The Citrix SD-WAN Edge security capabilities enable advanced security on Citrix SD-WAN branch appliances. It simplifies information security management for protecting the branch network from internet threats by providing a single management and reporting pane for various security functionalities along with SD-WAN. It eliminates the need for multiple branch solutions, by consolidating routing, SD-WAN, and security capabilities on a single appliance and reduces network complexity and costs.
The Edge Security stack includes the following security functionality:
- Web filtering
- Intrusion Prevention
- SSL Inspection
Edge Security functionality is available on Citrix SD-WAN Advanced Edition appliances. For more information on Editions, see Citrix SD-WAN Platform Editions and Citrix SD-WAN Platform software support. For more information on supported appliances, see the Citrix SD-WAN Data Sheet.
The Citrix SD-WAN Advanced Edition is supported on the Citrix SD-WAN 1100 appliance. Citrix SD-WAN 210 SE, 210 SE LTE, and 410 SE appliances now support Advanced Edge Security capabilities with Advanced Security add-on licenses.
Since the Edge Security feature is compute-sensitive, Citrix advises you to use the Advanced Edition appliance only at branch sites that do not already have a next generation firewall solution.
While configuring a branch site with Edge Security capabilities, ensure that a Device Model that supports Advanced Edition is selected and the Device Edition is AE. For more details on adding and configuring a site, see Site configuration.
Citrix SD-WAN Orchestrator service allows you to define security profiles for Edge Security capabilities and associate these security profiles with firewall policies. The firewall policies are enhanced to accept security profiles parameters that specify the advanced security capabilities.
You can create security profiles and configure Edge Security features through the Citrix SD-WAN Orchestrator service only.
A security profile is a set of specific edge security options that is applied to a specific segment of traffic define by a firewall policy. The intention is to protect the traffic from security threats. For example, you can define security profiles with different levels of security and access rights for different segments of your network. You can enable and configure Web filtering, Anti-Malware, and Intrusion Prevention settings for each security profile.
The security profiles are then associated to firewall policies to set the criteria for the traffic to be inspected. For example, in an organization, you can create different security profiles for employee subnets and guest firewall zones. You can then assign the security profile to an appropriate firewall policy that matches employee and guest traffic respectively.
To create a security profile, at the network level navigate to Configuration > Security > Security Profile and click New Security Profile.
Provide a name and a description for the security profile. Enable and configure Web filtering, Anti-Malware, and Intrusion Prevention settings as required.
Web filtering allows you to filter the websites your network users access through a categorization database which includes about 32 billion URLs and 750 million domains. It can prevent the exposure to inappropriate sites, spyware, phishing, pharming, website redirection, and other Internet threats. It can also enforce internet policies, preventing access to social media, peer to peer communication, gambling, and other sites frequently disallowed by corporate policies. Web Filter monitors internet traffic on your network and filters it by logging web activities and flagging or also blocking inappropriate content.
When you visit a website and web filtering is enabled, the URL is sent to a cloud database for categorization.
Configure a valid DNS server and enable HTTPS internet access through the SD-WAN management interface. This makes the cloud database reachable so that web filtering can work.
The categorization result is then cached on the SD-WAN appliance to increase the processing speed of future requests. The result is then used to flag, block, or allow websites without increasing the load time. You can add rules to block or bypass sites that are either uncategorized or mis-categorized, or to configure exceptions. You can also bypass web filtering for specific user IPs or subnets.
You can flag or block different categories of websites. Web filtering classifies URLs into six category groups, IT resources, Miscellaneous, Privacy, Productivity, Security, and Sensitive. Each of these groups has different URL categories. When you choose the block option it implicitly flags the website as well. When you try to access a website of a category that is blocked, it is flagged as a violation and the website is blocked. Categories that are flagged allow you to access the websites, but the event is flagged as a violation. You can view the details in the security logs or reports.
You can add rules to block or flag specific sites that are allowed by the settings in the categories section. You can also block/flag uncategorized or miss-categorized sites. Enter the domain name provide a description and select Block or Flag. The decisions for URLs in the Block/Flag Sites list take precedence over the decisions based on the site category.
- You can only add fully qualified domain names (FQDNs), for example - somedomain.com. You cannot add URL paths, for example - somedomain.com/path/to/file.
