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FortiWeb is a Firewall service powered by the web application (WAF) which provides safety to any applications hosted on the web from threats that target these web servers. Using multi-layered and correlated detection techniques; FortiWeb secures applications from known vulnerabilities. FortiWeb hardware and virtual machine platforms are available for small & medium scale, large enterprises, as well as service providers.
FortiWeb’s HTTP firewall and denial-of-service (DoS) attack prevention technologies secure our web applications from attack. It uses complex methodologies to offer bidirectional security against complicated risks similar to SQL injection, across the site scripting (XSS) attacks; FortiWeb also defends against threats like identity theft, financial fraud, and corporate espionage. FortiWeb offers the tools needed to monitor and enforce regulations, industry best practices, and internal security policies, including firewalling and patching requirements.
FortiWeb is deployed as a one-arm to fit pology but is more commonly positioned in line to intercept all incoming client connections and redistribute them to servers. FortiWeb has TCP and HTTP-specific firewalling capabilities. Since FortiWeb is not designed to provide security to non HTTP/HTTPS web applications, it can be deployed behind a firewall such as FortiGate that focuses on safety for other protocols, including FTP and SSH. Once FortiWeb is used, it can configure from a web browser or terminal emulator on the central computer.
Enabling HTTP Public Key Pinning (HPKP), FortiWeb inserts a header into the server's response header field when handling client requests. The inserted header specifies an exclusive cryptographic public key, with which the client accesses the server. Specifying a public key for accessing the webserver lessens the chances of the MITM risks with fake certificates and compromised CAs.
FortiWeb supports OCSP (Online Certificate Status Protocol) stapling, an alternative method to OCSP in which the certificate holder occasionally requests the revocation status of certificates of servers from OCSP servers and attaches the time-stamped response to the initial SSL/TLS handshake between clients and servers. This relocates the resource load of checking the revocation status of certificates from the client to the presenter of the certificate and reduces the total number of queries to OCSP servers.
FortiWeb now protects against credential stuffing attacks. Enabling Credential Stuffing Defense, username, and password credentials in a web server login attempt are processed in the database to verify whether it is a spilled username/password pair or not. Using this feature requires FortiGuard.
Up to eight FortiWebs can be deployed as an Active-Active HA cluster in Reverse Proxy or True Transparent Proxy modes. The master unit in the cluster distributes all incoming traffic to other cluster members, including itself according to the specified load-balancing algorithm: packet source IP, least number of processing connections, or round-robin.
Seventeen new HTTP protocol constraints have been added in the updated versions of FortiWeb. Eight of them are added to govern the specific HTTP/2 header fields, they are:
The others are as following:
Additionally, in the Web UI page of HTTP Protocol Constraints, a new table column named HTTP Protocol Support has been, introduced to indicate the HTTP version that a constraint can be, applied to.
Constraint exceptions are, added correspondingly for the five new HTTP constraints:
Site publishing allows Android clients to access Microsoft Exchange servers through Exchange ActiveSync. While a site-publishing rule is, configured for Exchange ActiveSync, single sign-on, authentication cookie & Kerberos authentication are not available, HTTP Basic Authentication is the only method to authenticate the clients.
Geo IP database is a dedicated database, added to enhance FortiWeb's GEO IP for identifying exact locations of IPv6 addresses. It is no longer required to periodically, upload the GEO IP database. FortiWeb automatically updates the database from the FortiGuard Distribution Servers. The interface of manually uploading of the database is, kept for those deployments that do not have an Internet connection.
The cookie poisoning settings are now a part of the new cookie security policy, which allows administrators to configure additional methods to prevent cookie-based attacks. For example, we can encrypt the cookies issued by a backend server or add security attributes to them.
The new user-tracking feature allows us to track sessions by a user, capture a username to reference in traffic, and attack log messages. We can use this feature to prevent a session fixation attack and set a time period during which FortiWeb blocks requests with a session ID from a timed-out session.
Ans: When the operation mode is in reverse proxy, we can select the versions of SSL and TLS and which cipher suites are supported for connections between FortiWeb and an individual server pool member. For true transparent proxy and WCCP modes, these apply to connections between FortiWeb and the server pool member as well as SSL/TLS offloading.
The threat-scoring feature allows us to configure the policies of signature in any organization to take punitive measures based on various signature violations on any client, instead of a single signature violation. When any client violates a signature in the threat-scoring category, it contributes to a combined threat score. When the combined threat score exceeds maximum value that is specified, FortiWeb takes action. We can specify the combined threat scores; the calculation is based, on HTTP transactions or sessions, or TCP sessions.
When the operation mode is transparent in the inspection or offline protection and Period Block is the action, FortiWeb takes against traffic that violates a policy. FortiWeb attempts to block a client that has violated the policy for the length of time, specified by the Block Period.
Service Denial (DoS) attack or distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS attack) is an attempt to overpower a web server, making the resources unavailable to its intended users. DoS assaults involve opening a vast number of sessions at various OSI layers and keeping them open as long as possible to overpower the server by consuming its available sockets. Most DoS attacks use automated tools instead of any browsers to create the harmful and enormous number of requests sent to a web server.
