Manual Chapter : Using APM as a Gateway for RDP Clients

Applies To:

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BIG-IP APM

  • 14.0.1, 14.0.0
Manual Chapter

Using APM as a Gateway for RDP Clients

Overview: Configuring APM as a gateway for Microsoft RDP clients

Access Policy Manager (APM®) can act as a gateway for Microsoft RDP clients, authorizing them on initial access and authorizing access to resources that they request after that. The APM configuration includes these elements.
APM as gateway
From a configuration point of view, this is a virtual server that accepts SSL traffic from Microsoft RDP clients and is associated with an access policy that authorizes the client.
Client authorization access policy
This access policy runs when the RDP client initiates a session with the gateway (APM). Only NTLM authentication is supported. This access policy should verify that NTLM authentication is successful and must assign an additional access policy to use for resource authorization throughout the session.
Resource authorization access policy
This access policy runs when the authorized RDP client requests access to a resource. The access policy must contain logic to determine whether to allow or deny access to the target server and port.
Sample client authorization policy
Client authorization policy with NTLM auth and RDG Policy Assign
Notice the RDG Policy Assign item; it is used to specify the resource authorization policy.
Sample resource authorization policy
Resource authorization policy with LDAP query

Task summary

If you already have configured them, you can use existing configuration objects: a machine account, an NTLM authentication configuration, a VDI profile, a connectivity profile, and a client SSL profile.

Task list

About supported Microsoft RDP clients

Supported Microsoft RDP clients can use APM® as a gateway. The configuration supports Microsoft RDP clients on Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android.
Refer to
BIG-IP®APM® Client Compatibility Matrix
on the AskF5 web site at
http://support.f5.com/kb/en-us.html
for the supported platforms and operating system versions for Microsoft RDP clients.

About Microsoft RDP client login to APM

On a Microsoft RDP client, a user types in settings for a gateway and a connection. The names for the settings vary depending on the Microsoft RDP client.
RDP client gateway settings
  1. Hostname setting: The hostname or IP address of the virtual server must be specified.
  2. Port setting: If requested,
    443
    must be specified.
  3. Credentials: Selection of specific logon method and entry of a user name and password should be avoided. In this implementation, APM supports only NTLM authentication.
RDP client connection settings
Gateway setting: On some clients, you must configure a name and address for the gateway and at login type the gateway name. If requested, the gateway name must be specified as configured on the client.
  1. Hostname setting: Hostname of the target server.
  2. Port setting: Port on the target server.

Configuring an access profile for resource authorization

Configure an RDG-RAP type of access profile for Access Policy Manager (APM) before you create an access policy to authorize resource requests from Microsoft RDP clients.
After APM authorizes a Microsoft RDP client, subsequent resource requests are sent to APM.
  1. On the Main tab, click
    Access
    Profiles / Policies
    .
    The Access Profiles (Per-Session Policies) screen opens.
  2. Click
    Create
    .
    The New Profile screen opens.
  3. In the
    Name
    field, type a name for the access profile.
    A access profile name must be unique among all access profile and any per-request policy names.
  4. From the
    Profile Type
    list, select
    RDG-RAP
    .
  5. Click
    Finished
    .
    The new access profile displays on the list.
The access profile displays in the Access Profiles List. Default-log-setting is assigned to the access profile.
You must configure an access policy that determines whether to deny or allow access to a resource.

Verifying log settings for the access profile

Confirm that the correct log settings are selected for the access profile to ensure that events are logged as you intend.
Log settings are configured in the
Access
Overview
Event Log
Settings
area of the product. They enable and disable logging for access system and URL request filtering events. Log settings also specify log publishers that send log messages to specified destinations.
  1. On the Main tab, click
    Access
    Profiles / Policies
    .
    The Access Profiles (Per-Session Policies) screen opens.
  2. Click the name of the access profile that you want to edit.
    The properties screen opens.
  3. On the menu bar, click
    Logs
    .
    The access profile log settings display.
  4. Move log settings between the
    Available
    and
    Selected
    lists.
    You can assign up to three log settings that enable access system logging to an access profile. You can assign additional log settings to an access profile provided that they enable logging for URl request logging only.
    Logging is disabled when the
    Selected
    list is empty.
  5. Click
    Update
    .
An access profile is in effect when it is assigned to a virtual server.