- Any domain added to block/flag sites also includes its subdomains. For instance, adding domain.com will block/flag subdomain1.domain.com, subdomain2.domain.com, and subdomainlevel2.subdomainlevel1.domain.com.
You can add rules to allow specific sites within categories that are blocked. Any domain added to the Bypass Sites list is allowed, even if it is blocked by category or by individual URL. Enter the domain name and provide a description. Select Active to allow the URL.
- You can only add fully qualified domain names (FQDNs), for example - somedomain.com. You cannot add URL paths, for example - somedomain.com/path/to/file.
- Any domain added to bypass sites also includes its subdomains. For instance, adding domain.com bypasses subdomain1.domain.com, subdomain2.domain.com, and subdomainlevel2.subdomainlevel1.domain.com.
Bypass client IPs
You can add rules to bypass web filtering for specific IP addresses or subnets. You can provide either an IP address or subnet CIDR notation and a meaningful description. The web filter does not block any traffic, regardless of the blocked categories or sites. Select Active to allow traffic from these IP addresses.
Since DHCP IPs can change, use this feature only for clients with static IPs or subnets.
HTTPS options are considered for web filtering if SSL inspection is not configured or the traffic matches an Ignore SSL inspection rule. In these cases, while the full URL is not visible, web filtering might still be performed based on the Server Name Indication (SNI), server certificate, or IP address:
Process HTTPS traffic by Server Name indication (SNI) information if present: SNI is an extension to the Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol by which a client indicates the name of the website that the user is trying to connect to at the start of the secure connection handshake process.
This not only enables the server to provide the right certificate, but also the SD-WAN appliance to identify the target website and determine its URL category, even if the end-to-end communication is encrypted. If this option is enabled, HTTPS traffic is categorized using the SNI in the HTTPS data stream, if present.
The Process HTTPS traffic by SNI option is enabled by default.
Process HTTPS traffic by hostname in server certificate when SNI information not present: If this option is enabled and SNI information is not present, then the certificate is fetched from the HTTPS server and the server name on the certificate is used for categorization and filtering purposes.
Process HTTPS traffic by server IP if both SNI and certificate hostname information are not available: If this option is enabled and neither of the previous options worked, HTTPS traffic is categorized using the IP address.
Safe browsing options
Under Advanced Options, the following safe browsing options are added that you can select/deselect as needed:
Enforce safe search on popular search engines: Safe search is enforced on all searches using supported search engines. For example, Google, Yahoo!, Bing, Ask, and so on.
Enforce restrict mode on YouTube: Restrict mode is enforced on all YouTube content. The restrict mode is an option to intentionally limit your YouTube experience.
Force searches through kid-friendly search engine: All searches in popular search engines are redirected through kidzsearch.com. The Kidzsearch.com is a web portal powered by Google Custom Search with academic autocomplete that emphasizes safety for children.
Safe Browsing only takes effect if related traffic undergoes the SSL inspection. Towards this end, ensure that the SSL inspection is turned on for the respective security profile and Inspect rules for search engines and YouTube are not disabled.
Block QUIC (UDP port 443): The firewall blocks any outgoing communication on UDP port 443, which is typically used for the QUIC protocol, which cannot be processed by the web filtering module. Blocking QUIC results in the browser falling back to TCP based HTTP(S) communication.
Block pages from IP only hosts: Users entering an IP address rather than domain name is blocked.
Allow if referrer matches any Bypass Sites: If a page containing external content is allowed through Bypass URL, the external content is passed regardless of other block policies.
Although this option allows you to access the external websites, it exposes a security risk. The referrer option in the HTTP header can be overwritten by browser add-ons and plug-ins. Citrix advises you to use this option judiciously.
Close connection for blocked HTTPS sessions without redirecting to block page: The SD-WAN appliance issues an HTTP redirect to a custom block page in case the URL is blocked. However, this redirect is not possible for HTTPS sessions without resulting in a Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) session termination, displaying an invalid certificate browser warning page. This option results in the HTTPS session being terminated instead, to prevent a false warning about a potential attack on the target website.
This option is enabled by default. When enabled, not all the HTTPS traffic gets the SSL inspection treatment.
