This document describes the step to configure a Cisco ASA using the ThreatSTOP Centralized Manager with Web Automation enabled.

Overview

This document describes how to integrate ThreatSTOP’s Policy and Reporting services with a Cisco ASA device:

  • Automated retrieval and updates of IP Defense policies from ThreatSTOP’s systems to the ASA.
  • Automated collection and upload of log files from the ASA to ThreatSTOP’s systems.

System view

The integration is performed by a Linux-based virtual machine provided by ThreatSTOP, named ThreatSTOP Centralized Manager (TSCM). After its initial installation, the TSCM will retrieve the list of subnets matching the policy configured via the ThreatSTOP Admin portal and update the ASA using an SSH connection. Optionally, the ASA can be configured to send the connection log events to the TSCM via syslog and the TSCM will package and upload log files to ThreatSTOP’s Portal, for analysis and reporting.

Fig 1. : Network traffic between ThreatSTOP services, the TSCM and the ASA. (click to expand)

Web Automation features

This document provides the steps when using the Web Automation features of ThreatSTOP. For the command line-based installation, please read this document instead. The Web Automation features are:

  • Client configuration settings are managed on the ThreatSTOP portal, instead of using the TSCM command line.
  • Changes to the policy selection are automatically propagated from the portal to the TSCM
  • The TSCM reports problems applying policies or uploading logs to the ThreatSTOP Portal, providing more visibility into potentials system or network problems.

Compatibility

ASA Compatibility

  • The current version of TSCM is compatible with all ASA devices running ASA Software version 7.x, 8.x and 9.x.

  • It is also compatible with Cisco ASA with FirePower services (5500-FTD-X range) but the Firepower NGFW systems (Cisco Firepower model) are not supported. The Firepower models are listed here .

  • The Maximum Policy Size is the maximum number of ACLs that your device can support. It depends on the hardware and memory available on the device. Please contact your Cisco reseller to find out the capacity of your device, or refer to this independent document .

Current version of TSCM

The current version of the TSCM OVA is 1.30. If your TSCM image is older, please download the latest version from the device configuration page in the Admin Portal. You can find out the TSCM version by running

$ tsadmin version

The current version of the ASA module is 3.30 (included with TSCM 1.30)

Installation parameters for experienced users

If you have already created a device entry in the portal, and are familiar with the installation procedure, you can access the TSCM parameters below if you access this document from the Portal Device page.

Setting Value
Device ID Retrieved from the device settings page
Device Key Retrieved from the device settings page

Link Command

$ tsadmin add --type auto --device_id=[Device ID] --auto_key=[Device Key]

Prerequisites

System

The TSCM is delivered as an OVA image, built using Ubuntu 16.04 as the base Operating System. It is preconfigured with

  • 1 CPU
  • 2 GB of RAM
  • 20 GB of disk space

You will need a Hypervisor such as vSphere, ESXi, Virtualbox or Hyper-V to deploy the image.

Connectivity

To retrieve its configuration and policy, and to upload log data, the TSCM needs the following connectivity:

  • DNS over TCP
    • Hostname: dns.threatstop.com
    • IP Range: 192.124.129.0/24
    • Outbound TCP port 53
  • DNS over TLS
    • Hostname: ts-ctp.threatstop.com
    • IP Range: 192.124.129.0/24
    • Outbound TCP port 5353
  • HTTPS
    • Hostname: logs.threatstop.com
    • IP range: 204.68.99.208/28
    • Outbound TCP port 443
  • NTP
    • Hostname: ntp.ubuntu.com
    • Outbound TCP port 143

It must also be able to communicate with the Cisco device:

  • SSH
    • TCP Port 22
    • From the TSCM to the ASA
  • Syslog
    • TCP or UDP Port 514
    • From the ASA to the TSCM

Cisco ASA credentials

To perform this installation, you need an account reachable via SSH on the ASA as well as the Enable password for the device.

Setup

Installing the integration using Web Automation is performed in 4 steps

  1. Configuring the device settings on the Admin Portal
  2. Downloading and loading the OVA
  3. Linking the TSCM to the device settings
  4. Apply ACLs and configure log forwarding on the ASA

Step 1 - Portal

During this step, you will create a device entry on the Admin Portal. You will select a device type (Cisco ASA) and enter the configuration settings. A minimum configuration only requires a handful of settings but optional, advanced options are also available.