Configuring an access policy for resource authorization

Configure this access policy to perform resource authorization every time an RDP client requests access to a new resource.
The requested resource is specified in these session variables:
session.rdg.target.host
and
session.rdg.target.port
.
  1. On the Main tab, click
    Access
    Profiles / Policies
    .
    The Access Profiles (Per-Session Policies) screen opens.
  2. In the Access Policy column, click the
    Edit
    link for the RDG-RAP type access profile you want to configure.
    The visual policy editor opens the access policy in a separate screen.
  3. Click the
    (+)
    icon anywhere in the access policy to add a new item.
    Only an applicable subset of access policy items is available for selection in the visual policy editor for any access profile type.
    A popup screen opens, listing predefined actions on tabs such as General Purpose, Authentication, and so on.
  4. To restrict the target port to the RDP service only, perform these substeps:
    F5 strongly recommends this action.
    1. In the search field, type
      emp
      , select
      Empty
      from the result list, and then click
      Add Item
      .
      A popup Properties screen opens.
    2. Click the Branch Rules tab.
    3. Click
      Add Branch Rule
      .
      A new entry with
      Name
      and
      Expression
      settings displays.
    4. In the
      Name
      field, replace the default name by typing a new name.
      The name appears on the branch in the policy.
    5. Click the
      change
      link in the new entry.
      A popup screen opens.
    6. Click the Advanced tab.
    7. In the field, type this expression:
      expr
      { [
      mcget
      {
      session.rdg.target.port
      }] == 3389 }
    8. Click
      Finished
      .
      The popup screen closes.
    9. Click
      Save
      .
      The properties screen closes and the policy displays.
  5. To verify group membership for the requested host, add an
    LDAP Query
    to the access policy and configure properties for it:
    Adding an LDAP Query is one option. The visual policy editor provides additional items that you can use to determine whether to allow the client to access the resource.
    1. From the
      Server
      list, select an AAA LDAP server.
      An LDAP Query uses SSL connections when you select an LDAP AAA server that is configured for LDAPS.
    2. Type queries in the
      SearchFilter
      field.
      This query matches hosts with the fully qualified domain name (FQDN) of the host.
      (DNSHostName=%{session.rdg.target.host})
      When clients request a connection, they must specify the FQDN.
      This query matches hosts with the host name or with the FQDN of the host.
      (|(name=%{session.rdg.target.host})(DNSHostName=%{session.rdg.target.host}))
      When clients request a connection, they can specify a host name or an FQDN.
    3. Click
      Save
      .
      The properties screen closes and the policy displays.
  6. To verify that the target host is a member of an Active Directory group, add a branch rule to the LDAP query item:
    1. In the visual policy editor, click the
      LDAP Query
      item that you want to update.
      A popup Properties screen displays.
    2. Click the Branch Rules tab, click
      Add Branch Rule
      , and type a descriptive name for the branch in the
      Name
      field.
    3. Click the
      change
      link in the new entry.
      A popup screen displays.
    4. Click the Advanced tab.
    5. Type an expression in the field.
      This expression matches the last LDAP memberOf attribute with an Active Directory group,
      RDTestGroup
      .
      expr
      { [
      mcget
      {
      session.ldap.last.attr.memberOf
      }] contains "CN=
      RDTestGroup
      " }
      The hypothetical members of the group in this example are the hosts to which access is allowed.
    6. Click
      Finished
      .
      The popup screen closes.
    7. Click
      Save
      .
      The properties screen closes and the policy displays.
  7. Click
    Save
    .
    The properties screen closes and the policy displays.
  8. Add any other items to the access policy and change any appropriate branch ending to
    Allow
    .
  9. Click
    Apply Access Policy
    to save your configuration.
Do not specify this access policy in a virtual server definition. Select it from an RDG Policy Assign item in an access policy that authorizes Microsoft RDP clients.

Creating an access profile for RDP client authorization

You create an access profile to provide the access policy configuration for a virtual server that establishes a secured session.
  1. On the Main tab, click
    Access
    Profiles / Policies
    .
    The Access Profiles (Per-Session Policies) screen opens.
  2. Click
    Create
    .
    The New Profile screen opens.
  3. In the
    Name
    field, type a name for the access profile.
    A access profile name must be unique among all access profile and any per-request policy names.
  4. From the
    Profile Type
    list, select one of these options.
    • LTM-APM
      : Select for a web access management configuration.
    • SSL-VPN
      : Select to configure network access, portal access, or application access. (Most access policy items are available for this type.)
    • ALL
      : Select to support LTM-APM and SSL-VPN access types.
    Additional settings display.
  5. Select the
    Custom
    check box.
  6. In the
    Access Policy Timeout
    field, type the number of seconds that should pass before the access profile times out because of inactivity.
    The timeout needs to be at least 15 minutes long because an RDP client sends a keepalive to the gateway every 15 minutes.
    To prevent a timeout, type
    0
    to set no timeout or type
    900
    or greater. 900 indicates a 15-minute timeout, which is enough time for the keepalive to prevent the timeout.
  7. Click
    Finished
    .