Custom URL for Block: Set an external server location to redirect users when they are denied access to a website by Web Filter. If a custom URL is configured, the following query string variables are passed so that the receiving system can customize its content.
reason: The reason the user was denied access. This is the Category name Web-based+Email, and a longer category description. For example, Sites+offering+web+based+email+and+email+clients (the space characters are replaced with “+”) in case the site was blocked due to its category. Otherwise, if blocked due to “block URLs” it is empty.
appname: The application that is responsible for the denial (Web filtering).
appid: The application identifier, an internal identifier for web-filtering which can be ignored).
host: the domain-name of the URL that the end-user was denied access to.
clientAddress: The IP address of the end-user that was denied access.
url: The requested URL that was denied access.
If you do not use your own webpage to process the denial, the built-in denial issues a redirect to a non-routable IP address.
You can view detailed web filtering reports on the Citrix SD-WAN Orchestrator service. For more details, see Reports – Web filtering
Intrusion Prevention detects and prevents malicious activity in your network. It includes a database of over 34,000 signature detections and heuristic signatures for port scans allowing you to effectively monitor and block most suspicious requests. You can choose to enable or disable IPS while defining a security profile. When you enable IPS, it inspects the network traffic against signatures which are site-dependent and determined by the IPS profile site mapping. For more information on creating, managing, and associating IPS profiles to sites, Intrusion Prevention.
Intrusion Prevention only detects malicious traffic over the traffic captured by the respective Firewall policies.
You can view detailed Intrusion Prevention reports on the Citrix SD-WAN Orchestrator service. For more details, see Reports – Intrusion Prevention.
The Edge Security Anti-Malware scans and eradicates viruses, trojans, and other malware. Anti-Malware can scan HTTP, FTP, and SMTP traffic at your network and examine it against a database of known signatures and file patterns for infection. If no infection is detected, the traffic is sent to the recipient. If an infection is detected, Anti-Malware deletes or quarantines the infected file and notifies the user.
Anti-Malware uses Bitdefender’s engine to scan the downloaded files using a combination of signature database, heuristics for suspicious patterns and dynamic emulator analysis. The download files are blocked if any of these tests fails.
Bypass URLs without scanning
You can bypass Anti-Malware scanning for trusted internal sites or external sites that are used for regular updates, generate more traffic, and are considered safe. By allowing trusted sites to pass through without scanning, you can reduce the resource spent on scanning these sites.
Enter the URL, provide a brief description, and add the URL to the bypass URL list.
Scan by file types
Anti-Malware by default supports scanning of 41 file-type extensions in HTTP traffic. Anti-Malware scanning involves in depth analysis through signatures, heuristics, and emulation, making it a compute sensitive process.
You can also add a new file type. To add a new file type, click Manage > provide File Types and Description > click Add. Select the Scan check box to include the file type for Anti-Malware scanning. Clear the Scan check box for file types that need not to be scanned. You can also edit or delete the file types if necessary.
The file-types that are selected by default make a balance between the Anti-Malware effectiveness and system performance. Enabling more file types, increase the Edge Security processing load and compromises the overall system capacity.
Scan by MIME types
A multipurpose internet mail extension (MIME) type is an internet standard that describes the content of an internet file based on the nature and format. Similar to file types, you can also add and choose to exclude certain MIME types from Anti-Malware scanning.
To add MIME types, click Manage > add a MIME type in the MIME Types field and provide a Description > click Add. Select the Scan check box to include the MIME type for Anti-Malware scanning. Clear the Scan check box for MIME type that need not be scanned. You can also edit or delete the MIME types if necessary.
The MIME types selected by default are chosen to have balance between anti-malware effectiveness and system capacity. Enabling more file types increase the Edge Security processing load and compromises the overall system capacity.
Other scan options
You can choose to enable or disable Anti-Malware scans on the following internet protocols:
Scan HTTP: Enable Anti-Malware scanning on HTTP traffic.
Scan FTP: Enable Anti-Malware scanning on FTP downloads.
Scan SMTP: Enable Anti-Malware scanning on SMTP message attachments and choose the action to be performed.
Remove Infection: The infected attachment is removed and the email is delivered to the recipient.
Pass Message: The email is delivered to the recipient with the attachment intact.
