When Microsoft first announced Windows Azure Multi-Factor Authentication, a cloud-based strong authentication solution, my first thought was “I wonder if it works with Forefront TMG 2010?” Being cloud-based, my first thought was perhaps not. However, once I started digging in to it I quickly learned that it includes a software component that can be installed on-premises and will even integrate with on-premises security solutions via a number of interfaces, including RADIUS. Forefront TMG 2010 has supported RADIUS authentication for many years, so I put together a test lab and in no time at all I had Windows Azure multi-factor authentication working with Forefront TMG 2010 remote access VPN. Forefront TMG 2010 integrated with Windows Azure multi-factor authentication provides the highest level of protection for remote access users. Leveraging Windows Azure cloud-based strong authentication is extremely cost effective, with very low per user or per authentication costs and no on-premises hardware to purchase. The Windows Azure public cloud, which is ISO/IEC27001:2005 certified, provides the most secure and reliable strong authentication service available today. To learn how to configure Forefront TMG 2010 to work with Windows Azure multi-factor authentication, click here.
Hotfix rollup 4 for Microsoft Forefront TMG 2010 with Service Pack 2 (SP2) is now available for download. This latest hotfix rollup includes fixes for the following issues:
KB2889345 – Accounts are locked out beyond the AccountLockoutResetTime period in Forefront TMG 2010 SP2
KB2890549 – Incorrect Performance Monitor values when queried from a .NET Framework app in Forefront TMG 2010
KB2890563 – “URL” and “Destination Host Name” values are unreadable in the web proxy log of Forefront TMG 2010
KB2891026 – Firewall Service leaks memory if Malware Inspection is enabled in Forefront TMG 2010
KB2888619 – A password change is unsuccessful if a user’s DN attribute contains a forward slash and an Active Directory LDAP-defined special character in Forefront TMG 2010
KB2863383 – “Query stopped because an error occurred while it was running” when you run a non-live query in Forefront TMG 2010 SP2
KB2899720 – Threat Management Gateway 2010 incorrectly sends “Keep-Alive” headers when it replies to Media Player WPAD file requests
KB2899716 – Firewall service (Wspsrv.exe) crashes when a web publishing request is handled in Forefront TMG 2010
KB2899713 – Access to certain SSL websites may be unavailable when HTTPS Inspection is enabled in Forefront Threat Management Gateway 2010
You can download hotfix rollup 4 for Forefront TMG 2010 SP2 here. After applying this update, the new Forefront TMG 2010 build number will be 7.0.9193.601.
Recently I wrote an article for ISAserver.org about publishing Exchange 2013 Outlook Web App (OWA) using Forefront TMG 2010. In spite of the fact that many organizations are migrating their e-mail services to the cloud, there are many organizations who cannot, for a variety of reasons, take advantage of cloud services for e-mail. This makes Exchange 2013 a compelling upgrade for many companies. Historically Forefront TMG 2010 and its predecessors were the go-to service for securing access to on-premises Exchange implementations. Forefront TMG 2010 supports OWA publishing with native publishing wizards, allowing you to select which version of Exchange you are publishing, with the added bonus of providing in-box forms-based authentication (FBA) templates that matched the look and feel of the Exchange version you were publishing. Since Forefront TMG 2010 has been deprecated, Microsoft has not updated Forefront TMG 2010 to include support for Exchange 2013 OWA. However, you can still publish Exchange 2013 OWA using Forefront TMG by following the instructions outlined in my ISAserver.org post. When using this method, the Exchange 2010 FBA templates are used. This makes the user experience somewhat disjointed, with the FBA pages not matching the new, updated look and feel of OWA 2013. To remedy this, I reached out to my good friend Scott Glew at Fastvue. Scott is a terrific web developer, as evidenced by the amazing UI included with the TMG Reporter solution. In short order, Scott whipped up some customized Forefront TMG 2010 FBA templates to match the look and feel of OWA 2013 and has made them available for free. Now if you’re publishing Exchange 2013 OWA using Forefront TMG 2010, you can download these custom templates and use them to provide a consistent experience for your Exchange OWA users. Enjoy!
Recently I wrote an article for ISAserver.org entitled Improving SSL Security for Forefront TMG 2010 Published Web Sites. In the article I demonstrate how to evaluate the current security configuration of your Forefront TMG firewall for published SSL web sites and how to make changes to the default settings in order to improve the overall security posture of TMG in reverse proxy scenarios. Implementing these changes will provide dramatically improved protection for Forefront TMG published SSL web sites. The steps outlined in the article include details for changes to be made to specific registry entries on the Forefront TMG 2010 firewall. I’ve had a number of requests to make the registry file available for download in order to simplify the process and ensure that these changes are made correctly. You can download the registry file used in the ISAserver.org post here. Enjoy!
