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Manual Chapter: Using Application-Ready Security Templates
Manual Chapter
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Overview: Using application-ready security templates

The Application Security Manager provides application-ready security policies, which are baseline templates, for the following enterprise applications:

  • Microsoft ActiveSync 1.0, 2.0
  • Microsoft Outlook Web Access Exchange 2003, 2007, 2010
  • Microsoft Outlook Web Access Exchange with Microsoft ActiveSync 2003, 2007
  • Microsoft Sharepoint 2003, 2007, 2010
  • Oracle Applications 11i
  • Oracle Portal 10g
  • Lotus Domino 6.5
  • SAP NetWeaver 7
  • PeopleSoft Portal Solutions 9

By using an application-ready template, your organization can quickly create a security policy designed to secure that specific web application. It is a fixed policy that only changes if you decide to adjust it manually or configure additional security features.

Task summary

Creating a security policy from an application template

Before you can create a security policy, you must perform the minimal system configuration tasks including defining a VLAN, a self IP address, and other tasks required according to the needs of your networking environment.
If you want to create a security policy for one of the commonly used enterprise applications, you can use application-ready templates to create the policy quickly. The Deployment wizard takes you through the steps required.
  1. On the Main tab, click Security > Application Security > Security Policies. The Active Policies screen opens.
  2. Click the Create button. The Deployment wizard opens to the Select Local Traffic Deployment Scenario screen.
  3. For the Local Traffic Deployment Scenario setting, specify a virtual server to use for the security policy.
    • To secure an existing virtual server that has no security policy associated with it, select Existing Virtual Server and click Next.
    • To create a new virtual server and pool with basic configuration settings, select New Virtual Server and click Next.
    • To create an active but unused security policy, select Do not associate with Virtual Server and click Next. No traffic will go through this security policy until you associate it with a virtual server. The Policy Builder cannot begin automatically creating a policy until traffic is going to ASM through the virtual server.
    The virtual server represents the web application you want to protect. The Configure Local Traffic Settings screen opens if you are adding a virtual server. Otherwise, the Select Deployment Scenario screen opens.
  4. If adding a virtual server, configure the new or existing virtual server, and click Next.
    • If creating a new virtual server, specify the protocol, name, virtual server destination address and port, and pool member IP address and port.
    • If using an existing virtual server, it must have an HTTP profile and cannot be associated with a local traffic policy.
    • If you selected Do not associate with Virtual Server, you will have to manually associate the security policy with a virtual server at a later time. On the policy properties screen, you need to specify a name for the security policy.
    The name of the virtual server becomes the name of the security policy. The Select Deployment Scenario screen opens.
  5. For Deployment Scenario, select Create a policy manually or use templates and click Next. The Configure Security Policy Properties screen opens.
  6. From the Application Language list, select the language encoding of the application.
    Important: You cannot change this setting after you have created the security policy.
  7. From the Application-Ready Security Policy list, select the security policy template to use for your enterprise application.
  8. For the Staging-Tightening Period setting, retain the default setting of 7 days. Staging and tightening allows you to test the security policy entities for false positives without enforcing them. The security policy provides learning suggestions when requests are processed that do not meet the security policy entity's settings, but the security policy does not alert or block that traffic, even if those requests trigger violations.
  9. Click Next. The Security Policy Configuration Summary screen opens.
  10. Review the settings for the security policy. When you are satisfied with the security policy configuration, click Finish. The system creates the security policy and opens the Properties screen.
When you first create the security policy, it operates in transparent mode (meaning that it does not block traffic). When the system receives a request that violates the security policy, the system logs the violation event, but does not block the request.

Fine-tuning a security policy

After you create a security policy, the system provides learning suggestions concerning additions to the security policy based on the traffic that is accessing the application. For example, you can have users or testers browse the web application. By analyzing the traffic to and from the application, Application Security Manager generates learning suggestions or ways to fine-tune the security policy to better suit the traffic and secure the application.

