Configure IPS options

Configure IPS options

The following IPS configuration options are available:

  • Malicious URL database for drive-by exploits detection
  • Customizable replacement message when IPS blocks traffic
  • Hardware Acceleration
  • Extended IPS Database
  • Configuring the IPS engine algorithm
  • Configuring the IPS engine-count
  • Configuring fail-open
  • Configuring the session count accuracy
  • Configuring IPS intelligence
  • Configuring the IPS buffer size
  • Configuring protocol decoders
  • Configuring security processing modules
  • IPS signature rate count threshold


Malicious URL database for drive-by exploits detection

This feature uses a local malicious URL database on the FortiGate to assist in drive-by exploits detection. The database contains all malicious URLs active in the last one month, and all drive-by exploit URLs active in the last three months. The number of URLs are controlled in the one million range.


CLI Syntax

config ips sensor edit <profile>

set block-malicious-url [enable | disable]

next end


Customizable replacement message when IPS blocks traffic

You can edit a replacement message that will appear specifically for IPS sensor blocked Internet access. Go to System > Replacement Messages, and find IPS Sensor Block Page under the Security heading.


Hardware Acceleration for flow-based security profiles (NTurbo and IPSA)

Some FortiGate models support a feature call NTurbo that can offload flow-based firewall sessions to NP4 or NP6 network processors. Some FortiGate models also support offloading enhanced pattern matching for flow- based security profiles to CP8 or CP9 content processors. You can use the following command to configure NTurbo and IPSA:


config ips global

set np-accel-mode {none | basic}

set cp-accel-mode {none | basic | advanced}


If the np-accel-mode option is available, your FortiGate supports NTurbo: none disables NTurbo and basic (the default) enables NTurbo. If the cp-accel-mode option is available your FortiGate supports IPSA: none disables IPSA, basic enables basic IPSA and advanced enables enhanced IPSA which can offload more types of pattern matching than basic IPSA. advanced is only available on FortiGate models with two or more CP8 processors or one or more CP9 processors.

See the Hardware Acceleration handbook chapter for more information about NTurbo and IPSA.


Extended IPS Database

Some models have access to an extended IPS Database. The extended database may affect the performance of the FortiGate unit so depending on the model of the FortiGate unit the extended database package may not be enabled by default. For example, the D-series Desktop model have this option disabled by default.

This feature can only be enbled through the CLI.

config ips global

set database extended end


Configuring the IPS engine algorithm

The IPS engine is able to search for signature matches in two ways. One method is faster but uses more memory, the other uses less memory but is slower. Use the algorithm CLI command to select one method:

config ips global

set algorithm {super | high | low | engine-pick}



Specify high to use the faster more memory intensive method or low for the slower memory efficient method. The setting super improves the performance for FortiGate units with more than 4GB of memory. The default setting is engine-pick, which allows the IPS engine to choose the best method on the fly.


Configuring the IPS engine-count

FortiGate units with multiple processors can run more than one IPS engine concurrently. The engine-count CLI command allows you to specify how many IPS engines are used at the same time:

config ips global

set engine-count <int>



The recommended and default setting is 0, which allows the FortiGate unit to determine the optimum number of IPS engines.


Configuring fail-open

IPS protection is likely more important to your network than uninterrupted flow of network traffic, so the fail-open behaviour of the IPS engine is disabled by default. If you would like to enable the fail-open option, use the following syntax. When enabled, if the IPS engine fails for any reason, it will fail open. This applies for inspection of all the protocols inspected by FortiOS IPS protocol decoders, including but not limited to HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, SMTP, POP3, IMAP, etc. This means that traffic continues to flow without IPS scanning. To enable:

config ips global

set fail-open {enable | disable}



The default setting is disable.


Configuring the session count accuracy

The IPS engine can keep track of the number of open session in two ways. An accurate count uses more resources than a less accurate heuristic count.

config ips global

set session-limit-mode {accurate | heuristic}



The default is heuristic.


Configuring IPS intelligence

If intelligent-mode is enabled (the default), in most cases the IPS engine will scan the first 200 kilobytes of a session (this value is hard coded).

In some cases, however, the IPS engine will still scan all traffic in a session. If intelligent-mode is disabled, the IPS engine scans all traffic.

config ips global

set intelligent-mode [enable|disable]



Configuring the IPS buffer size

Set the size of the IPS buffer.

config ips global

set socket-size <int>



The acceptable range is from 1 to 64 megabytes. The default size varies by model. In short, socket-size determines how much data the kernel passes to the IPS engine each time the engine samples packets.


Configuring protocol decoders

The FortiGate Intrusion Protection system uses protocol decoders to identify the abnormal traffic patterns that do not meet the protocol requirements and standards. For example, the HTTP decoder monitors traffic to identify any HTTP packets that do not meet the HTTP protocol standards.

To change the ports a decoder examines, you must use the CLI. In this example, the ports examined by the DNS decoder are changed from the default 53 to 100, 200, and 300.

config ips decoder dns_decoder set port_list “100,200,300”



You cannot assign specific ports to decoders that are set to auto by default. These decoders can detect their traffic on any port. Specifying individual ports is not necessary.


Configuring security processing modules

FortiGate Security Processing Modules, such as the CE4, XE2, and FE8, can increase overall system performance by accelerating some security and networking processing on the interfaces they provide. They also allow the FortiGate unit to offload the processing to the security module, thereby freeing up its own processor for other tasks. The security module performs its own IPS and firewall processing, but you can configure it to favor IPS in hostile high-traffic environments.

If you have a security processing module, use the following CLI commands to configure it to devote more resources to IPS than firewall. This example shows the CLI commands required to configure a security module in slot 1 for increased IPS performance.


config system amc-slot edit sw1

set optimization-mode fw-ips set ips-weight balanced

set ips-p2p disable

set ips-fail-open enable set fp-disable none

set ipsec-inb-optimization enable set syn-proxy-client-timer 3

set syn-proxy-server-timer 3 end

In addition to offloading IPS processing, security processing modules provide a hardware accelerated SYN proxy to defend against SYN flood denial of service attacks. When using a security module, configure your DoS anomaly check for tcp_syn_flood with the Proxy action. The Proxy action activates the hardware accelerated SYN proxy.


IPS signature rate count threshold

The IPS signature threshold can allow configuring a signature so that it will not be triggered until a rate count threshold is met. This provides a more controlled recording of attack activity. For example, if multiple login attempts produce a failed result over a short period of time then an alert would be sent and perhaps traffic blocked. This would be a more rational response than sending an alert every time a login failed.


The syntax for this configuration is as follows:

config ips sensor edit default

config entries

edit <Filter ID number>

set rule <*id>

set rate-count <integer between 1 – 65535>

set rate-duration <integer between 1 – 65535>


The value of the rate-duration is an integer for the time in seconds.

set rate-mode <continuous | periodical>


The rate-mode refers to how the count threshold is met.

If the setting is “continuous”, and the action is set to block, as soon as the rate-count is reached the action is engaged. For example, if the count is 10, as soon as the signature is triggered 10 times the traffic would be blocked.

If the setting is “periodical”, the FortiGate allows up to the value of the rate-count incidents where the signature is triggered during the rate-duration. For example, if the rate count is 100 and the duration is 60, the signature would need to be triggered 100 times in 60 seconds for the action to be engaged.

set rate-track <dest-ip | dhcp-client-mac | dns-domain | none | src-ip>


This setting allows the tracking of one of the protocol fields within the packet.

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