Forefront TMG End of Life
With the end of life announcement for Microsoft Forefront TMG 2010, one of the most common questions I am asked is “What should I replace my Forefront TMG firewall with?” Many are surprised when I reply “Why do you want to replace it?” Simply because Forefront TMG will not be developed in the future does not mean there’s an immediate need to replace it. Considering the fact that Forefront TMG mainstream support extends until April 2015, and extended support lasts until April 2020, often the decision to replace TMG is nothing more than a knee-jerk reaction to marketing pressure by vendors of competing solutions.
Do You Need to Replace Forefront TMG 2010 Now?
If you have deployed Forefront TMG 2010 as a firewall, basic forward or reverse web proxy, or remote access or site-to-site VPN, there is no need to replace Forefront TMG 2010 right now. All of the features used in these deployment scenarios will continue to function in to perpetuity. You have until April 2020 to find a replacement for Forefront TMG, which should give you plenty of time to consider alternative solutions. However, if you have deployed Forefront TMG as a secure web gateway, the situation is a little different. Although support for the product extends until April 2020, the Web Protection Service (WPS) subscription will only function until the end of 2015. This means that URL filtering reputation database updates, antimalware signatures, and Network Inspection System (NIS) signatures will no longer be updated past this time. Not to worry, there are some excellent cloud-based security solutions that can be integrated with Forefront TMG 2010 to effectively extend the life of TMG for the foreseeable future.
Extending the Life of Forefront TMG 2010 with Zscaler
Recently I had the opportunity to evaluate the Zscaler Cloud-based security solution. Zscaler provides security-as-a-service and integrates seamlessly with Forefront TMG to provide essential web security protection with URL filtering, dynamic web content control, virus and malicious software scanning, HTTPS inspection capabilities, and more. The Zscaler security solution provides significantly more protection than the native Forefront TMG technologies offer. There are also tremendous economies of scale to be gained by using this cloud-based security solution, as Zscaler has more than 4000 enterprise customers in 180 countries, servicing more than 10 million users globally. The threat intelligence gained from having such a broad view of Internet activity worldwide enables Zscaler to quickly identify emerging threats on a global basis and extend protection to all of its customers quickly and effectively.
Zscaler Integration with Forefront TMG 2010
Integrating an on-premises Forefront TMG firewall with the Zscaler cloud is accomplished without having to install a plug-in on the TMG firewall. On-premises web traffic is delivered to the Zscaler cloud service by Forefront TMG through the use of web proxy chaining rules. After you’ve signed up for the service, simply configure a web proxy chaining rule to forward web proxy requests from Forefront TMG to the Zscaler cloud proxy gateways.
Zscaler Protection for Mobile Users
The Zscaler solution has some additional advantages over Forefront TMG’s native web protection mechanisms. With a cloud-based solution, Zscaler’s protection can also be extended transparently to mobile users, keeping them safe regardless of where they are. Zscaler has more than 100 datacenters worldwide, ensuring quick response times and low latency wherever the mobile user happens to be. Integrating individual clients can be done using proxy PAC files to route traffic to Zscaler’s datacenters. Additionally there is an option to install an agent on the client to forward traffic, which has the benefit of preventing the end user from disabling proxy settings to bypass content filtering restrictions.
Forefront TMG 2010 and Zscaler – Better Together
You may be asking yourself “Why not just use Zscaler exclusively? Why do I need TMG at all?” Valid question! Integrating Zscaler with Forefront TMG provides the best of both worlds in terms of security and performance. With Forefront TMG 2010 on premises, you have a Common Criteria-certified enterprise-class firewall to provide the highest level of security for your network. You can leverage strong user and group-based authentication, and you gain the added benefit of local caching for web content. In addition, you can make use of Forefront TMG 2010′s other features like multi-networking to create perimeter or DMZ networks for isolating public-facing services, reverse proxy for on-premises web-based and non-web based applications and services, remote access VPN for managed and non-managed mobile users, and site-to-site VPN to connect remote offices, business partners, or cloud service providers.
Forefront TMG End of Sale? Not Quite!
