Manual Chapter : Working with Passive Monitoring

Applies To:

Show Versions Show Versions

BIG-IP ASM

  • 14.1.2, 14.1.0
Manual Chapter

Working with Passive Monitoring

Overview: Configuring the BIG-IP System Passive Monitoring

You can configure a physical interface on a BIG-IP ®system to operate in
passive mode
. In this mode, the interface accepts mirrored traffic from another device for analysis of Layer 7 traffic.

Passive mode behavior

Using a configured ASM passive monitoring policy and/or ASM DoS profile, the system analyzes the mirrored traffic, displays the resulting reports and sends the resulting analytics data and log messages to a remote analytics and logging server. The mirrored traffic never leaves the system, and the BIG-IP system never acts on the headers and payload. The logs report the actions the system would have taken if it were not in passive mode.

Benefits of DoS Layer 7 passive monitoring

It allows Layer 7 monitoring of attacks and discovers system vulnerabilities while being quick and easy to deploy. The existing network topology does not need to be changed and VLANS and IP addresses are not configured.

Sample configuration

There are two passive monitoring options, and their sample configurations are different.
  • ASM Layer 7 policy: DoSL7 and ASM need to be mirrored after the SSL terminator since they need to work with unencrypted data.
  • ASM DoS profile: Network DoS needs to work on traffic mirrored before the SSL terminator. Otherwise, we are not protecting the SSL terminator.
This illustration shows a configuration for ASM policy passive monitoring.
This illustration shows a configuration for DoS profile passive monitoring

Common use case

Passive monitoring of DoS Layer 7 is for evaluation purposes only.

Prerequisite configuration

Before you begin to configure your ASM passive mode policy or your DoS profile, ensure that you have set up your network and configured your BIG-IP system according to the
BIG-IP Passive Monitoring Configuration Guide
. You need an SSL terminator to open mirrored traffic for analysis.
  • DoS Layer 7 and ASM traffic works on unencrypted data so their traffic needs to be mirrored after the SSL terminator.
  • Network DoS works on encrypted data so its traffic needs to be mirrored before the SSL terminator.

Creating a passive monitoring ASM security policy

Only certain features are supported for passive monitoring. Unsupported features must be disabled in the security policy.
  1. On the Main tab, click
    Security
    Application Security
    Security Policies
    Policies List
    .
    The Policies List screen opens.
  2. Click
    Create New Policy
    .
    You only see this button when no policy is selected.
  3. In the
    Policy Name
    field, enter a meaningful name to reflect that this is a passive monitoring policy.
  4. Leave
    Policy Type
    set to Security.
  5. Set the
    Policy Template
    to Passive Monitoring
  6. Set the
    Enforcement Mode
    to Transparent.
  7. Click
    Create Policy
    to create the security policy.
ASM creates the passive monitoring security policy.
Now you must configure the policy's
Learning and Blocking Settings
.

Passive security policy supported features

The following details the ASM security policy features and what is supported in passive mode.
Feature
Parts Supported
Parts Not Supported
Enforcement Mode
Transparent
Blocking
Violations Settings
Learn, Alarm
Block
Policy Building
Manual, Automatic
Based on IP addresses only (including trusted IPs)
Centralized Policy Builder (Requires a Separate Forwarding Port)
Learning based on Device ID is not supported.
Attack Signatures
Fully Supported (Request and Response)
-
Content Profiles
Fully Supported
Content-Based Routing
File Types
Fully Supported
-
IP Intelligence
Fully Supported
-
Geolocation Enforcement
Fully Supported
-
Headers
Fully Supported
-
Dynamic Session ID in URL
None
-Not Supported
Vulnerability Assessments
Resolutions are supported according to the features they enable as specified in this table.
(Requires a Separate Forwarding Port)
-
Antivirus protection (ICAP)
None
Not Supported
Database Security
None
Not Supported
Bypassing of Search Engines
None
Not Supported
Login Enforcement
None
Not Supported
Session Tracking
None
Not Supported
CSRF Protection
None
Not Supported
Web Scraping
None
Not Supported
Single Page Application
None
Not Supported
Content-Based Routing (CBR)
None
Not Supported
Brute Force
  • Alarm
  • Automatic detection of Login Page
  • Statistics are collected
Any action except for "Alarm"
  • Device ID
  • Alarm and Blocking Page
  • Alarm and CAPTCHA
  • Alarm and Client Side Integrity
  • Alarm and Client Side Integrity Followed by CAPTCHA
  • Alarm and Drop
  • Alarm and Honeypot Page
CORS
(Cross-Origin Request Sharing)
None
Not Supported
WebSocket Enforcement
All Except ---->
  • CORS (see above)
  • WebSocket Extensions
URL Enforcement
All Except ---->
  • CORS (see above)
  • URL Flows
Parameters
All Except ---->
  • Dynamic Extractions
  • Parameter Level
    Flow
Data Guard
  • Detection and triggering violations
  • Mask Data: only affecting response logging (local and remote)
Mask Data: Masking the responses on the network will not be done.
Cookies
Allowed Cookies
Enforced Cookies
iRules
None
Not Supported
Logging and Reporting
  • Local Event Log
  • Remote Event Log (requires a separate forwarding port)
  • Response Logging
  • Event Correlation
  • ASM Charts
  • Chart Schedule
  • Brute Force Attacks Statistics
  • Web Scraping Reports
  • Session Tracking Reports

