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Security Profiles overview

Security Profiles overview

Ranging from the FortiGate®-30 series for small businesses to the FortiGate-5000 series for large enterprises, service providers and carriers, the FortiGate line combines a number of security features to protect your network from threats. As a whole, these features, when included in a single Fortinet security appliance, are referred to as Security Profiles. The Security Profiles features your FortiGate model includes are:

  • AntiVirus
  • Web Filter
  • DNS Filter
  • Application Control
  • Cloud Access Security Inspection
  • Intrusion Protection
  • Anti-Spam
  • Data Leak Prevention
  • VoIP
  • ICAP
  • Web Application Firewall
  • FortiClient Profiles
  • Proxy Options
  • SSL Inspection
  • Web Rating Overrides
  • Web Profile Overrides
  • ICAP Servers


FortiOS 5.4 no longer supports FortiClient 5.0.

FortiOS 5.2 can support FortiClient 5.0, but only if the FortiGate upgraded to FortiOS 5.2. Customers need to purchase a FortiClient 5.4 subscription-based FortiClient license.

Firewall policies limit access, and while this and similar features are a vital part of securing your network, they are not covered in this document.


Traffic inspection

When the FortiGate unit examines network traffic one packet at a time for IPS signatures, it is performing traffic analysis. This is unlike content analysis where the traffic is buffered until files, email messages, web pages, and other files are assembled and examined as a whole.

DoS policies use traffic analysis by keeping track of the type and quantity of packets, as well as their source and destination addresses.

Application control uses traffic analysis to determine which application generated the packet.

Although traffic inspection doesn’t involve taking packets and assembling files they are carrying, the packets themselves can be split into fragments as they pass from network to network. These fragments are reassembled by the FortiGate unit before examination.

No two networks are the same and few recommendations apply to all networks. This topic offers suggestions on how you can use the FortiGate unit to help secure your network against content threats.


IPS signatures

IPS signatures can detect malicious network traffic. For example, the Code Red worm attacked a vulnerability in the Microsoft IIS web server. Your FortiGate’s IPS system can detect traffic attempting to exploit this vulnerability. IPS may also detect when infected systems communicate with servers to receive instructions.


IPS recommendations

  • Enable IPS scanning at the network edge for all services.
  • Use FortiClient endpoint IPS scanning for protection against threats that get into your network.
  • Subscribe to FortiGuard IPS Updates and configure your FortiGate unit to receive push updates. This will ensure you receive new IPS signatures as soon as they are available.
  • Your FortiGate unit includes IPS signatures written to protect specific software titles from DoS attacks. Enable the signatures for the software you have installed and set the signature action to Block.
  • You can view these signatures by going to Security Profiles > Intrusion Protection and selecting the [View IPS Signatures] link.
  • Because it is critical to guard against attacks on services that you make available to the public, configure IPS signatures to block matching signatures. For example, if you have a web server, configure the action of web server signatures to Block.


Suspicious traffic attributes

Network traffic itself can be used as an attack vector or a means to probe a network before an attack. For example, SYN and FIN flags should never appear together in the same TCP packet. The SYN flag is used to initiate a TCP session while the FIN flag indicates the end of data transmission at the end of a TCP session.

The FortiGate unit has IPS signatures that recognize abnormal and suspicious traffic attributes. The SYN/FIN combination is one of the suspicious flag combinations detected in TCP traffic by the TCP.BAD.FLAGS signature.

The signatures that are created specifically to examine traffic options and settings, begin with the name of the traffic type they are associated with. For example, signatures created to examine TCP traffic have signature names starting with TCP.


Application control

While applications can often be blocked by the ports they use, application control allows convenient management of all supported applications, including those that do not use set ports.


Application control recommendations

  • Some applications behave in an unusual manner in regards to application control. For more information, see Application considerations on page 2145.
  • By default, application control allows the applications not specified in the application control list. For high security networks, you may want to change this behavior so that only the explicitly allowed applications are permitted.


SSL inspection

Regular web filtering can be circumvented by using https:// instead of http://. By enabling this feature, the FortiGate can filter traffic that is using the HTTPS protocol.


Content inspection and filtering

When the FortiGate unit buffers the packets containing files, email messages, web pages, and other similar files for reassembly before examining them, it is performing content inspection. Traffic inspection, on the other hand, is accomplished by the FortiGate unit examining individual packets of network traffic as they are received.

No two networks are the same and few recommendations apply to all networks. This topic offers suggestions on how you can use the FortiGate unit to help secure your network against content threats. Be sure to understand the effects of the changes before using the suggestions.



The FortiGate antivirus scanner can detect viruses and other malicious payloads used to infect machines. The FortiGate unit performs deep content inspection. To prevent attempts to disguise viruses, the antivirus scanner will reassemble fragmented files and uncompress content that has been compressed. Patented Compact Pattern Recognition Language (CPRL) allows further inspection for common patterns, increasing detection rates of virus variations in the future.


