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Objects > Security Profiles > Vulnerability Protection

A Security policy rule can include specification of a Vulnerability Protection profile that determines the level of protection against buffer overflows, illegal code execution, and other attempts to exploit system vulnerabilities. There are two predefined profiles available for the Vulnerability Protection feature:
  • The
    profile applies the default action to all client and server critical, high, and medium severity vulnerabilities. It does not detect low and informational vulnerability protection events.
  • The
    profile applies the block response to all client and server critical, high and medium severity spyware events and uses the default action for low and informational vulnerability protection events.
Customized profiles can be used to minimize vulnerability checking for traffic between trusted security zones, and to maximize protection for traffic received from untrusted zones, such as the internet, as well as the traffic sent to highly sensitive destinations, such as server farms. To apply Vulnerability Protection profiles to Security policies, refer to Policies > Security.
The Rules settings specify collections of signatures to enable, as well as actions to be taken when a signature within a collection is triggered.
The Exceptions settings allows you to change the response to a specific signature. For example, you can block all packets that match a signature, except for the selected one, which generates an alert. The
tab supports filtering functions.
Vulnerability Protection
page presents a default set of columns. Additional columns of information are available by using the column chooser. Click the arrow to the right of a column header and select the columns from the Columns sub-menu.
The following tables describe the Vulnerability Protection profile settings:
Vulnerability Protection Profile Settings
Enter a profile name (up to 31 characters). This name appears in the list of Vulnerability Protection profiles when defining security policies. The name is case-sensitive and must be unique. Use only letters, numbers, spaces, hyphens, periods, and underscores.
Enter a description for the profile (up to 255 characters).
Select this option if you want the profile to be available to:
  • Every virtual system (vsys) on a multi-vsys firewall. If you clear this selection, the profile will be available only to the
    Virtual System
    selected in the
  • Every device group on Panorama. If you clear this selection, the profile will be available only to the
    Device Group
    selected in the
Disable override (
Panorama only
Select this option to prevent administrators from overriding the settings of this Vulnerability Protection profile in device groups that inherit the profile. This selection is cleared by default, which means administrators can override the settings for any device group that inherits the profile.
Rules Tab
Rule Name
Specify a name to identify the rule.
Threat Name
Specify a text string to match. The firewall applies a collection of signatures to the rule by searching signature names for this text string.
Choose the action to take when the rule is triggered. For a list of actions, see Actions in Security Profiles.
action is based on the pre-defined action that is part of each signature provided by Palo Alto Networks. To view the default action for a signature, select
Security Profiles
Vulnerability Protection
or select an existing profile. Click the
tab and then click
Show all signatures
to see a list of all signatures and the associated
Host Type
Specify whether to limit the signatures for the rule to those that are client side, server side, or either (
Packet Capture
Select this option if you want to capture identified packets.
to capture one packet when a threat is detected, or select the
option to capture from 1 to 50 packets. Extended-capture will provides much more context to the threat when analyzing the threat logs. To view the packet capture, select
and locate the log entry you are interested in and then click the green down arrow in the second column. To define the number of packets that should be captured, select
and then edit the Content-ID Settings.
Packet captures will only occur if the action is allow or alert. If the block action is set, the session is ended immediately.
Select a vulnerability category if you want to limit the signatures to those that match that category.
CVE List
Specify common vulnerabilities and exposures (CVEs) if you want to limit the signatures to those that also match the specified CVEs.
Each CVE is in the format CVE-yyyy-xxxx, where yyyy is the year and xxxx is the unique identifier. You can perform a string match on this field. For example, to find vulnerabilities for the year 2011, enter “2011”.
Vendor ID
Specify vendor IDs if you want to limit the signatures to those that also match the specified vendor IDs.
For example, the Microsoft vendor IDs are in the form MSyy-xxx, where yy is the two-digit year and xxx is the unique identifier. For example, to match Microsoft for the year 2009, enter “MS09”.
Select severities to match (
, or
) if you want to limit the signatures to those that also match the specified severities.
Exceptions Tab
for each threat for which you want to assign an action, or select
to respond to all listed threats. The list depends on the selected host, category, and severity. If the list is empty, there are no threats for the current selections.
Choose an action from the drop-down, or choose from the
drop-down at the top of the list to apply the same action to all threats. If you selected
Show All
, then all signatures are listed. If not, only the signatures that are exceptions are listed.
Packet Capture
if you want to capture identified packets.
The vulnerability signature database contains signatures that indicate a brute force attack; for example, Threat ID 40001 triggers on an FTP brute force attack. Brute-force signatures trigger when a condition occurs in a certain time threshold. The thresholds are pre-configured for brute force signatures, and can be changed by clicking edit ( ) next to the threat name on the
tab (with the
option selected). You can specify the number of hits per unit of time and whether the threshold applies to source, destination, or source-and-destination.
Thresholds can be applied on a source IP, destination IP or a combination of source IP and destination IP.
The default action is shown in parentheses. The CVE column shows identifiers for common vulnerabilities and exposures (CVE). These unique, common identifiers are for publicly known information security vulnerabilities.
Click into the IP Address Exemptions column to
IP address filters to a threat exception. When you add an IP address to a threat exception, the threat exception action for that signature will take precedence over the rule's action only if the signature is triggered by a session with either a source or destination IP address matching an IP address in the exception. You can add up to 100 IP addresses per signature. You must enter a unicast IP address (that is, an address without a netmask), such as or 2001:db8:123:1::1. By adding IP address exemptions, you do not have to create a new policy rule and new vulnerability profile to create an exception for a specific IP address.

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