Although Microsoft is committed to supporting Forefront TMG 2010 for many years to come, they are no longer selling Forefront TMG 2010 licenses or the Web Protection Service (WPS) subscription licenses. If you’ve already deployed Forefront TMG 2010, or have already purchased Forefront TMG processor licenses and the WPS subscription, you have nothing to worry about. If you’re looking to deploy Forefront TMG 2010 today, you can’t purchase licenses for the software from Microsoft. However, you can still obtain Forefront TMG 2010 through a Microsoft OEM partner like Iron Networks. Iron Networks has a complete line of dedicated, purpose-built, ready-to-deploy hardware appliances running Forefront TMG 2010. (Full disclosure: Iron Networks is my current employer.)
Keep Calm and Carry On
In my estimation, you can safely deploy or keep Forefront TMG 2010 in your environment and still gain a healthy return on your investment for many years to come. If you’re using Forefront TMG for publishing services such as Outlook Web App (OWA) or SharePoint, or you’re leveraging client-based remote access or site-to-site VPN, you have nothing to worry about. If you’re using Forefront TMG as a secure web gateway, you can enhance and extend the solution by using Zscaler’s cloud-based security solution for less than you would have paid for the Microsoft WPS subscription. No need to go out and replace your Forefront TMG 2010 solution for quite a few more years! If you are considering a new deployment, you can still purchase Forefront TMG 2010 from Microsoft OEM partners like Iron Networks. So Keep Calm and Deploy Forefront TMG 2010 today!
Earlier this year I published an article on ISAserver.org on how to enable cross-premises network connectivity to Windows Azure using Forefront TMG 2010. When I wrote that piece, Windows Azure virtual networking was still in preview (beta). Since that time, Windows Azure virtual networking has been officially released, with some significant changes in features, functionality, and configuration steps. Many people noticed that their existing Forefront TMG 2010 to Windows Azure site-to-site VPN stopped working at this time and assumed that support for TMG had been dropped. Not so! Forefront TMG 2010 site-to-site VPN does work with Windows Azure virtual networks, and is indeed supported as it meets the minimum requirements for VPN devices connecting to Windows Azure virtual networks outlined here.
Configuring site-to-site VPN connectivity between the Forefront TMG 2010 firewall and Windows Azure virtual networks is not without a minor drawback, however. One of the new features of Windows Azure virtual networking is point-to-site VPN using SSTP. Unfortunately this feature requires that you configure dynamic routing on your Windows Azure virtual network, and dynamic routing makes use of IKEv2, which the Forefront TMG 2010 firewall does not support. So, if you want to enable cross-premises network connectivity to Windows Azure using Forefront TMG 2010, you will not be able to take advantage of this new point-to-site VPN connectivity option.
Important Note: Windows Azure virtual networking site-to-site VPN requires that your VPN endpoint have a public IPv4 address assigned to it’s external network interface. If your Forefront TMG 2010 firewall is located behind a border router or edge firewall performing NAT, site-to-site VPN connectivity with Windows Azure will not be possible.
To configure cross-premises network connectivity with Windows Azure, log in to the Windows Azure portal and select Networks in the navigation pane, then click on Create Virtual Network. Enter a Name for the virtual network, specify a Region, and provide an Affinity Group Name and select the appropriate Subscription.
Enter the names and IP addresses of any DNS servers to be used by machines in this virtual network and select the option to Configure site-to-site VPN. Do NOT select the option to Configure point-to-site VPN.
Provide a name for the site-to-site connection and enter the IP address assigned to the external network interface of the Forefront TMG firewall. In addition, specify the network address space in use on the private, on-premises side of the connection.
Define your virtual network subnet as required. Here I’ve chosen to use the 10.0.0.0/24 address space. Define any additional subnets as necessary and then click Add gateway subnet.
Click on the newly created virtual network and then click on Dashboard. Click Create Gateway and choose Static Routing.
Once the gateway has been created, make a note of the Gateway IP Address and then click Manage Key. Copy this key as it will be required when configuring the site-to-site VPN on the Forefront TMG 2010 firewall.
On the Forefront TMG 2010 firewall, open the management console and select Remote Access Policy (VPN). Click the Remote Sites tab in the center pane and then click Create VPN Site-to-Site Connection in the Tasks pane. When the Create Site-to-Site Connection Wizard begins, enter a name for the new site-to-site network.
Select IP Security protocol (IPsec) tunnel mode.
Enter the IP address of the Windows Azure virtual network gateway and the local VPN gateway IP address, which is the IP address assigned to the external network interface of the Forefront TMG 2010 firewall.
Copy the pre-shared key from the Windows Azure virtual network gateway.
