What’s New in FortiClient 5.4

What’s New in FortiClient 5.4

The following is a list of new features and enhancements in FortiClient 5.4.

This document was written for FortiClient (Windows) 5.4.0. Not all features described in this document are supported for FortiClient (Mac OS X) 5.4.0.

New features in FortiClient 5.4.0

The following is a list of new features in FortiClient version 5.4.0.


Advanced Persistent Threats

FortiClient 5.4.0 has enhanced capabilities for the detection of Advanced Persistent Threats (APT). There are two changes added in this respect:

l Botnet Command and Control Communications Detection l FortiSandbox integration (Windows only)

Botnet Communication Detection

Botnets running on compromised systems usually generate outbound network traffic directed towards Command and Control (C&C) servers of their respective owners. The servers may provide updates for the botnet, or commands on actions to execute locally, or on other accessible, remote systems. When the new botnet feature is enabled, FortiClient monitors and compare network traffic with a list of known Command and Control servers. Any such network traffic will be blocked.

FortiSandbox Integration

FortiSandbox offers the capabilities to analyze new, previously unknown and undetected virus samples in realtime. Files sent to it are scanned first, using similar Antivirus (AV) engine and signatures as are available on the FortiOS and FortiClient. If the file is not detected but is an executable file, it is run (sandboxed) in a Microsoft Windows virtual machine (VM) and monitored. The file is given a rating or score based on its activities and behavior in the VM.

FortiClient integration with FortiSandbox allows users to submit files to FortiSandbox for automatic scanning. When configured, FortiClient will send supported files downloaded over the internet to FortiSandbox if they cannot be detected by the local, real-time scanning. Access to the downloaded file is blocked until the scanning result is returned.

As FortiSandbox receives files for scanning from various sources, it collects and generates AV signatures for such samples. FortiClient periodically downloads the latest AV signatures from the FortiSandbox, and applies them locally to all real-time and on-demand AV scanning.

What’s New in FortiClient 5.4                                                                     New features in FortiClient 5.4.0

Enhanced Real-Time Protection Implementation

The Real-Time Protection (RTP) or on-access feature in FortiClient uses tight integration with Microsoft Windows to monitor files locally, or over a network file system, as they are being downloaded, saved, run, copied, renamed, opened, or written to. The FortiClient driver coupling with Windows has been re-written to use modern APIs provided by Microsoft. All basic features remain the same, with a few minor differences in behavior. Some noticeable performance enhancements could be observed in various use case scenarios.

Web Filtering

Web Browser Usage and Duration

If configured, FortiClient will record detailed information about the user’s web browser activities, such as:

l A history of websites visited by the user (as shown in regular web browser history) l An estimate of the duration or length of stay on the website.

These logs are sent to FortiAnalyzer, if configured. With FortiAnalyzer 5.4.0 or newer, the FortiClient logs sent from various endpoints may be viewed in FortiView.


Authorized Machine Detection

For enterprises where new computers may be brought into the organization by employees, FortiClient can be configured to check or identify the computer before allowing it to establish IPsec VPN or SSL VPN connections to the FortiGate. The administrator may configure restrictions with one or more of the following:

l Registry check: Ensure a specific registry path contains a predetermined value l File check: Verify the existence of a specific file at a specified location l Application check: Ensure that a specific application is installed and running

The verification criteria can be configured using advanced FortiClient XML configurations on the FortiGate or Enterprise Management Server (EMS).

New features in FortiClient 5.4.0                                                                     What’s New in FortiClient 5.4

New SSL VPN Windows driver

The FortiClient SSL VPN driver pppop.sys was re-written to use the latest Microsoft recommended CoNDIS WAN driver model. The new driver is selected when FortiClient is installed on Windows 7 or newer. The SSL VPN driver included in the previous versions of FortiClient will still be maintained.

New IPsec VPN Windows drivers

FortiClient IPsec VPN drivers have been updated to support Microsoft Windows NDIS 6.3 specification. The new drivers are compatible with Microsoft Windows 8.1 or newer.

Support for DTLS

FortiClient SSL VPN connections to FortiGate now support Datagram Transport Layer Security (DTLS) by using User Datagram Protocol (UDP) as the transport protocol. Previously FortiClient SSL VPN connections supported only Transport Control Protocol (TCP). You can now use FortiGate to configure SSL VPN connections that use DTLS. You cannot use FortiClient to configure SSL VPN connections that use DTLS. When FortiClient endpoints use a DTLS-enabled SSL VPN connection with FortiGate, and FortiGate communicates DTLS support, FortiClient uses DTLS via UDP. If DTLS fails, FortiClient will fall back to use TLS to establish an SSL VPN connection.