To create a Cisco ASA device entry:

  • Log into the Admin Portal with your ThreatSTOP account
  • Browse to the Device page and click Add Device
  • Select the ASA model:
    • Type: IP Defense
    • Manufacturer: Cisco
    • Model: ASA
    • Integration Type: TSCM with Web Automation

The Admin Portal will display a form to enter the device settings described below and the links to retrieve the TSCM image.

  • Nickname: this is a mnemonic name used to identify the device. It can be set to any string (A-Z, 0-9, - and _). If you create multiple device entries, each entry must have a unique nickname. The Nickname will be used to identify the device on the TSCM and in the Reporting user interface.

  • Policy: select a pre-defined policy or a customized policy. It must be an IP Defense Policy.

  • IP Type: Access to the ThreatSTOP services is controlled in part using an ACL allowing the device IP to connect. If your device has a static public IP address (the most common case), select static. If your device has a dynamic public IP address, the ThreatSTOP services can lookup the IP address using a DNS fully-qualified name (FQDN).

  • Public IP address: In static mode, this is the public IP address of the device. It is possible to configure multiple device entries with the same public IP address.

  • Domain name: In Dynamic mode, this is a DNS FQDN which must be kept up-to-date as an A record pointing to the device’s dynamic IP.

  • Internal IP address: This is the internal address of the device. The TSCM will communicate with the ASA via SSH using this IP address. Note: Authentication credentials are documented below.

  • Note: An optional field to store a note of your choice about the device - location, identifiers, model…

  • Object Group Name (Block List): the name of the Object Group that the TSCM will use to store the subnets in the Block List generated by your Policy. The default is threatstop-block.

  • Object Group Name (Allow List): the name of the Object Group that the TSCM will use to store the subnets in the Allow List (whitelist) generated by your Policy. The default is threatstop-allow.

  • Enable Log Upload: If enabled, the TSCM will send logs received from the device to the ThreatSTOP reporting system. This is the recommended setting. When disabled, logs for this device will not be available for reporting in the Portal.

  • Maximum Policy Size: select the highest number of ACLs supported by your ASA; see this document for guidance. If the policy becomes larger than this setting, the TSCM will truncate it down to the Maximum Policy Size.

Upon saving the form, a device entry will be created in ThreatSTOP’s cloud.

Advanced Settings

The TSCM supports the following advanced settings, which cover uncommon ASA configurations or network environments.

  • DNS Port: The TSCM uses TCP Port 53 (outbound connections) to retrieve policy data. If this port is blocked or filtered (for example, networks using a DNS Application Layer Gateway), use this setting to switch to TCP Port 5353.

  • Syslog IP address: Typically, logs will sent over syslog by the device itself. If logs are sent by another IP address (for example, after being processed by a SIEM, or in High-Availability configurations), that IP address should be configured in this field.

  • Log file size: the TSCM will upload logs after 15 minutes and when the log file size is reached. For systems under very heavy network traffic with many blocked connections, lowering this value will cause logs to be uploaded more often.

  • Enable policy updates: this setting can be used to temporarily disabled policy updates by the TSCM. This is not recommended but can be used if device configuration changes needed to be suspended.

  • Custom password prompt: if you have customized the ASA configuration to change the ssh password prompt (Password:), you can configure the value that the TSCM should look for when connecting to the ASA.

  • High-Availability IP addresses: See the High-Availability section below

Step 2: Download and boot image

After creating the device entry, the next step is the download using FTP and installation of the TSCM image.

The download link is listed in the Step 2 section, as shown in this image.

  • Click on the “Copy Download Link” to copy the link to your clipboard
  • Use an ftp client of your choice, or a tool such as curl
  • For your security: after downloading the file, we encourage you to validate its SHA 256 checksum. Compute it as shown below and compare it to the checksum in the Portal.
    $ shasum -a 256 <filename>
    

You can import the OVA file in your Hypervisor to create the virtual machine and start it. If you are using Hyper-V, check out how to converting OVA files to VHD format.

