Create the Data Center Best Practice Vulnerability Protection Profile

Protect your data center from attacks such as buffer overflows, illegal code execution, and other attempts to exploit vulnerabilities.
Attach a Vulnerability Protection profile to all security policy rules that allow traffic. The Vulnerability Protection profile protects against buffer overflows, illegal code execution, and other attempts to exploit client- and server-side vulnerabilities to breach and move laterally through the data center network.
Clone the predefined strict Vulnerability Protection profile. For each rule except simple-client-informational and simple-server-informational, double-click the Rule Name and change Packet Capture from disable to single-packet to enable packet capture (PCAP) for each rule. Don’t change the rest of the settings. Download content updates automatically and install them as soon as possible so that the signature set is always up-to-date.
Don’t enable PCAP for informational activity because it generates a relatively high volume of that traffic and it’s not particularly useful compared to potential threats. Apply extended PCAP (as opposed to single PCAP) to high-value traffic to which you apply the alert Action. Apply PCAP using the same logic you use to decide what traffic to log—take PCAPs of the traffic you log. Apply single PCAP to traffic you block. The default number of packets that extended PCAP records and sends to the management plane is five packets, which is the recommended value. In most cases, capturing five packets provides enough information to analyze the threat. If too much PCAP traffic is sent to the management plane, then capturing more than five packets may result in dropping PCAPs.
The reason to attach the best practice Vulnerability Protection profile to all security policy rules that allow traffic is because if you don’t have strict vulnerability protection, attackers can leverage client- and server-side vulnerabilities to compromise the data center. For example:
  • Intra data center traffic—A strict Vulnerability Protection profile, along with the Antivirus profile, helps prevent attackers from using exploits to leverage vulnerabilities and spread malware and hacking tools laterally between servers inside the data center network.
  • Traffic from the data center to the internet—Vulnerability protection helps prevent infected data center servers from compromising internet servers.
  • Traffic from the internet to the data center—A strict Vulnerability Protection profile blocks attempts to compromise data center servers with server-side vulnerabilities. If a server is compromised, vulnerability protection helps prevent the infected server from serving exploits to clients, isolating the infection and protecting your partners and customers from watering hole attacks. Vulnerability protection also stops brute force attacks using the Block IP action. When brute force attack signatures trigger the action, the firewall blocks the attacker’s IP address for a configured period of time. If the brute force attack resumes after the time period expires, the signatures again trigger the blocking action. The brute force attack may continue, but it never succeeds.

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