Passive monitoring DoS profile

Creating a passive monitoring DoS profile

The key configurations for a passive monitoring DoS profile are:
  • TSP-Based Detection
    must be set to Transparent mode.
  • Stress-Based Detection
    must be set to Transparent mode.
  • Geolocation
    blacklist must be empty.
  1. On the Main tab, click
    Security
    DoS Protection
    Protection Profiles
    .
    The Protection Profiles list screen opens.
  2. Click
    Create
    .
    The Create New DoS Profile screen opens.
  3. In the
    Name
    field, type the name for the profile, then click
    Finished
    .
  4. In the list of DoS profiles, click the name of the profile you just created, and click the
    Application Security
    tab.
  5. In the
    General Settings
    tab, for
    Application Security
    , click
    Edit
    and select the
    Enabled
    check box.
    General settings are displayed. The following features are supported. All other features are not supported in passive mode.
    Feature
    Parts Supported
    Parts Not Supported
    Heavy URL Protection
    Fully Supported
    -
    Geolocations
    Whitelist
    -Blacklist
    Trigger iRule
    IN_DOSL7_ATTACK event
    Blocking or modifying traffic from iRules
  6. In the
    TPS-based Detection
    tab, select
    Transparent
    for the
    Operation Mode
    .
    The Operation Mode settings are displayed. The following features are supported. All other features are not supported in passive mode.
    Feature
    Parts Supported
    Parts Not Supported
    Thresholds Mode
    Fully Supported:
    • Manual
    • Automatic
    -
    How to detect attackers and which mitigation to use
    • Client Side Integrity Defense
    • CAPTCHA Challenge
    • Request Blocking
    -
    Prevention Duration
    No prevention
    Resolutions are supported according to the features they enable as specified in this table.
  7. In the
    Behavioral & Stress-based Detection
    tab, select
    Transparent
    for the
    Operation Mode
    .
    The Operation Mode settings are displayed. The following features are supported. All other features are not supported in passive mode.
    Feature
    Parts Supported
    Parts Not Supported
    Thresholds Mode
    Fully Supported:
    • Manual
    • Automatic
    -
    Stress-based Detection and Mitigation
    • Client Side Integrity Defense
    • CAPTCHA Challenge
    • Request Blocking
    Detection of Server Stress is done as "best effort".
    In case the switch that is doing the mirroring becomes congested, a Layer 7 DoS attack may be detected, although the problem is actually at the Layer 3 switch.
    Behavioral Detection and Mitigation: Bad actors behavior detection
    Detection
    Mitigation
    Behavioral Detection and Mitigation: Request signatures detection
    Detection
    Mitigation
    Behavioral Detection and Mitigation: Mitigation
    No Mitigation
    • Conservative Protection
    • Standard Protection
    • Aggressive Protection

Passive monitoring volumentric DoS Layer 7

The following details the ASM volumetric DoS Layer 7 features and what is supported in passive mode.
Features
Parts Supported
Parts Not Supported
TPS-Based Detection
(Enforcement mode)
  • Transparent Mode
  • Blocking Mode* (See NOTE below)
-
Stress-based Detection
(Enforcement mode)
  • Transparent Mode
  • Blocking Mode* (See NOTE below).
Detection of Server Stress is done as "best effort".
In case the switch that is doing the mirroring becomes congested, a Layer 7 DoS attack may be detected, although the problem is actually at the Layer 3 switch.
Mitigation
  • Transparent
  • Client Side Integrity Defense* (See NOTE below)
  • CAPTCHA Challenge* (See NOTE below)
  • Request Blocking* (See NOTE below)
-
Thresholds Mode
Fully Supported:
  • Manual
  • Automatic
-
Heavy URL Protection
Fully Supported
-
Record Traffic
Supported on single host VS
Not supported on catch-all Virtual Servers (those with any/any destination)
Geolocations
Fully Supported:
  • Blacklist* (See NOTE below)
  • Whitelist
-
Single Page Application
None
Not Supported
Trigger iRule
IN_DOSL7_ATTACK event
Blocking or modifying traffic from iRules
Logging and Reporting
Fully Supported:
  • DoS Visibility
  • Local Event Log
  • Remote Event Log (Requires a Separate Forwarding Port)
Note: Server Health and average server latency is on "best effort":
In case the switch that is doing the mirroring becomes congested, these values may be wrong.
The server health may be shown as low, although the problem is actually at the L3 layer switch.
All the "block" or "mitigation" parts mentioned above are for reporting purposes only. The traffic is always sent to the server without mitigation. When selecting blocking mode and a specific mitigation, all the reports will show as if the mitigation was applied, or the traffic was blocked. This is a "what if" report, and is supported. However, using this mode will show error messages in /var/log/ltm such as the following:
Feb 25 18:33:46 bigip29 err tmm2[26547]: 011f0016:3: http_process_state_prepend - Invalid action:0x109010 Server sends too much data. serverside (1.1.1.1:80 -> 1.1.1.2:9785) clientside (1.1.1.2:45710 -> 1.1.1.3:80) (Server side: vip=/Common/vs_39_80 profile=http pool=/Common/pool_80 server_ip=1.1.1.1)