Verifying log settings for the access profile

Confirm that the correct log settings are selected for the access profile to ensure that events are logged as you intend.
Log settings are configured in the
Access
Overview
Event Log
Settings
area of the product. They enable and disable logging for access system and URL request filtering events. Log settings also specify log publishers that send log messages to specified destinations.
  1. On the Main tab, click
    Access
    Profiles / Policies
    .
    The Access Profiles (Per-Session Policies) screen opens.
  2. Click the name of the access profile that you want to edit.
    The properties screen opens.
  3. On the menu bar, click
    Logs
    .
    The access profile log settings display.
  4. Move log settings between the
    Available
    and
    Selected
    lists.
    You can assign up to three log settings that enable access system logging to an access profile. You can assign additional log settings to an access profile provided that they enable logging for URl request logging only.
    Logging is disabled when the
    Selected
    list is empty.
  5. Click
    Update
    .
An access profile is in effect when it is assigned to a virtual server.

Configuring an access policy for an RDP client

Configure an access policy to authorize Microsoft RDP clients and to specify the access policy that APM should use to authorize access to resources as the client requests them.
NTLM authentication occurs before an access policy runs. If NTLM authentication fails, an error displays and the access policy does not run.
  1. On the Main tab, click
    Access
    Profiles / Policies
    .
    The Access Profiles (Per-Session Policies) screen opens.
  2. In the Per-Session Policy column, click the
    Edit
    link for the access profile you want to configure.
    The visual policy editor opens the access policy in a separate screen.
  3. Click the
    (+)
    icon anywhere in the access policy to add a new item.
    Only an applicable subset of access policy items is available for selection in the visual policy editor for any access profile type.
    A popup screen opens, listing predefined actions on tabs such as General Purpose, Authentication, and so on.
  4. On the Endpoint Security (Server-Side) tab, select
    Client Type
    , and then click
    Add Item
    .
    The Client Type action identifies clients and enables branching based on the client type.
    A properties screen opens.
  5. Click
    Save
    .
    The properties screen closes; the
    Client Type
    item displays in the visual policy editor with a
    Microsoft Client RDP
    branch and branches for other client types.
  6. On a policy branch, click the
    (+)
    icon to add an item to the policy.
  7. To verify the result of client authentication:
    1. Type
      NTLM
      in the search field.
    2. Select
      NTLM Auth Result
      .
    3. Click
      Add Item
      .
    A properties screen opens.
  8. Click
    Save
    .
    The properties screen closes and the policy displays.
  9. Select the RDG-RAP access policy you configured earlier:
    1. Click the
      [+]
      sign on the successful branch after the authentication action.
    2. Type
      RDG
      in the search field.
    3. Select
      RDG Policy Assign
      and click
      Add Item
      .
    4. To display available policies, click the
      Add/Delete
      link.
    5. Select a policy and click
      Save
      .
    Without an RDG policy, APM denies access to each resource request.
  10. Click the
    Apply Access Policy
    link to apply and activate the changes to the policy.
To apply this access policy to network traffic, add the access profile to a virtual server.
To ensure that logging is configured to meet your requirements, verify the log settings for the access profile.

Configuring a machine account

You configure a machine account so that Access Policy Manager (APM) can establish a secure channel to a domain controller.
  1. On the Main tab, click
    Access
    Authentication
    NTLM
    Machine Account
    .
    A new Machine Account screen opens.
  2. In the Configuration area, in the
    Machine Account Name
    field, type a name.
  3. In the
    Domain FQDN
    field, type the fully qualified domain name (FQDN) for the domain that you want the machine account to join.
  4. In the
    Domain Controller FQDN
    field, type the FQDN for a domain controller.
  5. In the
    Admin User
    field, type the name of a user who has administrator privilege.
  6. In the
    Admin Password
    field, type the password for the admin user.
    APM uses these credentials to create the machine account on the domain controller. However, APM does not store the credentials and you do not need them to update an existing machine account configuration later.
  7. Click
    Join
    .
This creates a machine account and joins it to the specified domain. This also creates a non-editable
NetBIOS Domain Name
field that is automatically populated.
If the
NetBIOS Domain Name
field on the machine account is empty, delete the configuration and recreate it. The field populates.