Log into the TSCM

The TSCM virtual machine will use DHCP to obtain its IP address. If your Hypervisor doesn’t show the IP address assigned to the virtual machine, you can retrieve it from the console of the TSCM: it is displayed as part of the login prompt.

The virtual machine will be reachable using ssh:

  • The default username is: threatstop
  • The default password is: threatstop

Step 3: Link the TSCM to the Device entry

After booting the TSCM and logging via ssh, the third setup step will link the virtual machine to the device entry created in Step 1.

The TSCM has a configuration utility named tsadmin. A reference for the utility is provided here but we will cover the full installation steps below.

  • Login with the threatstop account using ssh

  • Obtain the Device ID and Device Key from the device configuration page. You can copy them to your clipboard by clicking the icon. The Device ID is the string tdid_ followed by 8 alpha-numerical characters.

  • Validate that the TSCM can reach the ASA using SSH
    ssh admin@<ASA IP address>
    The authenticity of host '<ip address>' can't be established.
    ECDSA key fingerprint is SHA256:UW05wRgAblpwjfObj4ZklSYfau8PnoE1GXXuSCO5Zfs.
    Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no)?
    
    • Accept the host key
    • Login to validate the password
  • Run the following command:
$ tsadmin add --type auto --device_id=[Device ID] --auto_key=[Device Key]
  • The tsadmin command will first retrieve the device settings from the ThreatSTOP Portal. If the command fails, check the Troubleshooting section.

  • Once the configuration is retrieved, tsadmin will prompt for credentials for the ASA device. They will be used to connect to the device but will not be stored outside of the TSCM image.
    • a username (typically, admin)
    • a password
    • the enable password
  • tsadmin will verify the connectivity to the device. If you are prompted to access an SSH Host key, please proceed.

At this time, the TSCM has succesfully linked itself to the device entry, and validated its ability to reach the ASA device.

Sample session:

$ tsadmin add --type auto --device_id=tdid_abcd1234 --auto_key=BTFDWvEepY2z3LcSjmp3lgW+jUiVjAIF6lYvd2cnCikKO855YiUKfhmEcWvK1Ztouw==
Web Automation - Retrieving configuration from ThreatSTOP Portal
Next, please provide credentials for the asa device (not stored on the portal)
Device username : admin
Device password :
Cisco "enable" password :
[INFO ] : Assuming device default user name and password prompts
[INFO ] : Validating access with DNS server
[INFO ] : Assuming device default user name and password prompts
[INFO ] : Checking connectivity to the Cisco ASA at 172.21.50.3
Successfully added tstest

You can view the list of devices linked on the TSCM image:

$ tsadmin list
| Device name | Type | Device ID     | Management IP | Log upload ID | Log  | Log uploads |
| tstest      | asa  | tdid_abcd1234 | 172.21.50.3   | tdid_abcd1234 | 100k | enabled     |
  • From this point on, the TSCM will retrieve policy data (IP subnets) and configure them on the ASA, every hour.
  • To force the initial update and proceed with testing, run the following command
    $ tsadmin update <device name>
    

This will create (if not already created) and populate the two Object Groups defined in the device settings.

To verify that the Object Group have been created, open an SSH session to the device and execute the following commands:

enable
configure terminal
show running-config object-group id <Object Group name>

Step 4: ASA configuration

Applying ACLs

With the Object Groups populated, the last step is to configure the ASA. Open an SSH session and execute the following commands.

enable 
configure terminal 
(config)# access-list global_access extended permit ip object-group threatstop-allow any
(config)# access-list global_access extended permit ip any object-group threatstop-allow
(config)# access-list global_access extended deny ip object-group threatstop-block any
(config)# access-list global_access extended deny ip any object-group threatstop-block
end 

Enabling Log forwarding

To configure the device to send logs to the TSCM, enter the following:

enable
configure terminal
logging enable
logging timestamp
logging host inside <TSCM IP address>
end

You can test that the policy is correctly applied by pinging bad.threatstop.com (64.87.3.133) through the device, a test IP included in all policies. The ping command should fail.

Logging and Reporting

If log upload is enabled, the TSCM will now upload logs every 15 minutes, as long as there were connections blocked by the policy since the last upload. The logs can be analyzed in the IP Defense Reports 15 minutes after they’ve been uploaded.