The IP address of the Windows Azure virtual network gateway will be automatically added to the network address list. Click Add Range and add the IP address range you defined earlier for the virtual network.
Select the option Create a network rule specifying a route relationship.
Any communication between the on-premises network and the Windows Azure virtual network must be allowed by firewall policy. You can create an access rule now, or create one later.
Review the configuration settings and click Finish.
Before applying the configuration, right-click the site-to-site connection and choose Properties, select the Connection tab, and then click IPsec Settings.
On the Phase I tab select SHA1 for the Integrity algorithm and leave the remaining settings at their defaults.
On the Phase II tab select SHA1 for the Integrity Algorithm. Select the option to Generate a new key every 102400000 Kbytes and clear the option to Use Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS).
Once complete, apply the configuration. Finally, set the Maximum Transmission Unit (MTU) on the Forefront TMG 2010 firewall’s external interface to 1350 bytes by opening an elevated command prompt and issuing the following command:
netsh interface ipv4 set interface <interface_name_or_index> mtu=1350
netsh interface ipv4 set interface external mtu=1350
The Windows Azure management console should now indicate that you have successfully established a site-to-site VPN to the remote virtual network.
When you configure a new Windows Azure virtual machine, you can specify that the machine be placed in to your virtual network.
The new virtual machine should now be reachable from your on-premises network using the site-to-site VPN configured on the Forefront TMG 2010 firewall.
With the formal end of life announcement for Forefront TMG 2010 last year, many firewall and secure web gateway vendors have been touting themselves as replacements for TMG. The folks at Citrix recently made available a white paper [PDF] making their case as a comprehensive replacement for Forefront TMG. While I don’t have any personal experience with the NetScaler solution, it does appear to have many of the features that TMG administrators have come to rely upon, such as URL filtering, virus and malicious software inspection, SSL termination (HTTPS inspection), content caching, low-level intrusion detection and prevention, and VPN capabilities. In addition, the NetScaler supports flexible network placement with edge, back firewall, and unihomed (single-legged or one-arm) deployment options. The solution is available in both hardware appliance form factor and virtual appliance.
Citrix makes an attempt to position their solution as the ideal and comprehensive replacement for Forefront TMG, and while it does have many features that TMG provides there is one glaring omission – an alternative to the Forefront TMG Firewall Client. ISA and TMG administrators have long used the Firewall Client to provide seamless and transparent proxy services for Winsock applications. The firewall client enables fully authenticated proxy support for non-web based protocols, and it appears that the NetScaler does not include such capabilities.
As with most white papers comparing solutions like this, it is helpful to understand they are essentially marketing material designed to downplay the features of the competing solution while often embellishing their own features. There are also some inaccuracies with regard to Forefront TMG capabilities, which is also not uncommon in documents such as these. For example, the document states that Forefront TMG 2010 failover requires three nodes, which is incorrect. You can easily create a standalone array using Forefront TMG 2010 Enterprise Edition using two nodes.
Overall the Citrix NetScaler looks like a pretty good solution. If you are in the market today for an alternative to Forefront TMG 2010 (…and should you be? That’s a topic for a future post, so stay tuned!) then download their white paper and take a closer look.
Today Fastvue announced the general availability of TMG Reporter v2.1, the latest release of their advanced reporting and alerting platform built specifically for Forefront TMG 2010. I’ve been working with some of the early release builds and although this is technically considered a minor release, this latest update includes some important new features that make this a worthwhile and compelling upgrade. Here are some of the great new features included with TMG Reporter v2.1:
Activity Reports – Easily the single most important feature included in Fastvue TMG Reporter v2.1 is the addition of detailed activity reports. Prior to v2.1 only overview reports were available. You can now create extremely granular reports on user, site, category, or application activity that include timestamps, full URLs, browse time, category, and disposition (allowed or denied).
Scheduled Custom Reports – Another excellent new feature in Fastvue TMG Reporter v2.1 allows the administrator to create custom reports using the new filtering interface and schedule them for automated delivery to recipients.
Comprehensive Filtering – Fastvue TMG Reporter v2.1 includes a powerful new filtering facility that allows security administrator to dig deep in to the logging data to find the pertinent information they desire. The new enhanced filtering feature is available for use on all reports.
Drilldown Reporting – Another feature that has been greatly improved in the v2.1 release is drilldown reporting. Previously executing a drilldown report resulted in the creation of a completely new and separate report. With v2.1, the new drilldown report now respects the initial filter settings, allowing the administrator to see detailed information as necessary while maintaining the context that the original report was created within.