AntiVirus recommendations

  • Enable antivirus scanning at the network edge for all services.
  • Use FortiClient endpoint antivirus scanning for protection against threats that get into your network.
  • Subscribe to FortiGuard AntiVirus Updates and configure your FortiGate unit to receive push updates. This will ensure you receive new antivirus signatures as soon as they are available.
  • Enable the Extended Virus Database if your FortiGate unit supports it.
  • Examine antivirus logs periodically. Take particular notice of repeated detections. For example, repeated virus detection in SMTP traffic could indicate a system on your network is infected and is attempting to contact other systems to spread the infection using a mass mailer.
  • The builtinpatterns file filter list contains nearly 20 file patterns. Many of the represented files can be executed or opened with a double-click. If any of these file patterns are not received as a part of your normal traffic, blocking them may help protect your network. This also saves resources since files blocked in this way do not need to be scanned for viruses.
  • To conserve system resources, avoid scanning email messages twice. Scan messages as they enter and leave your network or when clients send and retrieve them, rather than both.
  • Enable Treat Windows Executables in Email Attachments as Viruses if you are concerned about incoming ‘.exe’ files.


FortiGuard Web Filtering

The web is the most popular part of the Internet and, as a consequence, virtually every computer connected to the Internet is able to communicate using port 80, HTTP. Botnet communications take advantage of this open port and use it to communicate with infected computers. FortiGuard Web Filtering can help stop infections from malware sites and help prevent communication if an infection occurs.


FortiGuard Web Filtering recommendations

  • Enable FortiGuard Web Filtering at the network edge.
  • Install the FortiClient application and use FortiGuard Web Filtering on any systems that bypass your FortiGate unit.
  • Block categories such as Pornography, Malware, Spyware, and Phishing. These categories are more likely to be dangerous.
  • In the email filter profile, enable IP Address Check in FortiGuard Email Filtering. Many IP addresses used in spam messages lead to malicious sites; checking them will protect your users and your network.


DNS Filter

The following filtering options can be configured in a DNS Filter profile:


Blocking DNS requests to known Botnet C&C addresses

A new FortiGuard database contains a list of known Botnet C&C addresses. This database is updated dynamically and stored on the FortiGate. This database is covered by FortiGuard web filter licensing, so you must have a FortiGuard web filtering license to use this feature. You can view the botnet list by going to System > FortiGuard > Botnet Definitions.

When you block DNS requests to known Botnet C&C addresses, using IPS, DNS lookups are checked against the Botnet C&C database. All matching DNS lookups are blocked. Matching uses a reverse prefix match, so all sub- domains are also blocked.

To enable blocking of DNS requests to known Botnet C&C addresses, go to Security Profiles > DNS Filter, and enable Block DNS requests to known botnet C&C.


Static URL filter

The DNS inspection profile static URL filter allows you to block, exempt, or monitor DNS requests by using IPS to look inside DNS packets and match the domain being looked up with the domains on the static URL filter list. If there is a match the DNS request can be blocked, exempted, monitored, or allowed.

If blocked, the DNS request is blocked and so the user cannot look up the address and connect to the site. If exempted, access to the site is allowed even if another method is used to block it.

DNSbased web filtering

This feature is similar to the FortiGuard DNS web filtering available in FortiOS 5.2. You can configure DNS web filtering to allow, block, or monitor access to web content according to FortiGuard categories. When DNS web filtering is enabled, your FortiGate must use the FortiGuard DNS service for DNS lookups. DNS lookup requests sent to the FortiGuard DNS service return with an IP address and a domain rating that includes the FortiGuard category of the web page.

If that FortiGuard category is set to block, the result of the DNS lookup is not returned to the requester. If the category is set to redirect, then the address returned to the requester points at a FortiGuard redirect page.

You can also allow access or monitor access based on FortiGuard category.



Spam is a common means by which attacks are delivered. Users often open email attachments they should not, and infect their own machine. The FortiGate email filter can detect harmful spam and mark it, alerting the user to the potential danger.


AntiSpam filter recommendations

  • Enable email filtering at the network edge for all types of email traffic.
  • Use FortiClient endpoint scanning for protection against threats that get into your network.
  • Subscribe to the FortiGuard Anti-Spam Service.


Data Leak Prevention

Most security features on the FortiGate unit are designed to keep unwanted traffic out of your network while Data Leak Prevention (DLP) can help you keep sensitive information from leaving your network. For example, credit card numbers and social security numbers can be detected by DLP sensors.


DLP recommendations

  • Rules related to HTTP posts can be created, but if the requirement is to block all HTTP posts, a better solution is to use application control or the HTTP POST Action option in the web filter profile.
  • While DLP can detect sensitive data, it is more efficient to block unnecessary communication channels than to use DLP to examine it. If you don’t use instant messaging or peer-to-peer communication in your organization, for example, use application control to block them entirely.

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