Passive monitoring behavioral analysis DoS Layer 7

The following details the ASM behavrioral analysis DoS Layer 7 features and what is supported in passive mode.
Features
Parts Supported
Parts Not Supported
Mitigation
-
  • Conservative Protection
  • Standard Protection
  • Aggressive Protection
Bad actors behavior detection
Detection
Mitigation
Request signatures detection
Detection
Mitigation
Logging and Reporting
Fully Supported:
  • DoS Visibility
  • Local Event Log
  • Remote Event Log
Note:
  • Server Health and average server latency is on "best effort":
  • In case the switch that is doing the mirroring becomes congested, these values may be wrong.
  • The server health may be shown as low, although the problem is actually at the L3 layer switch.
  • A Layer 7 DoS attack may be detected, although the problem is actually at the Layer 3 switch.

Passive monitoring test considerations

When testing the passive monitoring feature, keep the following observations in mind.
Feature
Notes
Observations when feature is enabled
Login Enforcement
-
Even after a successful login, every request for the Authenticated URL would cause a violation.
Session Tracking
Includes Session Hijacking and Session Awareness.
Request is not logged after the first 10 requests and there is no violation.
Web Scraping
-
Request is not logged after the first 10 requests and there is no violation.
Single Page Application
-
This feature is completely based on injected JavaScript. Since JavaScript is not injected in passive mode, the feature does not work.
CSRF Protection
Verify CSRF Token is not supported.
The enforcement based on origin works the same as for inline BIG-IP systems.
CSRF token enforcement does not work because it is based on JavaScript and cookies injection.
Every Request to URL where token verification is required raises a CSRF violation.
Brute Force
The following are not supported:
  • Blocking Mode
  • Session-based
  • Device ID
  • Client Side Integrity Defense
  • Rate Limiting
Under one of the following conditions, a request is not logged after the first 10 requests and there is no violation:
  1. Blocking mode/violation + username based + Alarm and CAPTCHA.
  2. Blocking mode/violation + username based + Alarm and CS-challenge.
  3. Blocking mode/violation + IP based + Alarm and CAPTCHA.
  4. Blocking mode/violation + IP based + Alarm and CS-challenge.
  5. Device ID based.
  6. Detect Distributed Attack + any of the conditions 1 through 5.
  7. Credential Stuffing + any of the conditions 1 through 5.
  8. As in all other use cases, Blocking mode does not block any request.
CORS
The following are not supported:
  • Remove all CORS headers
  • Replace CORS headers
CORS headers are not modified.
CORS headers are not removed and not replaced.
WebSocket Enforcement
The following are not supported:
  • Remove all CORS headers
  • WebSocket Extensions: Remove Headers is not supported.
Block is supported only for logging.
CORS headers are not removed and not replaced.
Enforced Cookies
-
Every request with one enforced cookie included causes a violation.
URL Flow
-
Every request for the configured URL causes a violation.
Dynamic Extractions
-
Every request related to dynamic extraction causes a violation.
Session Tracking Reports
-
Reports only show the first 10 requests.
Web Scraping Reports
-
Statistics are not reported.
Policy Builder
Learning based on Device ID is NOT supported.
No effect on traffic after enabling Device ID. Policy builder still learns suggestions from IP
Anti-Virus protection (ICAP)
-
Violation is not detected and there is no side effect.
Database Security
-
Not tested
Bypassing of Search Engines
-
No matter what User Agent / XFF value is used, only the first 10 requests are logged. There is no violation
iRules
-
  1. If ASM_REQUEST_DONE event triggers for request, then IO_PLUGIN|ERR appear in bd.log and request is not logged (Bug 655562).
  2. If ASM_REQUEST_BLOCKING event triggers for request, then request logged as illegal only (Bug 655818).
  3. If ASM_RESPONSE_VIOLATION event triggers for request, then request is not logged (Bug 655823).