italy-Subnet no-proxy-arp route-lookup

As soon as I added this statement everything worked great. All of my spoke to spoke communication flowed through the hub perfectly.





Fortigate: GRE tunnel creation

A GRE (Genereic Routing Encapsulation) is a tunneling protocol that allows data to be encapsulated and sent over a simulated point-to-point link. The beauty of it is that it will encapsulate many different types of traffic and De-encapsulate it on the other. This basically means any traffic sent to the tunnel interface will be stuffed it in a envelope and sent to the remote gateway, removed from the envelope,  and forwarded normally. The network which the traffic is being routed across  only sees GRE and not the individual IP header. A GRE tunnel can be used with or without IPSEC for encryption. This blog entry creates a tunnel WITHOUT IPSEC.

This is not only a one of the only ways to get Routing updates/traffic such as OSPF across a IPSEC VPN, but also is a wonderful troubleshooting option.I have seen this be a great troubleshooting tool when an MPLS might be blocking traffic.

Recently I have utilized a GRE tunnel  to tunnel all multicast traffic across a MPLS network that does not support multicast. By tunneling all the Mulicast data, the MPLS only saw GRE packets and the multicast streams worked great.

In this post I will demonstrate how to create a GRE tunnel between two Fortigate firewalls. Traffic will then be encapsulated from the source and de-encapsulated and forwarded normally on the remote end point. Most of the GRE configuration within the Fortigate is CLI only and not something that can be configured in the GUI.

Steps needed

  • Create System GRE tunnel, Assign local and remote gateways (WAN IPs)
  • Modify system interface GRE settings and assign local/remote tunnel IPs (Tunnel IPs)
  • Create Firewall policies to allow traffic
  • Create routes to remote side of the tunnel , and select GRE tunnel as destination interface
  • Test

The process is relatively straight forward and simple. First we need to create our GRE tunnel. The two sites we will be creating the tunnel on are Site-A, and Site-B.

Here is an overview of the network


Site A

CLI commandsconfig system gre-tunnel
edit “GRE-to-SITEB”
set interface “WAN1”
set remote-gw    — Remote firewall WAN IP
set local-gw          — Local FW WAN1 IP

config system interface
edit “GRE-to-SiteB”
set vdom “root”
set ip    — Local Tunnel IP
set allowaccess ping
set type tunnel
set remote-ip                  — Remote Tunnel Endpoint IP
set snmp-index 65
set interface “WAN1”

Route CreationGRE-overview.JPG

Now we can create the static route pointing my remote traffic ( through the GRE-to-SiteB GRE tunnel.


Firewall Policy creation

Next we need to create the Firewall policies allowing traffic from the GRE-Tunnel and to the GRE-Tunnel from the LAN interface or whichever interface your traffic originates on.




GRE Tunnel creation

config system gre-tunnel
edit “GRE-to-SITEA”
set interface “wan1”
set remote-gw
set local-gw

config system interface
edit “GRE-to-SITEA”
set vdom “root”
set ip
set allowaccess ping
set type tunnel
set remote-ip
set snmp-index 8
set interface “wan1”

Route Creation

Now we can create the static route pointing my remote traffic ( through the GRE-to-SiteA GRE tunnel.


Firewall Policy creation

Next we need to create the Firewall policies allowing traffic from the GRE-Tunnel and to the GRE-Tunnel from the LAN interface or whichever interface your traffic originates on.


That should be it.

Now lets see if we can ping across our tunnel. As shown below pings work great! Pinging both the tunnel interface and across the tunnel are great ways to check if this tunnel is actually working. Odds are if you have enabled ping on the tunnel interface, and cannot ping it from the other side then the tunnel is not working. Also, check the Firewall policy count to make sure it is increasing with traffic – if so everything is working .





Fortigate – Changing outbound nat IP with IP Pools

Sometimes it is necessary to change IP address used to talk with the internet that the internal client is using. For instance it is always important to make sure your SMTP server is using the same outbound IP used for inbound traffic. I have seen this cause a good many mail servers to be blacklisted by ISPs. In the following entry we will change the IP the client is using for outbound nat.

This technique has many awesome benefits, you can nat into this IP (IP pool) only when going to a certain destination.. etc. For example, if you had to change your source IP when accessing a destination across a VPN tunnel. That example might be very important in a medical field where I have found you almost always have to nat your private traffic to a public address when accessing the VPN hosts.

The internal client address is, external IP is In this example I only want this one internal client to be natted out of

So we have to create a Virtual IP pool . We create the Virtual IP pool by going to Policy and objects – objects – IP Pools

IP pool-create

We then can setup the pool. Notice the options

– Overload allows PAT, so many ip addresses, to one public.
– One-to-One allows one IP to that public IP
– We also have the option to nat into a Public Range of addresses

We also want this device to answer VIA Arp for

Now lets create our IPv4 Policy to allow our private IP address to be allowed to the internet (WAN1) and to be natted VIA this IP pool. I created the address object for my private host already.


So after creating our IPV4 policy, we have one thing left to do – make sure this is one of our first policies hit when tries to access the internet. So lets make sure its at the top of our list, or at least above our default nat rule.


That’s it! if you now go to a site such as or you will see if you are coming from

Fortinet – Creating vlans for devices directly connected to device

The other day I had the need to plug a Ruckus Access point directly into the Fortigate firewall. The client only needed 1 AP, and connecting directly into one of the ports on the Fortigate was the best way – PoE was provided by an injector.

The question came up of how to create the Vlan interface when directly connecting the device to Fortigate.