Additional considerations

Support for multiple devices

High-Availability clusters

If your Cisco ASA is part of a High-Availability cluster, the TSCM can connect to each device in the cluster to keep the Object Groups up-to-date. The devices must have the same set of credentials.

  • Configure the IP address(es) of the additional nodes in the HA cluster in the ‘HA Device IP address’ field on the Portal
  • Configure the same IP address(es) as Syslog IP to allow the TSCM to receive logs from the additional nodes
  • Repeat the configuration steps on the additional ASA device(s) to apply the Object Groups and forward logs

Other operations

Current configuration

To view the current settings on the TSCM, run

$ tsadmin view <device name>

Configuration changes

  • After the initial configuration is completed, settings can be edited on the Admin Portal and will be reflected on the device within 5 minutes, including Policy configuration changes.

  • If you change the credentials on the ASA device, you will need to run tsadmin configure <device name> and update them on TSCM to allow the virtual machine to continue to connect.

Error reporting

The TSCM update process wil report failures such as:

  • failure to download the policy
  • failure to apply the policy on the ASA
  • failure to connect to the log upload service

Failures are reported on the Device List page of the portal.

Uninstall steps

  • To disable the integration, the first step is the deletion of the device on the TSCM. This will stop any policy updates or changes to the ASA device.
    $ tsadmin remove <devicename>
    
  • The second step is the removal of the Object Groups on the ASA.
enable
configure terminal
(config)#no access-list global_access extended permit ip object-group threatstop-allow any
(config)#no access-list global_access extended permit ip any object-group threatstop-allow
(config)#no access-list global_access extended deny ip object-group threatstop-block any
(config)#no access-list global_access extended deny ip any object-group threatstop-block
end
  • If log forwarding was enabled, turn it off with one of the following commands:
    • If you have log forwarded to several servers
      enable
      configure terminal
      no logging host inside <TSCM IP Address>
      
    • or, to disable logging entirely:
      enable
      configure terminal
      no logging
      
  • The last step is to delete the device entry on the Portal, using the Device List page. This step will caused the log data from the device to be unavailable in the Reporting interface of the Portal. If needed, you can recreate a new device entry for the same device, with the same or different settings. Note that the new entry will have a different Device ID for linking the TSCM.

Additional information

Troubleshooting

  • Failure to link the device: tsadmin add fails with this error: “Failed to connect to Web Automation services”. The common cause is a network connectivity problem using DNS over TLS (Outbound TCP connection to ts-ctp.threatstop.com on port 5353).

  • Failure to link the device: tsadmin add fails with this error: “Failed to retrieve settings using Web Automation. There are three common causes:
    • The Device ID or Device Key is not correct.
    • The system time is not correct. The virtual machine run an NTP client which must be up-to-date. Check its status with the timedatectl command.
    • the new device entry has not been activated yet. Wait 2-3 minutes and retry.
  • Failure to retrieve policy: tsadmin add fails with this error: “block or allow list [name] could not be fetched from ThreatSTOP DNS servers.” There are two common causes:
    • A network connectivity problem using DNS over TCP (Outbound connection to ts-dns.threatstop.com on Port 53).
    • the policy is not available yet. It typically takes less than 15 minutes for new devices and new policies to be activated in the Policy Service but it can occasionally take up to 30 minutes.
  • If the network connectivity is ok, and 30 minutes have elapsed since the device entry was created, please contact ThreatSTOP Support at support@threatstop.com.

  • Some versions of the Cisco ASA software include a DNS Application Layer Gateway (ALG) enabled by default, which interferes with ThreatSTOP’s DNS updates, creating failures to retrieve the policy data. The ALG can be disabled with these commands:
    no ip nat service alg tcp dns 
    no ip nat service alg udp dns
    
  • If tsadmin add fails to connect to the device, check the credentials (username, password and enable password). If they are correct, check if the ssh password prompt has been changed from Cisco’s defaults (Password:).

Version history

  • TSCM
Version Release Date Notes
1.30 2018-02-06 Support for Web Automation (Requires Portal version 5)
  • Cisco ASA Module
Version Release Date Notes
3.30 2018-02-14 Improve SSH connection error handling
3.11 2017-08-11 Support for session-style commits in ASA 9.3.2 and later