I am very excited to announce that my new DirectAccess book, “Implementing DirectAccess with Windows Server 2016“ from Apress media, is now shipping! The book is available on popular online sites like Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Springer.com, Apress.com, and others. The book is also available in electronic formats such as Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook, as well as a variety of subscription formats including Safari, Books24x7, and SpringerLink.
This book contains detailed and prescriptive guidance for the planning, design, implementation, and support of a DirectAccess remote access solution on Windows Server 2016. It also includes valuable insight, tips, tricks, and best practice recommendations gained from my many years of deploying DirectAccess for some of the largest organizations in the world.
Current DirectAccess administrators will also find this book helpful, as the majority of content is still applicable to DirectAccess in Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2. In addition, the book also includes essential information on the design and deployment of highly available and geographically redundant DirectAccess deployments.
Troubleshooting DirectAccess can be a daunting task, so I’ve dedicated an entire chapter in the book to this topic. For those responsible for the maintenance and support of DirectAccess in their organization, this chapter alone will be worth the investment.
Be sure to order your copy today!
Hotfix Rollup 2 for Microsoft Forefront UAG 2010 Service Pack 4 is now available for download. This hotfix rollup includes fixes for the following issues:
KB3066351 – Client HTTP connections to a UAG redirect trunk receives errors after you install hotfix rollup 1 for Forefront UAG 2010 SP4
KB3070067 – You may receive an HTTP 503 “Service is Unavailable” error when a connection to a UAG trunk fails in Forefront UAG 2010 SP4
KB3068283 – You may receive HTTP 503 errors on a server that is running Forefront UAG 2010 SP4
KB3068289 – Moving mailboxes as part of a hybrid Office 365 migration fails in Forefront UAG 2010 SP4
You can download Hotfix Rollup 2 for Forefront UAG 2010 SP4 here.
DirectAccess is a compelling remote access solution that provides seamless and transparent, always-on, bi-directional remote corporate network connectivity for managed Windows clients. In Windows Server 2008 R2 and Forefront Unified Access Gateway (UAG) 2010, the DirectAccess server had to be configured with two network adapters, with the external network interface configured with two consecutive public IPv4 addresses. Many security engineers were understandably concerned about exposing a domain-joined Windows server directly to the public Internet, which limited the adoption of the technology. Beginning with Windows Server 2012, DirectAccess is integrated in to the operating system and provides more flexible network configuration. DirectAccess can now be deployed behind an existing edge security solution performing NAT, and even supports single-NIC configuration.
The Forefront TMG 2010 firewall is an excellent choice to provide essential protection for the DirectAccess workload. When DirectAccess is deployed behind a NAT device, the only firewall port that needs to be opened is TCP port 443 (HTTPS).
When publishing DirectAccess with TMG, it is important to use a server publishing rule and not a web publishing rule. To publish DirectAccess, open the Forefront TMG 2010 management console, right-click Firewall Policy in the navigation tree, and then choose New Non-Web Server Publishing Rule.
Provide a descriptive name for the rule, enter the IP address of the DirectAccess server, choose HTTPS Server for the protocol, and then select the network interface on which to listen for these requests.
To ensure the proper operation of Receive Side Scaling (RSS) on the DirectAccess server, it is recommended that the server be configured to use TMG as its default gateway and to configure the publishing rule on TMG using the option Requests appear to come from the original client.
Also, TMG does not support load balancing for server publishing rules, so it is not possible to deliver traffic to multiple back end servers using TMG. For high availability and to provide for scalability, it is recommended to configure load balancing for DirectAccess using NLB or an external load balancer (recommended) and publish the virtual IP address (VIP) using the steps described above.
To learn more about DirectAccess, visit http://directaccess.richardhicks.com/
Last year I wrote an article for ISAserver.org that provided detailed guidance for improving security for SSL and TLS protected web sites using Forefront TMG 2010. Many people have reached out to me recently to ask about enabling forward secrecy, which my original article did not include because, at the time, it was not recommended to enable it. However, as times have changed, it is now recommended to enable forward secrecy so I recently wrote a short post with guidance on how to do that. The post was written with a very narrow scope and addressed only the enabling of forward secrecy for TLS. Many of you have since asked for guidance on overall security best practices with regard to SSL and TLS along with adding support for forward secrecy. In addition to the configuration changes detailed in my original ISAserver.org article, I also recommend the following list of SSL and TLS cipher suites be explicitly enforced using the method outlined here.