In this example I will create the vlan on the Internal switch “lan”, and control the vlan from the Ruckus Zonedirector. This will create two separate logical interfaces. Internal, and Staff-Wireless, my newly created vlan.  These two interfaces will require IPV4 policies to allow communication. If you have a lot of VLANs it might be a great idea to utilize Zones in the FW to reduce the number of firewall policies needed.

Lets get started

Vlan creation of Fortigate

So, lets create the vlan for “Staff-Wifi” Vlan 200. You can just create


Now lets put in the needed info.


The below shows the status of the interface:


Notice the VLAN ID – this is seen by right clicking the column settings and enabling that.

Thats it! The Ruckus AP will tag “Staff-Wireless” traffic as vlan 200. So, when the FGT sees the vlan tag of 200 on any ports in the lan switch, it will be treated as Staff-Wifi, thus getting all of its network and policies.

To make the AP work correctly, it needs to be plugged directly into the FGT or a switch behind the FGT that has the vlan created and that vlan would need to be tagged on both the AP and uplink to Fortigate.

Below shows the advanced options of my Ruckus  ZD. I am tagging the Staff-Wifi SSID as vlan 200.


Remember on the Ruckus side only vlan 200 is being tagged for Staff-wifi AP management traffic is untagged – so it would be on my “LAN” switch network.


Cisco ASA 8.4+ manual nat – the only way to nat!

Before learning the more about Manual or “Twice Nat” I would use individual object NAT (Auto NAT) for my incoming services, and use Manual NAT for my No-NAT or if I had to NAT VPN traffic before encryption (Policy NAT).

Recently though I started using it for everything. Once you get the hang of it, it is much more applicable to everyday NAT needs.

Something to note about Manual NAT:

  • Processed before Auto NAT (Nat under the object command)
  • Considers source, or source and destination together (Policy)
    • For example – I need to  NAT traffic to this IP, only when it goes to this network
  • Configured directly from global config
  • Uses objects only, cannot specify direct IPs
  • Can specify to come after auto NAT.

Lets get started with a few examples. A list of all examples is below:

Static NAT – Public address/server to Private address/service

Group/Range of services forwarded into private server

Port redirection

Dynamic NAT

Policy Based Nat

Something to always note – 8.3 and above firmware’s require you to put in the private or real ip address of destination , not the public or Natted address.

Static NAT – Public address/server to Private address/service

Lets say my internal web servers  is at The external IP I am using is I want to NAT in only HTTP (80) traffic to my server. No problem.

Lets create the our address Objects

object service OBJ-TCP-80
 service tcp source eq 80

object network OBJ-
object network OBJ-

Great! Now lets create our Manual nat rule to allow that traffic in.

nat (inside,outside) source static OBJ- service OBJ-TCP-80 OBJ-TCP-80

Thats it, we would create our ACL to allow traffic to the Private host (Remember that, big time change in 8.3) and that’s it. Our traffic would be natted from Public, to Private port 80.

The next example will be a 1 to 1 NAT from our private object created above, to our public object also created above.

NAT (inside,outside) source static OBJ- OBJ-

Modify the ACL to allow traffic to and traffic should make it to the host.


Forward in a group or range of services

In this example we will forward in a group of service objects. Lets say HTTP, HTTPS, and SSH . Still using our local/public hosts. You have two options, 1 create a service group full of existing objects, or create a group of Service-objects. Int the below example I will create a group of predefined objects. This is due to having so many different configurations of groups.

object service OBJ-TCP-80
 service tcp source eq 80

object service OBJ-TCP-443
 service tcp source eq 443

object service OBJ-TCP-22
 service tcp source eq 22

object-group service Web-services
group-object OBJ-TCP-80
group-object OBJ-TCP-443
group-object OBJ-TCP-22

object network OBJ-
object network OBJ-

So now our NAT rule:

nat (inside,outside) source static OBJ- service Web-services Web-services


Port redirection

Sometimes we have the need to make a port such as 8080 on the outside go to our websever on the inside at port 80. The below example shows how to do that. In this example we will forward in port 8080 on our public IP to port 80 on our private webserver. First we need to create the objects for the service and networking addresses, and then apply the nat rule – an don’t forget our ACL. To help visualize whats happening here look at the format of the rule:

nat (source interface,destination interface) source static object ((private) IP) object ( Natted (Public IP))  service Private-Service Public-Service

object service OBJ-TCP-80
 service tcp source eq 80

object service OBJ-TCP-8080
 service tcp source eq 8080

object network OBJ-
object network OBJ-

So now our nat rule:
nat (inside,outside) source static OBJ- service OBJ-TCP-80 OBJ-TCP-8080


Dynamic NAT

I like to usually do this through Auto nat, but you can most definitely do this through Manual.

object network OBJ-

nat (inside,outside) source dynamic OBJ- interface

You could also specify “any” instead of the internal address object, or specify the public IP you want to be natted to instead of “interface”.


Policy Based manual NAT

Manual NAT is the only way I believe that Policy based natting is done. You would use this if you had to NAT traffic into some other IP when going to a certain destination address. In this example lets say we need to NAT traffic from int when going to destination This comes up a lot in healthcare when both sides need to nat into a Public address so there are no address conflicts.

Lets first create our objects, then our Nat rule.

object network OBJ-
object network OBJ-
 host 3.3.3
object network OBJ-

So now our nat rule:

nat (inside,outside) source static OBJ- OBJ- destination static OBJ- OBJ-

This reads that whenever is going to, nat into This might help:

nat (inside,outside) source static Private-IP Natted-IP destination static Real-destination Natted-Destination

So, if this was used for a VPN you would just create an Crypto-ACL and the source would be your Natted-IP, and destination would be your or whatever address lives across the tunnel that you set as your NAT destination.