For Remove Infection and Pass Message actions the email subject line is prepended with “[VIRUS]”.
Block Message: The email is blocked and not delivered to the recipient.
You can set an external server location to redirect users when they are denied access to a website by Anti-Malware. Select the Block Page check box.
Custom block page URL: Creates a custom redirect page. If a custom URL is configured, the following query string variables are passed so that the receiving system can customize its content.
- Host: The domain-name of the URL that the end-user was denied access to.
- URL: The requested URL that was denied access.
If you do not use your own webpage to process the denial, then the built-in denial issues a redirect to a non-routable IP address.
You can view detailed Anti-Malware scan reports on the Citrix SD-WAN Orchestrator service. For more details, see Reports – Anti-Malware.
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) inspection is a process of intercepting, decrypting, and scanning the HTTPS and secure SMTP traffic for malicious content. It can perform the following:
- Scan for malware
- Perform URL filtering on the full URL path rather than only the top-level domain
- Redirect users to a custom block page for HTTPS traffic similar to that of HTTP traffic
SSL inspection is supported from Citrix SD-WAN 11.3.0 release onwards.
You can enable SSL inspection and create SSL rules as part of the Security profiles. SSL rules provide the ability to define the conditions to handle the HTTPS and secure SMTP traffic. Before configuring the SSL rules, ensure that you have configured your organization’s root CA and deployed the root CA to client devices. For information on configuring root CA, see Security.
On the SSL Inspection tab, select Enable SSL Inspector to enable SSL inspection. Click New Rule and provide a description. Select one of the following conditions:
- SSL Inspector: SNI Hostname: Defines the SSL rule based on the Server Name Indicator (SNI) host name.
- SSL Inspector: Certificate Subject: Defines the SSL rule based on the SSL certificate.
- SSL Inspector: Certificate Issuer: Defines the SSL rule based on who the certificate issuer is.
Select the Operation and provide a Value to match the condition. Select one of the following Actions:
- Inspect: The traffic that meets the selected rule conditions undergoes SSL inspection.
- Ignore: The traffic that meets the selected rule conditions does not undergo SSL inspected and is allowed to flow unimpeded. Basic web filtering based on the SNI can still be performed.
Enable the rule and click Done.
Before completing the SSL inspection configuration, consider the following:
- SSL inspection is a compute-sensitive operation that can reduce Edge Security throughput by up to 70%. It is recommended that you selectively inspect rather than selectively ignore. The default configuration reflects selective inspect by having Ignore all traffic enabled as the fallback rule.
- Web filtering safe browsing options require SSL inspection of search engine and YouTube traffic. You must not disable or delete the respective default rules if you are planning to use the safe browsing options.
Edge security firewall policy
The Edge Security capabilities are triggered using firewall policies. You can define a firewall policy for the match type IP Protocol and map it to a security profile. If the incoming traffic matches the filtering criteria, an inspect action is triggered and the security capabilities, configured as per the selected security profile, are applied.
Citrix SD-WAN evaluates firewall policies in a “first-match” manner, where the first matching policy determines the action. Firewall policies must be configured in the following order:
- IP protocol, Office 365, and DNS app firewall policies with non-inspect action
- Edge security firewall policies (IP protocol firewall policies with inspect action)
- Application firewall policies
To configure a firewall policy and enable edge security, navigate to Configuration > Security > Firewall Profiles and add a profile based on your preference. Click Create New Rule. Select the Match Type as IP Protocol and configure the filtering criteria. For more information, see Firewall profiles. Select the Inspect (for IP Protocol) action and select a security profile.
While there is no limit on the number of security profiles you can create, you can only assign up to 32 Inspect firewall policies to a site.
- The appliance software takes longer time to download for Citrix SD-WAN Standard Edition (SE) appliances that are upgraded to Advanced Edition (AE). The Edge Security subsystem of AE appliances is bundled separately to prevent any impact on the download size for SE appliances.
- The Citrix SD-WAN Edge Security web filtering can only check the Server Name Indication (SNI) for the HTTPS sites to decide whether to block, flag, or allow the traffic.
- External syslog server support is not available through Citrix SD-WAN Orchestrator service for Citrix SD-WAN Edge Security.