A botnet is a threat that utilizes zombies, which were previously infected, distributed globally, to overpower the server directed by the command on control servers. Examples are LOIC, HOIC, and Zeus.
When the FortiWeb operates a Reverse Proxy manner, it offers start-to-end HTTP/2 security that needs both the clients & HTTP/2 servers running at the back-end. Moreover, when the web servers at the back end do not support HTTP/2, FortiWeb offers the HTTP/2 defense with data change protocols between the HTTP/2 clients & the HTTP/1.1 servers at the back-end. This permits the user to enjoy HTTP/2 benefits without having to upgrade their back web servers.
An HA pair might not resume their active and standby roles when the failed appliance resumes responsiveness to the heartbeat. Since the currently active device will be having a greater uploading time than a failed & active device, which has come online, assumes each has the matching number of the available ports, the device which is currently active usually holds its standing as the active device, unless it has been enabled to override. If it is enabled, and the appliance setting of the returning device that is higher, will be selected as the currently active device in the cluster.
Proxies known as True transparent & transparent inspection, are similar to any topology aspect. Due to the differentiation in the mode of data interception, both have only some behavioral differences:
True transparent - Transparent proxies in the traffic reaching on any network port belonging to a Layer 2 bridge, relates to the first appropriate policy, and allows the traffic to pass. FortiWeb logs obstruct, or even modifies the violations as per the policy for its safety profile. This mode permits user authentication through HTTP instead of HTTPS.
Transparent inspection – Any FortiWeb device asynchronously monitors the traffic reaching its network port, which belongs to the Second Layer Bridge, and applies the device’s first policy, & allows the safe passage of the traffic. FortiWeb obstructs the traffic relating to the matching policy and safety profile, but never modifies it.
“Out-of-band” is a suitable description for this model. Minimal changes are required, as it does not introduce any latency. FortiWeb monitors traffic received on the data capture port’s network interface and applies the first policy. Because it is not in line with the destination, it does not allow the permitted traffic. FortiWeb logs in and blocks violations according to the matching policy and its protection profile. If FortiWeb detects a malicious request, it sends a TCP RST packet through the blocking port to the web server and client in an attempt to terminate the connection. It does not modify traffic.
Admin is the default administrator account and has no password initially. The admin administrator account exists by default and cannot be deleted. The admin administrator account is similar to any root administrator account. This administrator account always has all the permission to see and modify the options for configuration in FortiWeb devices, including the viewing and modifying of all other admin accounts. Usernames and permissions are not possible to be modified.
FortiWeb is known for active-passive style, i.e., if one device is designated as the active device, where the policies are being applied for all the connections, the second one becomes the passive standby, which initiates the role of an active device and starts processing the assigned tasks only if the active device fails. Both active and standby devices sense breakdown by communicating by the heartbeat link, which connects the two devices in HA pair. Failures are detected when active devices stop responding to a heartbeat from standby devices for a specific time, configured as Heartbeat timeout = Interval in Detection x Threshold in Heartbeat Loss
Configuration synchronization offers the ability to replicate the FortiWeb’s configuration from another device without requiring high availability (HA). The arrangement is a unilateral push and not a bilateral arrangement. It adds missing items, overwrites objects whose names match but never remove unique objects on FortiWeb, nor pulls the items from the target to initiate the FortiWeb device.
Protection settings can be configured with the assistance of auto-learning. Auto-learning teaches plenty of the threats in web assets face. It also helps to understand the web applications’ structures and how end-users use them. Most importantly, though, auto-learning helps tailor FortiWeb’s configuration to suit web applications. Auto-learning detects the URLs with its other behaviors of HTTPS or HTTP sessions by observing the traffic passing to the servers. To learn whether the request is legitimate or a potential attack attempt, it performs the following tasks:
By learning from traffic, the FortiWeb appliance suggests appropriate configurations and quickly generates profiles explicitly designed for unique traffic.
While using auto-learning, we must define how to intercept the dynamic URLs that include multiple factors in non-standardized ways, like separators (; or #, ) or the factor which is embedded within the URL’s structure. In any web User Interface, these interceptors plug-ins are better known “URL replacers.”
FortiWeb recognizes the data types of parameters by matching them with regular expressions. Regular expressions are categorized as:
Predefined — Regular expressions set included within the firmware. These match common data types and cannot be modified except via FortiGuard, but can be copied and used as the basis for a custom data type. It can be used by both auto-learning profiles and input rules.
Custom — Regular expression, that has been configured to detect any data patterns which cannot be recognized by the predefined set. It can be modified and used by input rules, but cannot be used by auto-learning profiles.
After installation, FortiWeb already has some data type regular expressions that are predefined like default signatures for common data types so that we do not need to write them again. Initial ones are included within the FortiWeb firmware. If FortiWeb is connected to FortiGuard Security Service updates, it can regularly download updates to its predefined data types. This provides new and enhanced data types without any effort. Only we should use the unique signatures in parts of the configuration where they are used according to the organization.
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Ravindra Savaram is a Technical Lead at Mindmajix.com. His passion lies in writing articles on the most popular IT platforms including Machine learning, DevOps, Data Science, Artificial Intelligence, RPA, Deep Learning, and so on. You can stay up to date on all these technologies by following him on LinkedIn and Twitter.
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