Client Certificate Authentication

For enhanced security, you can configure the portal or gateway to use a client certificate to obtain the username and authenticate the user before granting access to the system.
  • To authenticate the user, one of the certificate fields, such as the Subject Name field, must identify the username.
  • To authenticate the endpoint, the Subject field of the certificate must identify the device type instead of the username. (With the pre-logon connect methods, the portal or gateway authenticates the endpoint before the user logs in.)
If you configure the portal or gateway to authenticate users through client certificate authentication, users will not have the option to
Sign Out
of the GlobalProtect app if they authenticate successfully using only a client certificate.
For an agent configuration profile that specifies client certificates, each user receives a client certificate. The mechanism for providing the certificates determines whether a certificate is unique to each user or the same for all users under that agent configuration:
  • To deploy client certificates that are unique to each user and endpoint, use
    SCEP
    . When a user first logs in, the portal requests a certificate from the enterprise’s PKI. The portal obtains a unique certificate and deploys it to the endpoint.
  • To deploy the same client certificate to all users that receive an agent configuration, deploy a certificate that is
    Local
    to the firewall.
Use an optional certificate profile to verify the client certificate that the endpoint presents with a connection request. The certificate profile specifies the contents of the username and user domain fields; lists CA certificates; criteria for blocking a session; and offers ways to determine the revocation status of CA certificates. Because the certificate is part of the authentication of the endpoint or user for a new session, you must pre-deploy certificates used in certificate profiles to the endpoints before the users’ initial portal login.
The certificate profile specifies which certificate field contains the username. If the certificate profile specifies Subject in the Username Field, the certificate presented by the endpoint must contain a common-name for the endpoint to connect. If the certificate profile specifies a Subject-Alt with an Email or Principal Name as the Username Field, the certificate from the endpoint must contain the corresponding fields, which will be used as the username when the GlobalProtect app authenticates to the portal or gateway.
GlobalProtect also supports authentication by common access cards (CACs) and smart cards, which rely on a certificate profile. With these cards, the certificate profile must contain the root CA certificate that issued the certificate to the smart card or CAC.
If you specify client certificate authentication, you should not configure a client certificate in the portal configuration because the endpoint provides it when the user connects. For an example of how to configure client certificate authentication, see Remote Access VPN (Certificate Profile).

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