TLS_ECDHE_ECDSA_WITH_AES_128_GCM_SHA256_P256 TLS_ECDHE_ECDSA_WITH_AES_128_GCM_SHA256_P384 TLS_ECDHE_ECDSA_WITH_AES_128_GCM_SHA256_P521 TLS_ECDHE_ECDSA_WITH_AES_256_GCM_SHA384_P384 TLS_ECDHE_ECDSA_WITH_AES_256_GCM_SHA384_P521 TLS_ECDHE_ECDSA_WITH_AES_128_CBC_SHA256_P256 TLS_ECDHE_ECDSA_WITH_AES_128_CBC_SHA_P256 TLS_ECDHE_ECDSA_WITH_AES_256_CBC_SHA_P256 TLS_ECDHE_RSA_WITH_AES_128_CBC_SHA256_P256 TLS_ECDHE_RSA_WITH_AES_256_CBC_SHA384_P256 TLS_ECDHE_RSA_WITH_AES_128_CBC_SHA_P256 TLS_ECDHE_RSA_WITH_AES_256_CBC_SHA_P256 TLS_DHE_DSS_WITH_AES_128_CBC_SHA256 TLS_DHE_DSS_WITH_AES_256_CBC_SHA256 TLS_DHE_DSS_WITH_AES_128_CBC_SHA TLS_DHE_DSS_WITH_AES_256_CBC_SHA TLS_RSA_WITH_AES_128_CBC_SHA256 TLS_RSA_WITH_AES_256_CBC_SHA256 TLS_RSA_WITH_AES_128_CBC_SHA TLS_RSA_WITH_AES_256_CBC_SHA
Using this configuration, the Forefront TMG 2010 firewall should receive an A rating from the SSL Labs test site (at the time of this writing).
Enabling and supporting the above list of cipher suites will provide the best overall protection and performance for your SSL protected web sites. Note that the list above does not include support for SSL 3.0. If you need to support SSL 3.0 you should add the following cipher suites to the end of the list.
Please note that this configuration may not work with older browsers on old, unsupported operating systems, for example Internet Explorer 6 on Windows XP. Before deploying this configuration in production I would encourage you to conduct some testing with your supported clients to ensure operability.
Last year I wrote an article for ISAserver.org that outlined in detail how to improve SSL and TLS security for web sites published using Forefront TMG 2010. In its default configuration, Windows Server 2008 R2 and Forefront TMG leave quite a bit to be desired in terms of SSL and TLS security. In the article I demonstrated how to dramatically improve the security posture of TMG when publishing web sites that use SSL and TLS. At the time I wrote the article it was not recommended to enable forward secrecy, so the changes I originally proposed resulted in an “A” score from the Qualys SSL Labs test site. However, times have changed since then, and with the recent revelations of wide spread government spying, it is now recommended to enable forward secrecy by default. Sites that don’t support forward secrecy will now receive a reduced grade.
To accomplish this on the Forefront TMG 2010 firewall, open the Local Group Policy Editor (gpedit.msc) and navigate to Computer Configuration, Administrative Templates, Network, SSL Configuration Settings. Double-click SSL Cipher Suite Order and choose Enabled. Copy the list of SSL cipher suites to a blank notepad document and then move all of the cipher suites that begin with TLS_ECDHE_RSA_WITH_AES_ to the front of the list. Use caution here because the list cannot have any extra commas, line breaks, or spaces at all. Paste the updated list back in to the SSL Cipher Suites box and click Ok.
The server will have to be restarted for the changes to take effect. Once complete, forward secrecy will now be used by modern browsers and you should once again receive an “A” grade from SSL Labs.
Today, Microsoft announced the end of life for the Forefront UAG 2010 product. Microsoft will continue to provide mainstream support for UAG until April 14, 2015, and extended support until April 14, 2020. Existing customers with active Software Assurance on their existing UAG licenses as of December 1, 2013, may add new UAG server instances, users, and devices without having to purchase additional UAG licenses. In addition, existing customers who have purchased Forefront UAG server licenses will be given upgrade rights to Windows Server 2012 R2, which provides some of the remote access features found in Forefront UAG. For example, Windows Server 2012 R2 supports DirectAccess, client-based VPN, and reverse web proxy with new Web Application Proxy role.
With regard to license upgrade rights, users are entitled to a Windows Server 2012 R2 license for each Forefront UAG server license (or External Connector license) they currently own. Software Assurance for UAG can still be purchased until January 1, 2014. Forefront UAG 2010 will be removed from the pricelist on July 1, 2014. Forefront UAG 2010 will continue to be available from Microsoft OEM hardware partners like Celestix Networks for the foreseeable future, however.
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.