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Manual Chapter: Using Application-Ready Security Templates
Manual Chapter
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Using Application-Ready Security Templates

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
  • 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 you are adding a virtual server, configure the new or existing virtual server, and click Next.
    • If creating a new virtual server, specify the protocol, virtual server name, virtual server destination address and port, pool member IP address and port, and the logging profile.
    • If using an existing virtual server, it must have an HTTP profile and cannot be associated with a local traffic policy. Specify the protocol and virtual server.
    • 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 Select Deployment Scenario screen opens.
  5. For Deployment Scenario, select Create a security policy manually or use templates and click Next.
    The Configure Security Policy Properties screen opens.
  6. In the Security Policy Name field, type a unique name for the policy.
  7. 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.
  8. From the Application-Ready Security Policy list, select the security policy template to use for your enterprise application.
  9. For the Enforcement Readiness Period, retain the default setting of 7 days.
    During this period, you can test the security policy entities for false positives before enforcing them.
    During the enforcement readiness period, the security policy provides learning suggestions when it processes requests that do not meet the security policy; but the security policy does not alert or block that traffic, even if those requests trigger violations. You can review new entities and decide which are legitimate and include them in the security policy.
  10. Click Next.
    The Security Policy Configuration Summary screen opens.
  11. 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 Policy 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 and makes suggestions for additions to the security policy, but does not block the request. After a period of time (called the enforcement readiness period), the system suggests that you enforce the policy changes. Next, you can review the learning suggestions, decide which are reasonable to make for the web application, and add them to the security policy.

Reviewing learning suggestions

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: This task is primarily for building a security policy manually. If you are using the automatic learning mode, this task applies to resolving suggestions that require manual intervention, or for speeding up the enforcement of policy elements.
  1. On the Main tab, click Security > Application Security > Policy Building > Traffic Learning .
    The Traffic Learning screen opens, and lists suggestions based on traffic patterns and violations that the system has detected.
  2. If you want to change the order in which the suggestions are listed, or refine what is included in the list, use the filters at the top of the column.
    You can also list the suggestions by average violation rating of all matching requests, first occurrence, last occurrence, matched entity name, or use the search filter to display specific types of suggestions that you are interested in.
    By default, the suggestions that have the highest learning score (those closest to being ready to be enforced) are listed first. Suggestions have higher learning scores if that traffic has met the conditions in the policy, if it originates from many sources, if it is unlikely to be a violation, or if the traffic comes from a trusted IP address. They may also be suggestions to add an entity the system learns, for example, a new file type, URL, or parameter.
  3. On the Traffic Learning screen, review each learning suggestion.
    1. Select a learning suggestion.
      Information is displayed about the action the system will take if you accept the suggestion, and what caused the suggestion.
    2. You can learn more about the suggestion by looking at the action, the number of samples it is based on, the violations caused and their violation ratings, and if needed, by examining samples of the requests that caused the suggestion.
    3. With a request selected on the left, you can view data about the request on the right, including any violations it generated, the contents of the request itself, and the response (if any). Note that some requests may contain violations related to different suggestions.
      By examining the requests that caused a suggestion, you can determine whether it should be accepted.
    4. To add comments about the suggestion and the cause, click the Add Comment icon and type the comments.
  4. Decide how to respond to the suggestion. You can start with the suggestions with the highest learning scores, or those which you know to be valid for the application. These are the options.
    Option What happens
    Accept Suggestion The system modifies the policy by taking the suggested action, such as adding an entity that is legitimate. If the entity that triggered the suggestion can be placed in staging (file types, URLs, parameters, cookies, or redirection domains), clicking Accept Suggestion displays a second option, Accept suggestion and enable staging on Matched <<entity>>. Click this option to accept the suggestion and place the matched entity in staging.
    Delete Suggestion The system removes the learning suggestion, but the suggestion reoccurs if new requests cause it. The learning score of the suggestion starts over from zero in that case.
    Ignore Suggestion The system does not change the policy and stops showing this suggestion on the Traffic Learning screen now and in the future. You can view ignored suggestions by filtering by status ignored.
    Leave the suggestion You can read the suggestions and wait to handle them until more traffic has passed through, or until you get more information. The suggestion remains in the list and no changes are made to the policy.
    Note: If you are working in automatic learning mode, when the learning score reaches 100%, the system accepts most of the suggestions, or you can accept suggestions manually at any time. If you are using manual learning, when the learning score reaches 100% (or before that if you know the suggestions are valid), you need to accept the suggestions manually.

    If you know that a suggestion is valid, you can accept it at any time even before the learning score reaches 100%. The ones that reach 100% have met all the conditions so that they are probably legitimate entities.

  5. To put the security policy changes into effect immediately, click Apply Policy.
By default, a security policy is put into an enforcement readiness period for seven days. During that time, you can examine learning suggestions and adjust the security policy without blocking traffic. The security policy then includes elements unique to your web application.
It is a good idea to periodically review the learning suggestions on the Traffic Learning screen to determine whether the violations are legitimate and caused by an attack, or if they are false positives that indicate a need to update the security policy. Typically, a wide recurrence of violations at some place in the policy (with a low violation rating and a high learning score) indicates that they might be false positives, and hence the policy should be changed so that they will not be triggered anymore. If the violations seem to indicate true attacks (for example, they have a high violation rating), the policy should stay as is, and you can review the violations that it triggered.

Enforcing a security policy

You only need to enforce a security policy if it was created manually (not using automatic learning), and if 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 > Policy Building > Learning and Blocking Settings .
    The Learning and Blocking 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. Review each of the policy building settings so you understand how the security policy handles requests that cause the associated violations, and adjust if necessary. You need to expand most of the settings to see the violations.
    Tip: To the right of Policy Building Settings, click Blocking Settings to see and adjust all of the violations at once.
    Option What happens when selected
    Learn The system generates learning suggestions for requests that trigger the violation (except learning suggestions are not generated for requests that return HTTP responses with 400 or 404 status codes).
    Alarm When selected, the system marks requests that trigger the violation as illegal. The system also records illegal requests 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 The system blocks requests that trigger the violation when (1) the security policy is in the blocking enforcement mode, (2) a violation occurs, and (3) the entity is enforced. The system sends the blocking response page (containing a Support ID to identify the request) to the client.
  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 Policy Properties screen opens.
  8. To change the number of days that the security policy entities and attack signatures remain 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 immediately block traffic that causes violations, you need to enforce entities that are ready to be enforced. This is one way to do this quickly:
    1. Set the Enforcement Readiness Period to 0. (Not generally recommended. Use only if you want to speed up the process.)
    2. Click Save.
    3. On the Main tab, click Security > Application Security > Policy Building > Enforcement Readiness .
    4. Click Enforce Ready.
    In most cases, it is better to use a longer Enforcement Readiness Period, such as the default of 7 days. The entities become ready to be enforced after that.
  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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