Palo Alto Interview questions

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To protect against security risks in this internet age, it's critical to ensure that your organization is adequately secured across networks, cloud, and mobile devices. Palo Alto Networks' integrated platform makes it simple to manage network and cloud security, as well as endpoint protection with a variety of security services. 

The demand for Network security professionals is great and is in short supply. If you’re good at firewall fundamentals, then you can easily grab better networking jobs in reputed organizations. The Palo Alto Firewall interview questions and answers listed below will provide you with a strong foundation in cybersecurity.

We have categorized Palo Alto Interview Questions - 2024 (Updated) into 2 levels they are:

Top 10 Palo Alto Interview Questions

  1. Palo Alto is a stateful firewall. What does it mean?
  2. Palo Alto is touted as the next-generation firewall. What are the reasons for this?
  3. What is a Tap deployment mode? 
  4. What are the features Palo Alto supports when it is in Virtual Wire mode?
  5. What is App-ID?
  6. What is a Zone Protection profile?
  7. What are the benefits of using Panorama in Palo Alto?
  8. What is a WAF? What purpose does it serve?
  9. What is an HSCI port?
  10. What is the purpose of Palo Alto AutoFocus?
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Palo Alto Interview Questions For Freshers

1. Palo Alto is a stateful firewall. What does it mean?

A stateful firewall means all the traffic that is transmitted through the firewall is matched against a session. Also, each session is matched against a security policy as well.

2. Palo Alto is touted as the next-generation firewall. What are the reasons for this?

Palo Alto has everything that is needed to call it the next-generation firewall. It has an intrusion prevention system. It also has application control features. In terms of delivery, it is much different from other vendors. It delivers the next-generation features using a single platform.

3. What is the advantage of Palo Alto’s Single Pass Parallel Processing (SP3) architecture?

The following are the advantages of Single Pass Parallel Processing (SP3) architecture:

  • High throughput and low latency
  • Active security functions
  • Provision of single and fully integrated policy
  • Easier management of firewall policy

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4. Why use Palo Alto Networks together with My Splunk?

Palo Alto provides the visibility that is needed by Splunk to provide actionable and usable insights. Both Palo Alto and Splunk work together to keep the network secure. 

5. What is the difference between PA-200 and PA-500 and the higher models?

Activities such as signature process and network processing are implemented on software in PA-200 and PA-500. However, the higher models contain a dedicated hardware processor.

6. Security policy rule contains addresses where NAT policy applies. Which address needs to be used in the security policy?

You need to use the Pre-NAT address and Post-Nat zone.

7. When is U-turn NAT applicable? How to configure it?

When there is a need for the internal resources on a trust zone to access DMZ resources using public IP addresses of an untrusted zone, the U-turn NAT is applicable.

8. What is a Tap deployment mode?

The Tap deployment mode is the one, which allows monitoring of traffic passively across the network. It uses a tap or switch SPAN/mirror port for this purpose.

9. What is Virtual ware deployment mode?

In the Virtual ware deployment mode, the firewall is installed transparently on a network segment. The installation will be done by binding two interfaces into a single set.

10. What is a Layer2 deployment mode?

In the Layer2 deployment mode, multiple interfaces are configured into a virtual switch or VLAN in L2 mode.

11. What is a Layer3 deployment mode?

In the Layer3 deployment mode, traffic is routed by a firewall across multiple interfaces. To do this, each interface needs to be assigned an IP address. Besides, a virtual router also needs to be defined to route the traffic.

12. Which mode comes pre-configured in Palo Alto?

Palo Alto comes with Virtual Wire mode by default.

13. What are the features Palo Alto supports when it is in Virtual Wire mode?

When in Virtual Wire mode, Palo Alto supports features such as

  • App-ID
  • Decryption
  • Content-ID
  • User-ID
  • NAT

14. What is App-ID?

App-ID is the short form for Application Identification. It is the main component in Palo Alto. The responsibility of App-ID is to identify the applications, which traverse the firewalls independently.

15. What are the benefits of using Panorama in Palo Alto?

There are multiple benefits to using Panorama. Some of these benefits include:

  • You can update the software in bulk with a single click.
  • You can get a complete report, which enables you to validate the compliance status.
  • You can use Panorama logs from managed services, which enables solving logging issues.

16. What are the main areas Panorama adds value to?

The following are the main areas in which Panorama adds value:

  • Distributed administration, which enables to control and delegate access to firewall configurations locally and globally.
  • Centralized configuration and deployment.
  • Logging (aggregated) with central oversight for analysis and reporting.

17. What is U-Turn NAT in Palo Alto?

U-turn NAT is a logical path used in a network. In U-turn NAT, the users have to access the internal DMZ server. For this purpose, they use the external IP address of that server.

18. What is a virtual router in Palo Alto?

A virtual router is a function of the firewall, which is a part of Layer 3 routing.

19. What is a virtual system in Palo Alto?

A virtual system is an exclusive and logical firewall in Palo Alto. Being an independent firewall, the traffic in a virtual system is kept separate.

