When performing SSL and TLS hardening on Microsoft Forefront Threat Management Gateway (TMG) 2010 or Forefront Unified Access Gateway (UAG) 2010 servers, disabling SSL 3.0 and TLS 1.0 is often required to meet regulatory and compliance guidelines for security. However, disabling SSL 3.0 and TLS 1.0 causes the SQL Server (ISARS) and SQL Server Express services to fail on start up.
Switching from SQL logging to text file logging can be employed as a workaround. However, when using text file logging, generating historical reports in the TMG management console is no longer supported.
To restore full functionality for SQL logging and reporting when SSL 3.0 and TLS 1.0 are both disabled, an update to the local security policy of the server is required. Open the Local Security Policy editor by clicking on the Start button and navigating to Administrative Tools and Local Security Policy. Expand Local Policies and click on Security Options. Double-click on System cryptography: Use FIPS compliant algorithms for encryption, hashing, and signing. Click Enabled and then click OK.
Restart the computer for the changes to take effect. Once complete, all SQL services should start and run without issue.
Note: If Remote Desktop Services (RDS) is used to manage the Forefront TMG firewall it will be necessary to install update KB3080079.
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.
As a reminder to anyone out there still using the URL filtering feature of their Forefront TMG 2010 firewall, the Microsoft Reputation Services (MRS) service, which provides URL categorization for TMG, will no longer be supported after December 31, 2015. After this date, Microsoft will cease updating their URL categorization database. In addition, there are no guarantees from Microsoft that the service will be available in any form, so customers still using this service are strongly encouraged to look for alternative solutions.
For many organizations, this means migrating to another platform entirely, which is not a bad idea considering that TMG is nearly six years old now. Alternatively, it is possible to replace TMG’s web filtering component. This can be done on premises by using integrations from various third-party vendors, or by using a cloud-based solution such as Zscaler.
Regardless which path you take, you have just over one month to identify and implement another URL filtering solution. Good luck!
With the demise of isatools.org a few years ago, many ISA Server and Forefront TMG 2010 administrators have reached out to me to ask where they can find the ISAinfo tool that was previously found on that site. If you’re not familiar with ISAinfo, it was a great utility used for viewing the ISA or TMG configuration by parsing the configuration export. This tool is tremendously useful for providing support, as it includes all of the information required to provide context for troubleshooting. In addition it is an excellent documentation tool.
So, if you’re looking for a reputable location from which to download this tool, look no further. I’ve placed the isainfo.zip file along with the checksums for file verification on my public OneDrive. Enjoy!
I’m a huge fan of the Fastvue TMG Reporter advanced reporting solution. If you’ve spent any time at all with the native Forefront TMG 2010 reporting tools, you know they are, as my British friends say, “rubbish”. While it is possible to configure Forefront TMG 2010 to log to an external SQL server and create your own reports, a better alternative is to use Fastvue TMG Reporter. They’ve already done all the hard work for you! Also, TMG Reporter from Fastvue works with TMG when configured to use an external SQL server, so you get the best of both worlds!
Recently the fine folks at Fastvue announced a sneak peak at their latest update to TMG Reporter in v3.0 Beta. This latest release includes a bunch of great new features, including the following:
- Site Clean – This provides a way to clean up a lot of noise from your activity reports by consolidating related requests (e.g. analytics and CDN requests).
- Private Report Sharing – Create a report for an individual or group and prevent them from accessing any other report data.
- AD Security Group Filtering – A must have for searching activity reports!
- Export to CSV for Reports and Report Tables – Great feature for detailed, granular data analysis offline.
- Filter by Firewall Server Name or IP Address – This is essential for enterprise customers managing multiple TMG firewalls across the organization.
The latest release also includes Gantt Bars for Activity Reports, changes to the Productivity Dashboard, inclusion of search terms in User Overview reports, an updated Alerts interface, and improved data visibility. In addition, v3.0 includes memory usage improvements and the usual bug fixes and miscellaneous minor improvements.
Be sure to download Fastvue TMG Report v3.0 Beta today!
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/
When performing POODLE attack mitigation on the Forefront TMG 2010 firewall by disabling SSL 3.0, you may encounter a scenario in which TMG’s SQL services fail to start after a reboot.
Looking through the Windows system event log you may see an error message logged by the Service Control Manager with event ID 36871 which states:
A fatal error occurred while creating an SSL server credential. The internal error state is 10013.
In addition you may also see an error message logged by the Service Control Manager with event ID 7024 which states:
The SQL Server (ISARS) service terminated with service-specific error %%-2146893007.
This can occur when SSL 3.0 is disabled at the same time that TLS 1.0 is also disabled. Even though TLS 1.1 and 1.2 might be enabled, TMG requires that TLS 1.0 specifically be enabled for SQL server services to function properly when SSL 3.0 is disabled.
To resolve this issue, enable TLS 1.0 Server in the registry by changing the value of Enabled to 1, as shown here. If these registry keys do not exist, create them.
Restart the server for the change to take effect.