SQL Server integration – This is one of my favorite (and most requested!) new features. TMG Reporter v2.1 now includes native support for SQL server logging. There are many compelling reasons to configure the Forefront TMG 2010 firewall to log to an external SQL server, and now TMG Reporter can connect directly to your TMG firewall’s configured SQL server to collect report data.
Full support for Windows 8 and Server 2012 – You can now install TMG Reporter on Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012! This is great news as many organizations are beginning to deploy Windows 2012 server and Windows 8 desktops. The TMG Reporter installer now detects which server platform you are installing on and installs the necessary prerequisites automatically. The TMG Reporter web interface is also fully supported on Windows 8 with Internet Explorer 10 (modern and desktop).
Since its initial release a few years ago, Fastvue TMG Reporter has continued to add features and functionality. If you’re running an older version, or if you haven’t yet made the switch to TMG Reporter, the new capabilities in TMG Reporter v2.1 may finally compel you to take the leap and implement or upgrade to TMG Reporter v2.1 for your Forefront TMG monitoring, alerting, and report needs. Download a free, fully functional evaluation copy of Fastvue TMG Reporter v2.1 today. You’ll be glad you did, trust me!
My recent blog post about altering the SafeSearch enforcement rule in Forefront TMG 2010 to require authentication has sparked some discussion on Twitter and Facebook regarding unauthenticated, anonymous access, particularly to resources located on the public Internet. In a perfect world (ok, my perfect world!), all access to and through the TMG firewall would be fully authenticated. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, this isn’t achievable. To start, authenticating all traffic to and through the TMG firewall would necessitate that all clients be configured as explicit web proxy clients. In addition, if non web-based protocols are allowed by firewall policy the Firewall Client would need to be distributed to all clients. While this is ideal if we’re designing a solution on paper, in the real world many administrators don’t have the luxury of forcing proxy configuration or installing the Firewall Client on all their systems. For example, some systems may not be under the administrator’s control or they may be required to support non web-based protocols on platforms other than Windows, for which the Firewall Client is not supported. Also, as veteran ISA and TMG firewall administrators know all too well, there are some applications that simply don’t play nice with an authenticating proxy, even with the Firewall Client installed. Applications that don’t leverage Winsock for network communication or that use IP-based protocols such as ICMP or GRE also prevent us from realizing our goal of authenticating all network traffic through TMG. Windows Update traffic also poses challenges for authenticating all TMG traffic, as the Windows Update service often makes requests to the Internet for updates in the background and perhaps even if there is no interactive user logged on.
Just because out of necessity some traffic has to be allowed through the TMG firewall anonymously doesn’t mean that undertaking an effort to reduce unauthenticated traffic isn’t a worthwhile project. If you’re interested in doing something like this, have a look at the Fastvue blog and read Scott Glew’s excellent article detailing how to use TMG Reporter to identify and reduce unauthenticated traffic on the Forefront TMG 2010 firewall. Not using TMG Reporter? You’re missing out! Download a free evaluation here!
SafeSearch enforcement in Forefront TMG 2010 is a simple and effective way to prevent users on your network from accessing explicit adult content via popular search engines. Enabling SafeSearch enforcement is accomplished by opening the Forefront TMG 2010 management console, highlighting the Web Access Policy node in the navigation tree, clicking the Configure SafeSearch link in the Tasks pane and selecting the option to Enable SafeSearch.
When SafeSearch is enabled a rule is created that grants access to all users from the Internal network to all sites in the Search Engines category.
Effectively this grants unauthenticated access to many search engines including Bing, Google, and Yahoo. This level of access is quite broad and enables anonymous users to access quite a bit of content, which might not be desirable in some environments. It is not possible to change the users in the GUI either, unfortunately. However, it can be changed programmatically using COM and VBscript. For example, the following code will change the users from All Users to All Authenticated Users.
Dim Root, Array, Rule Set Root = CreateObject("FPC.Root") Set Array = Root.GetContainingArray() Set Rule = Array.ArrayPolicy.PolicyRules("SafeSearch") Rule.AccessProperties.UserSets.Add "All Authenticated Users", fpcInclude Rule.AccessProperties.UserSets.RemoveSpecified "All Users" Array.Save Array.WaitForReload
Important Note: This change is not officially supported by Microsoft. If you make this change it may potentially cause other issues, so please proceed with caution.
Once the script has completed the SafeSearch rule will now apply to All Authenticated Users and prevent unwanted anonymous access to web sites categorized as Search Engines.