Creating an NTLM Auth configuration

Create an NTLM Auth configuration to specify the domain controllers that a machine account can use to log in.
  1. On the Main tab, click
    Access
    Authentication
    NTLM
    NTLM Auth Configuration
    .
    A new NTLM Auth Configuration screen opens.
  2. In the
    Name
    field, type a name.
  3. From the
    Machine Account Name
    list, select the machine account configuration to which this NTLM Auth configuration applies.
    You can assign the same machine account to multiple NTLM authentication configurations.
  4. For each domain controller, type a fully qualified domain name (FQDN) and click
    Add
    .
    You should add only domain controllers that belong to one domain.
    By specifying more than one domain controller, you enable high availability. If the first domain controller on the list is not available, Access Policy Manager tries the next domain controller on the list, successively.
  5. Click
    Finished
    .
This specifies the domain controllers that a machine account can use to log in.

Maintaining a machine account

In some networks, administrators run scripts to find and delete outdated machine accounts on the domain controllers. To keep the machine account up-to-date, you can renew the password periodically.
  1. On the Main tab, click
    Access
    Authentication
    NTLM
    Machine Account
    .
    The Machine Account screen opens.
  2. Click the name of a machine account.
    The properties screen opens and displays the date and time of the last update to the machine account password.
  3. Click the
    Renew Machine Password
    button.
    The screen refreshes and displays the updated date and time.
This changes the machine account last modified time.

Configuring a VDI profile

Configure a VDI profile to specify NTLM authentication for Microsoft RDP clients that use APM as a gateway.
  1. On the Main tab, click
    Access
    Connectivity / VPN
    VDI / RDP
    VDI Profiles
    .
    The VDI Profiles list opens.
  2. Click
    Create
    .
    A popup screen opens with
    General Information
    selected in the left pane and settings displayed in the right pane.
  3. In the
    Profile Name
    field, type a name.
  4. From the
    Parent Profile
    field, select an existing VDI profile.
    A VDI profile inherits properties from the parent profile. You can override them in this profile.
  5. In the left pane, click
    MSRDP Settings
    .
    Settings in the right pane change.
  6. From the
    MSRDP NTLM Configuration
    list, select an NTLM authentication configuration.
  7. From the left pane, click
    Citrix Settings
    .
  8. For the
    Enable StoreFront Functionality on APM
    setting, enable or disable the native StoreFront protocol. The default value is
    Disabled
    , which continues to use the PNAgent protocol.
  9. In the left pane, click
    VMware View Settings
    .
    Settings in the right pane change.
  10. From the
    Transport Protocol (UDP-only)
    list, select a protocol.
    Select
    Blast Extreme
    or
    PCoIP
    to proxy the remote desktop protocol supported by VMware Horizon View.
  11. Click
    OK
    .
    The popup screen closes.
The VDI profile displays on the screen.
To apply the VDI profile, you must specify it in a virtual server.

Creating a connectivity profile

You create a connectivity profile to configure client connections.
  1. On the Main tab, click
    Access
    Connectivity / VPN
    Connectivity
    Profiles
    .
    A list of connectivity profiles displays.
  2. Click
    Add
    .
    The Create New Connectivity Profile popup screen opens and displays General Settings.
  3. Type a
    Profile Name
    for the connectivity profile.
  4. Select a
    Parent Profile
    from the list.
    APM provides a default profile,
    connectivity
    .
  5. Click
    OK
    .
    The popup screen closes, and the Connectivity Profile List displays.
The connectivity profile displays in the list.
To provide functionality with a connectivity profile, you must add the connectivity profile and an access profile to a virtual server.

Creating a custom Client SSL profile

You create a custom Client SSL profile when you want the BIG-IP system to terminate client-side SSL traffic for the purpose of:
  • Authenticating and decrypting ingress client-side SSL traffic
  • Re-encrypting egress client-side traffic
By terminating client-side SSL traffic, the BIG-IP system offloads these authentication and decryption/encryption functions from the destination server.
  1. On the Main tab, click
    Local Traffic
    Profiles
    SSL
    Client
    .
    The Client SSL profile list screen opens.
  2. Click
    Create
    .
    The New Client SSL Profile screen opens.
  3. In the
    Name
    field, type a unique name for the profile.
  4. Select
    clientssl
    in the
    Parent Profile
    list.
  5. From the
    Configuration
    list, select
    Advanced
    .
  6. Select the
    Custom
    check box.
    The settings become available for change.
  7. Next to Client Authentication, select the
    Custom
    check box.
    The settings become available.
  8. From the
    Configuration
    list, select
    Advanced
    .
  9. Modify the settings, as required.
  10. Click
    Finished
    .