Note: If you are using the Policy Builder to add elements to the security policy, you can skip this task. This option is primarily for building a security policy manually.
  1. On the Main tab, click Security > Application Security > Policy Building > Manual Traffic Learning. The Manual Traffic Learning screen opens, and lists violations that the system has detected.
  2. In the Traffic Learning area, click each violation hyperlink, then review and handle learning suggestions:
    Option Description
    Accept Select a learning suggestion, click Accept, and then click Apply Policy. The system updates the security policy to allow the file type, URL, parameter, or other element.
    Clear Select a learning suggestion, and click Clear. The system removes the learning suggestion and continues to generate suggestions for that violation.
    Cancel Click Cancel to return to the Manual Traffic Learning screen.
    By default, a security policy is put into a staging-tightening period for seven days. During this time, you can examine learning suggestions and adjust the security policy without blocking traffic.
  3. To find out more about a violation and its occurrences, when you click a violation hyperlink and see what caused the violation, click the number in the Occurrences column. The Requests List popup screen opens, and you can see the requests that caused the violation including a violation rating of the request. (Ratings are from 1 to 5, where is the most severe.)
  4. To decide whether the request is an attack or a false positive, look at the violation rating.
    1. Click Violation Rating on the Request List screen.
    2. Look at the bar chart that displays the violation rating and number of occurrences.
    3. If the violation rating is 1 or 2, it is most likely a false positive and you can close the Requests List, select the violation, and click Accept. This accepts the learning suggestion to the security policy. What this means depends on the violation. It could be to allow a parameter or URL that looks suspicious but is allowed on your web site, it might mean to unselect certain security failures, or it might mean to disable an attack signature.
    4. If the violation rating is 4 or 5, it is most likely an attack and you can close the Requests List, select the violation, and click Clear. You probably do not want to change the policy to accept a suggestion that would allow an attack, so you would clear the suggestion without changing the policy.
    5. If the violation rating is 3, the request needs further investigation. You can go back to the Requests List and click the request to examine it more closely.
  5. On the Manual Traffic Learning screen, review the violations and consider whether you want to permit any of them (for example, if a violation is causing false positives). Select any violations you do not want the system to trigger, and click Disable Violation. A popup screen opens, and you can verify that you want to disable the violations or cancel the action.
  6. To put the security policy changes into effect immediately, click Apply Policy.
  7. On the Main tab, click Security > Overview > Application > Action Items. The Action Items screen opens.
  8. Examine the Action Items screen for information about recommended actions that you need to complete.
    1. Review the Suggested Action Items area, which lists system tasks and security policy tasks that should be completed.
    2. Click the links in the Suggested Action Items area to go to the screen where you can perform the recommended action.
    3. In the Quick Links area, click any of the links to gain access to common configuration and reporting screens.
The security policy now includes elements unique to your web application.
It is a good idea to periodically review the learning suggestions on the Manual Traffic Learning screen to determine whether the violations are legitimate, or if they are false positives that indicate a need to update the security policy.

Enforcing a security policy

You only need to enforce a security policy if it was created manually (not using the automatic policy builder), and it is operating in transparent mode. Traffic should be moving through Application Security Manager, allowing users to access the web application for which you set up the security policy.
When you enforce a security policy, the system blocks requests that cause violations that are set to block.
  1. On the Main tab, click Security > Application Security > Blocking. The Settings screen opens.
  2. In the Current edited policy list near the top of the screen, verify that the edited security policy is the one you want to work on.
  3. For the Enforcement Mode setting, select Blocking.
  4. For each violation, review the settings so you understand how the security policy handles requests that cause the violation, and adjust if necessary.
    Option Description
    Learn If selected, the system generates learning suggestions for requests that trigger the violation.
    Alarm If selected, the system records requests that trigger the violation in the Charts screen, the system log (/var/log/asm), and possibly in local or remote logs (depending on the settings of the logging profile).
    Block If selected (and the enforcement mode is set to Blocking), the system blocks requests that trigger the violation.
    Tip: Click the information icon preceding a violation for a description of it.
  5. Click Save to save your settings.
  6. On the Main tab, click Security > Application Security > Security Policies. The Active Policies screen opens.
  7. Click the name of the security policy you want to work on. The Properties screen opens.
  8. To change the number of days the security policy remains in staging, change the value in the Enforcement Readiness Period field. The security policy does not block traffic during the Enforcement Readiness Period even if violations occur.
  9. If you want to block traffic that causes violations, you need to enforce violations. One way to do this is:
    1. Set the Enforcement Readiness Period to 0.
    2. Click Save.
    3. On the Main tab, click Security > Application Security > Policy Building > Enforcement Readiness.
    4. Click Enforce Ready.
  10. To put the security policy changes into effect immediately, click Apply Policy.
  11. For a quick summary of system activity, look at the Overview screen (Security > Overview > Application). The Summary screen displays statistical information about Application Security traffic.
After the enforcement readiness period is over and the enforcement mode is set to blocking, the security policy no longer allows requests that cause violations set to block to reach the back-end resources. Instead, the security policy blocks the request, and sends the blocking response page to the client.
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