Security Policy Rule Top-Down Order When Wildcard Masks Overlap

Enable Wildcard Top Down Match Mode to evaluate packets that match Security policy rules having overlapping wildcard masks.
Security policy rules have supported the use of source and destination addresses using a wildcard address (IP address and wildcard mask separated by a slash, such as 10.1.2.3/0.127.248.0). The wildcard address can identify many source or destination addresses in a single Security policy rule. In earlier releases, if an address matched rules that had overlapping wildcard masks, the firewall always matched the rule having the longest prefix in the wildcard mask and no other rules were examined. This is still the default behavior.
However, there are use cases where you want to have broad rules that allow some sources access to generic applications (such as Ping, Traceroute, and web-browsing), but have narrower rules that allow a subset of these sources access to different applications (such as SSH, SCP) in addition to the generic applications. In earlier releases, such a deployment did not work because only the match to the rule with the longest prefix in the wildcard mask was processed and other rules were not considered. The workaround was to copy applications from the broader rules to the narrower rules, which created operational complexities.
Beginning with PAN-OS 10.2.1, you can enable
Wildcard Top Down Match Mode
so that if a packet with an IP address matches prefixes in Security policy rules that have overlapping wildcard masks, the firewall chooses the first fully matching rule in top-down order (instead of choosing the matching rule with the longest prefix in a wildcard mask).
Wildcard Top Down Match Mode
means more than one rule has the potential to be enforced on different packets (not just the rule with the longest matching prefix). Place your more specific rules toward the top of the list. For example, you can allow a smaller range of matching addresses (a longer wildcard mask) to access certain applications, and also, in a subsequent rule allow a larger range of IP addresses (a shorter wildcard mask) to access a different (more generic) set of applications.
  1. Enable Security policy rules to be evaluated in top-down order when a packet matches rules that have overlapping wildcard masks.
    1. Select
      Device
      Setup
      Management
      .
    2. Edit the Policy Rulebase Settings and select
      Wildcard Top Down Match Mode
      (disabled by default).
    3. Click
      OK
      .
  2. Create a Security Policy Rule that has a Source IP Address or Destination IP Address that is an IP address/wildcard mask.
  3. Create another Security policy rule that uses the same source or destination IP address as the rule in the prior step, and uses an overlapping wildcard mask. Place the more specific rule closer to the top of the list.
  4. Commit
    .

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