20. What is the endpoint security in Palo Alto?

Endpoint security ensures the protection of individual access points in the network and sensitive data. It is a process, which illustrates techniques, tools, and applications or products, which can be used to protect devices including computer systems, laptops, smartphones, etc.

21. What is a Single Pass processing architecture?

Single-pass processing architecture operates only once on a packet. Similarly, activities such as policy lookup, application identification, networking functions, and decoding, and signature matching are also will be performed only once when a packet is processed. Even the content is also scanned only once in the Single-pass processing architecture.

22. What is a Zone Protection profile?

Using the Zone protection profile, you can get protection from attacks such as flood, reconnaissance, and packet-based attacks, etc. It provides you protection from flood attacks such as SYN, ICMP, and UDP, etc. The reconnaissance protection enables you to defend against port scans and host sweeps. In the case of packet-based protection, you can get protection from large ICMP packets and ICMP fragment attacks.

23. What is a WAF? What purpose does it serve?

WAF is the short form of a Web Application Firewall. It monitors web applications for security issues, which may arise due to errors in the code.

24. Which are the log types that can be viewed in Palo Alto?

You can view

  • Traffic Logs
  • Threat Log
  • URL Filtering Logs
  • WildFire Submissions Logs
  • Data Filtering Logs
  • Correlation Logs
  • Tunnel Inspection Logs
  • Unified logs
  • HIP Match logs
  • GTP logs
  • SCTP logs
  • System logs
  • Alarm logs
  • Configuration logs

25. What is the functioning of Palo Alto WildFire?

Palo Alto Wirefire highlights the threats that need more attention using a threat intelligence prioritization feature called AutoFocus. It is a cloud-based service, which provides malware sandboxing.

26. What are Active/Passive and Active/Active modes in Palo Alto?

These are the modes in which Palo Alto can be configured. Here is a brief of these modes:

  • Active/Passive: This mode is supported in deployment types including virtual wire, Layer 2, and Layer 3. In this mode, the configuration settings are shared by both the firewalls. In case, the Active firewall fails, the Passive firewall becomes active and maintains the network security.
  • Active/Active: This mode is supported in deployment types including virtual wire and Layer 3. In this mode, both the firewalls work synchronously and process the traffic.

27. What are HA1 and HA2 in Palo Alto?

HA1 and HA2 have dedicated HA ports. HA1 is a control link whereas HA2 is a data link. These links are used by firewalls to synchronize the data and maintain state information.

28. What is a HA in Palo Alto?

HA is the short form of High Availability. The HA is a deployment type in which two firewalls are placed together and configuration is synchronized. This is done to prevent a single point of failure in the network. This HA deployment enables redundancy and ensures the continuity of the business. In case, one firewall fails, the other one ensures maintaining the security of the traffic.

29. What is HALite in Palo Alto? What are its capabilities? Which are the features not available in HA Lite?

The high-availability feature on the PA-200 is called HA Lite in Palo Alto. The HA Lite provides a lighter version of HA capabilities. Some of the capabilities of HA Lite include - DHCP Lease information, PPPoE lease information, A/P High Availability without session sync, Failover of IPSec Tunnels, Configuration sync, and Layer 3 forwarding tables. Some of the features that are not available in HA include – Jumbo Frames, Link Aggregation, A/A High Availability, and A/P High Availability with session synchronization.

Palo Alto Interview Questions For Experienced

30. What is the VPN deployment type in which a GlobalProtect agent is used?

GlobalProtect agent is used in Remote User-to-Site VPN deployment. It is used to enable the remote user to establish a secure connection through the firewall.

31. Which are the media types that the firewall supports?

Palo Alto Networks firewall supports two media types, which include copper and fiber optic.

32. Which are the port types recommended to use in a HA pair in Palo Alto?

The recommended ports to be used in a HA are:

  • HA1, HA1-A, and HA1-B - for HA control and synchronizing traffic
  • HA2 and HSCI (High-Speed Chassis Interconnect ) ports - for HA session setup traffic
  • AUX-1 and AUX-2 (multipurpose auxiliary ports) – for PA-5200 Series firewalls

33. What is an HSCI port?

It is a Layer 1 SFP+ interface. In a HA configuration, this port connects two PA-3200 series firewalls. This port can be used for HA2 and HA3 connections. Raw layer 1 traffic is transmitted on the HSCI ports.

34. What does GlobalProtect VPN support?

This GlobalProtect VPN supports clientless SSL VPN and provides access to the applications in the data center.

35. What are the log forwarding options supported in the Palo Alto firewall?

The log forwarding options supported in Palo Alto include the following:

  • Forwarding of logs from firewalls to Panorama and from Panorama to external services
  • Forwarding of logs from firewalls to Panorama and to external services in parallel

36. What is the purpose of the virtual wire interface in the Palo Alto firewall?

A virtual wire interface allows the transmission of traffic between two interfaces by binding them together.

37. What is The Application Command Center (ACC)?

The Application Command Center provides visibility into traffic patterns and actionable information on threats by using the firewall logs.

38. What is Application Override in Palo Alto?

Application override is used to override the App-ID (normal Application Identification) of specific traffic transmitted through the firewall. 