Endpoint Control

Integration with the new Enterprise Management Server

The Enterprise Management Server (EMS) is a new product from Fortinet for businesses to use to manage their computer endpoints. It runs on a Windows Server, not requiring a physical Fortinet device. Administrators may use it to gain insight into the status of their endpoints. The EMS supports devices running Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Android, and iOS.

FortiClient Endpoint Control (EC) protocol has been updated to seamlessly integrate with the EMS. Various changes were added to support EMS features, including:

l Deployment of FortiClient to new Microsoft Windows devices l Continuous monitoring of device statuses l AV engine and signature update status reports l AV scanning schedules and requests for AV scans l Notifications about protection statuses.

What’s New in FortiClient 5.4                                                                     New features in FortiClient 5.4.0

FortiGate Network Access Control when FortiClient is Deployed using EMS

The new EMS can be used to deploy FortiClient to a large number of Microsoft Windows endpoints. While creating a profile for FortiClient deployment, the EMS administrator can choose to configure the FortiClient to register to the same EMS, or to a FortiGate.

Changes in FortiClient 5.4.0 allow the EMS administrator to deploy FortiClient to endpoints, and configure it to register to a FortiGate, while simultaneously notifying the EMS of its registration status. The FortiClient EC registration to the FortiGate is required for Network Access Compliance (NAC). The administrator can configure the FortiGate to allow access to network resources only if the client is compliant with the appropriate interface EC profile.

Quarantine an Infected Endpoint from the FortiGate or EMS

A computer endpoint that is considered to be infected may be quarantined by the FortiGate or EMS administrator. FortiClient needs to be online, using EC, and registered to the FortiGate or EMS.

Once quarantined, all network traffic to or from the infected endpoint will be blocked locally. This allows time for remediation actions to be taken on the endpoint, such as scanning and cleaning the infected system, reverting to a known clean system restore point, or re-installing the operating system.

The administrator may un-quarantine the endpoint in the future from the same FortiGate or EMS.

Importing FortiGate CA Certificate after EC Registration

When the FortiGate is configured to use SSL deep inspection, users visiting encrypted websites will usually receive an invalid certificate warning. The certificate signed by the FortiGate does not have a Certificate Authority (CA) at the endpoint to verify it. Users can manually import the FortiGate CA certificate to stop the error from being displayed, however, all users will have to do the same.

When registering EC to a FortiGate, the FortiClient will receive the FortiGate’s CA certificate and install it into the system store. If Firefox is installed on the endpoint, the FortiGate’s CA certificate will also be installed into the Firefox certificate store. This way the end user will no longer receive the invalid certificate error message when visiting encrypted websites.

Enhancement to On-net/Off-net Configuration

The on-net feature requires the use of a FortiGate as a DHCP server. This is usually configured on the same FortiGate that the FortiClient will be registered. When the device that FortiClient is running on has an IP address from the FortiGate’s DHCP server, it is on-net. For any other IP addresses, it is off- net.

New features in FortiClient 5.4.0                                                                     What’s New in FortiClient 5.4

There is a new way to configure the on-net feature. On the FortiGate, the DHCP server can be used, or several network subnets can be provided.

FortiClient will be on-net if:

l It is registered using EC to the FortiGate, l It belongs to one of the pre-configured on-net subnets, or l It provides the DHCP for on-net properties.

Otherwise, FortiClient will be off-net.

FortiClient GUI

Antivirus Settings Page

With the introduction of botnet detection, and the integration with FortiSandbox with FortiClient (Windows), the AV settings page on the FortiClient GUI has been updated to allow configuration of the new features. The AV settings page is accessible from the FortiClient dashboard. Select the AV tab on the left pane. Then click the settings icon on Real-Time Protection in the right pane. The following may be selected on the AV settings page:

  • File scanning (previously, Real-Time Protection or RTP) l Scan unknown, supported files using FortiSandbox (Windows only) l Malicious website detection
  • Botnet detection (block known communication channels)

FortiClient Banner Design

If FortiClient (full version or VPN only) is running in standalone mode and not registered to a FortiGate or EMS, a single banner at the bottom of the GUI is displayed. When registered to a FortiGate or EMS, the banner is hidden by default. Similarly, when created from a FortiClient Configurator (Windows) or Repackager (OS X), no banner is displayed by default.


Enhancement to FortiClient logs

FortiClient will create a log entry to show just the URL visited by the user through a web browser. This is in addition to the network level logs generated by FortiClient.

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About Mike

Michael Pruett, CISSP has a wide range of cyber-security and network engineering expertise. The plethora of vendors that resell hardware but have zero engineering knowledge resulting in the wrong hardware or configuration being deployed is a major pet peeve of Michael's. This site was started in an effort to spread information while providing the option of quality consulting services at a much lower price than Fortinet Professional Services. Owns PacketLlama.Com (Fortinet Hardware Sales) and Office Of The CISO, LLC (Cybersecurity consulting firm).

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