Creating a virtual server for SSL traffic

Define a virtual server to process SSL traffic from Microsoft RDP clients that use APM as a gateway.
Users must specify the IP address of this virtual server as the gateway or RDG gateway from the RDP client that they use.
  1. On the Main tab, click
    Local Traffic
    Virtual Servers
    .
    The Virtual Server List screen opens.
  2. Click the
    Create
    button.
    The New Virtual Server screen opens.
  3. In the
    Name
    field, type a unique name for the virtual server.
  4. In the
    Destination Address/Mask
    field, type the IP address for a host virtual server.
    This field accepts an address in CIDR format (IP address/prefix). However, when you type the complete IP address for a host, you do not need to type a prefix after the address.
  5. For the
    Service Port
    , do one of the following:
    • Type
      443
      in the field.
    • Select
      HTTPS
      from the list.
  6. In the
    SSL Profile (Client)
    list, select an SSL profile.
  7. In the Access Policy area, from the
    Access Profile
    list, select the access profile for RDP client authorization that you configured earlier.
  8. From the
    Connectivity Profile
    list, select a profile.
  9. From the
    VDI Profile
    list, select the VDI profile you configured earlier.
  10. Click
    Finished
    .

Implementation result

Supported Microsoft RDP clients can specify a virtual server on the BIG-IP® system to use as a remote desktop gateway. Access Policy Manager (APM®) can authorize the clients and authorize access to target servers as the clients request them.

Overview: Processing RDP traffic on a device configured for explicit forward proxy

If you configure Access Policy Manager APM® as a gateway for RDP clients and configure APM to act as an explicit forward proxy on the same BIG-IP® system, you need to complete an additional configuration step to ensure that APM can process the RDP client traffic. The configuration F5 recommends for explicit forward proxy includes a catch-all virtual server, which listens on all IP addresses and all ports, on an HTTP tunnel interface.
When a programmatic API queries listeners for a specific IP and port, the query covers all interfaces and tunnels. As a result, the catch-all virtual server will always match. Sending traffic using this tunnel results in all packets being dropped because this virtual server is configured as a reject type of virtual server.
To prevent RDP client traffic from being dropped, add an additional wildcard port-specific virtual server on the HTTP tunnel interface.
Removing the catch-all virtual server from the HTTP tunnel interface is not recommended because doing so is counterproductive for security.

Creating a virtual server for RDP client traffic

You specify a port-specific wildcard virtual server to match RDP client traffic on the HTTP tunnel interface for the Secure Web Gateway (SWG) explicit forward proxy configuration.
  1. On the Main tab, click
    Local Traffic
    Virtual Servers
    .
    The Virtual Server List screen opens.
  2. Click the
    Create
    button.
    The New Virtual Server screen opens.
  3. In the
    Name
    field, type a unique name for the virtual server.
  4. In the
    Destination Address/Mask
    field, type
    0.0.0.0
    to accept any IPv4 traffic.
  5. In the
    Service Port
    field, type
    3389
    .
  6. From the
    Configuration
    list, select
    Advanced
    .
  7. From the
    VLAN and Tunnel Traffic
    list, select
    Enabled on
    .
  8. For the
    VLANs and Tunnels
    setting, move the HTTP tunnel interface used in the SWG explicit forward proxy configuration to the
    Selected
    list.
    The default tunnel is
    http-tunnel
    .
    This must be the same tunnel specified in the HTTP profile for the virtual server for forward proxy.
  9. For the
    Address Translation
    setting, clear the
    Enabled
    check box.
  10. Click
    Finished
    .
The virtual server now appears in the Virtual Server List screen.

About wildcard virtual servers on the HTTP tunnel interface

In the recommended Secure Web Gateway explicit forward proxy configuration, client browsers point to a forward proxy server that establishes a tunnel for SSL traffic. Additional wildcard virtual servers listen on the HTTP tunnel interface. The listener that best matches the web traffic directed to the forward proxy server handles the traffic.
Explicit forward proxy configuration
clients on LAN