39. What is the purpose of Palo Alto AutoFocus?

AutoFocus is a threat intelligence service, which provides easier identification of critical attacks so that effective action can be taken without the need for additional resources.

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40. What is Application Incomplete in Palo Alto?

The Application Incomplete can be understood as - either the three-way TCP handshake is not completed or it is completed but there was no data to identify the application after the handshake.

41. What is U Turn Nat in Palo Alto?

In Palo Alto, the logical path where traffic appears when accessing an internal resource and resolving their exterior address is referred to as U-Turn NAT. Internal users need to reach an internal DMZ server utilizing the external public IP address of the servers.

42. What is App ID Palo Alto?

App-ID allows you to view the programs on your network and learn about their functionality, behavioral traits, and risk level. Multiple techniques, such as application signatures, decryption (if necessary), protocol decoding, and heuristics, are used to identify applications and application services. This enables fine-grained management, such as permitting only sanctioned Office 365 accounts or allowing Slack for instant messaging but not file transmission.

43. What is Palo Alto Content ID?

Content-ID combines a real-time threat prevention engine with a large URL database and application identification features to:

Data and file transfers that aren't authorized should be limited.

Exploits, malware, and malware communications should all be detected and blocked.

Regulate unapproved internet usage

App-application ID's visibility and control, along with Content-content ID's inspection, allow your IT team to recover control over application traffic and related content.

44. In Palo Alto, what is Ha Lite?

The high-availability feature of the PA-200 is referred to as HA-Lite. It provides a slimmed-down version of the HA features present on other Palo Alto Networks hardware platforms. Because there are just a few ports available for synchronization on PA-200s, a HA’s limited version is required.

45. What kind of firewall is Palo Alto?

Palo Alto Networks' VM-Series is a virtualized next-generation firewall that runs on our PAN-OSTM operating system. The VM-Series recognizes, manages, and safely enables intra-host communications, and includes the following virtualization security features.

46. What is Palo Alto WildFire?

The industry's most advanced analysis and prevention engine for highly evasive zero-day vulnerabilities and malware is Palo Alto Networks® WildFire® cloud-based threat analysis service.

47. In Palo Alto, what is a dynamic update?

Through dynamic updates, Palo Alto Networks regularly publishes new and modified programs, threat protection, and GlobalProtect data files. Without requiring configuration changes, the firewall may retrieve these updates and use them to enforce rules.

48. What is the content update for Palo Alto?

Palo Alto Networks next-generation firewalls now include the most up-to-date threat prevention and application identification technology, thanks to upgrades to the Applications and Threats content. The firewall receives the most up-to-date application and threat signatures via content updates for Applications and Threats.

49. Is it true that updates to Palo Alto are cumulative?

Furthermore, content updates are cumulative, which means that the most recent content update always incorporates all previous versions' application and threat signatures.

50. What is Palo Alto auto focus?

AutoFocus is a cloud-based threat intelligence tool that helps you quickly detect critical attacks so you can properly triage and respond without requiring additional IT resources.

51. What is a Palo Alto sinkhole?

The DNS sinkhole allows the Palo Alto Networks device to fabricate a response to a DNS query for a known malicious domain/URL, causing the malicious domain name to resolve to a client-defined IP address (fake IP).

52. In Palo Alto, what are the primary types of NAT?

Dynamic IP and Port (DIPP) - Multiple hosts can have their source IP addresses converted to the same public IP address with varying port numbers using Dynamic IP and Port (DIPP).

Dynamic IP - Allows one-to-one dynamic translation of a source IP address alone (no port number) to the NAT address pool's next available address.

Static IP - Allows a one-to-one static translation of a source IP address, but does not change the source port.

53. What is the difference between source and destination network address translation (NAT)?

The destination addresses and ports of packets are translated by destination NAT. Source NAT converts private IP addresses to public IP addresses so that intranet users can access the Internet using public IP addresses.

54. What are the different configuration modes for Palo Alto interfaces?

Tap mode: With the use of a tap or switch SPAN/mirror port, users can observe any form of traffic flow throughout the networking system.

Virtual Wire: The firewall system is installed passively on any network segment using this deployment model, which combines two interfaces.

Layer 2 mode: Multiple networking interfaces will be configured into a "virtual-switch" or VLAN mode in this layer mode.

Layer 3 deployment: The Palo Alto firewall routes allow traffic to flow between various interfaces in this layer 3 deployment. The IP address should be added to each interface by the user.

55. What are the benefits of using Palo Alto Networks Products?

Palo Alto Networks' products offer unparalleled insight into network traffic and malicious activities, both in the network and on the endpoint. When this visibility is combined with Splunk, a client may do correlations and analyses on a variety of data types. Correlations can be made between multiple types of Palo Alto Networks data, such as comparing Wildfire reports to traffic logs to find infected hosts or firewall logs to endpoint logs. But correlations and analyses across various sources of data and vendors, such as correlating firewall logs with web server logs or advanced endpoint security logs with Windows event logs, are where Splunk's true power lies.

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Last updated: 15 Jul 2024
About Author

Ravindra Savaram is a Technical Lead at 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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