As I recently mentioned, Microsoft has discontinued and will be terminating their Microsoft Reputation Services (MRS) cloud URL categorization service on or shortly after December 31, 2015. Today, Microsoft released additional information vital to TMG administrators everywhere who are still relying on this service for URL filtering. Specifically, what happens with TMG once Microsoft officially turns off MRS and it is no longer available?
First, any firewall rules that rely on URL categorization to allow traffic will fail closed. That is, they will block all traffic. Second, any rules using URL categorization to deny traffic will fail open and allow that traffic instead. Finally, there is potential performance degradation that may occur with TMG after the service is disabled by Microsoft.
What to do?
First, update any TMG firewall rules that use URL Categories or URL Category Sets. You can replace them with Domain Name Sets or URL Sets, if desired. Next, disable the use of URL filtering in TMG by opening the TMG management console, right-clicking Web Access Policy and choosing Configure and then URL Filtering. Uncheck the box next to Enable URL Filtering and then click Ok.
Finally, consider a replacement solution for TMG’s URL filtering. There are a number of solutions available, both on-premises and cloud-based, that are capable replacements. The Zscaler solution is highly effective, and if you’re looking for a low-buck alternative, consider something like OpenDNS. There are many more, I’m sure.
Identifying the current build number of your Forefront TMG 2010 installation is critically important when making changes or updates to the system. It is generally recommended that all TMG firewalls be on the same release, so having this information is essential. Many TMG administrators use the TMG management console to gather this information, but I can tell you based on experience that this is not always the most accurate method to use.
I much prefer to gather this information programmatically at the command line. In the past I’ve written about using VBScript to do this, but it’s almost 2016 now and we really should be using PowerShell whenever possible. To that end, here are a few lines of PowerShell code you can use to accurately determine which version and build number your TMG firewall is currently running.
$FPC = New-Object -ComObject FPC.Root $Server = $FPC.GetContainingServer() $Server.ProductVersion
If you’ve done any work at all with VBScript and the TMG’s FPC COM object, you’ll no doubt be able to convert some of your existing scripts to PowerShell. Also, PowerShell, with its tab auto completion, is much more discoverable than using VBScript with COM, so I’m sure you’ll be able to do a lot more with TMG using PowerShell.