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F5 BIG-IP ICAP and SandBlast (TEX)

Enable SandBlast ICAP server

Login to export mode and start the ICAP server on the TEX appliance or security gateway.

[Expert@cp-fw-01:0]# icap_server start
cpwd_admin:  Process CICAP started successfully (pid=31792) 
[Expert@cp-fw-01:0]#

Check if the ICAP processes are running.

[Expert@cp-fw-01:0]#  ps -def |grep icap admin    
31792  4631  0 19:19 ?        00:00:00 c-icap -N -f /opt/CPsuite-R77/fw1/c-icap/etc/c-icap.conf admin   
31813 31792  0 19:19 ?        00:00:00 c-icap -N -f /opt/CPsuite-R77/fw1/c-icap/etc/c-icap.conf admin   
31820 31792  0 19:19 ?        00:00:00 c-icap -N -f /opt/CPsuite-R77/fw1/c-icap/etc/c-icap.conf admin   
31826 31792  0 19:19 ?        00:00:00 c-icap -N -f /opt/CPsuite-R77/fw1/c-icap/etc/c-icap.conf admin   
31931 31651  0 19:20 pts/1    00:00:00 grep icap
[Expert@cp-fw-01:0]#

Enable ICAP logging.

[Expert@cp-fw-01:0]# tecli advanced remote emulator logs enable 
remote emulator logs set to enabled successfully
[Expert@cp-fw-01:0]#

Also make sure that your firewall rules allow access to the ICAP server port 1344/TCP on the TEX appliance or security gateway.

Please note that Jumbo Hotfix Accumulator Take_286 or higher for R77.30 should be used.

More information can be found in sk111306: Check Point support for Internet Content Adaptation Protocol (ICAP) server 

Prepare the F5 BIG-IP

Download the f5.checkpoint_sandblast_icap iApp template from the link below. This is an iApp template that creates ICAP related elements (nodes, pool, internal virtual server, profiles). The newly created request and response adapt profiles can be used by standard virtual servers so they can interact with a Check Point SandBlast ICAP Server.

GitHub - nvansluis/f5.checkpoint_sandblast_icap: iApp template to integrate F5 BIG-IP with Check Poi... 

  • Login to the Configuration Utility and Import the iApp template: iApps > Templates > Import.

Import the iApp template

  • Deploy a new application by using the iApp: iApps > Application Services > Applications > Create.

Deploy a new application by using the iApp template

  • Click Finished to deploy the iApp. You will see the components that have been configured.

Overview of components being created by the iApp

  • You can now use the newly created Request and Response Adapt profiles and attach them to a Virtual Server that has been configured with a HTTP profile.

You can now use the created Request and Response Adapt profiles on a Virtual Server

Testing Check Point SandBlast

Below you'll see some screenshots of what happens when a user attempts to upload or download malicous files.

Malicious uploads

  • Upload a file that triggers Threat Emulation (Zero-Day Protection).

Upload malicious file

  • The upload of this malicious file is prevented by Check Point SandBlast.

Upload prevented

  • Here you can see the log message that is created by Check Point.

Log message

Malicious downloads

  • A user tries to download a malicious file.

User tries to download a malicious file

  • The download of a malicious file is prevented by Check Point SandBlast.

download prevented

  • Below of an example what log message is created by Check Point.

Log message

13 Replies

Re: F5 BIG-IP ICAP and SandBlast (TEX)

Hi Niels van Sluis,

nice!

You have one problem with this configuration! On the F5 config, you can not set the max. ICAP connections setting. If the maximum ICAP connection number is exceeded, you will get an ICAP error. I had a big customer who had a real problem with that. During testing this is not noticeable at first, because the max. connection number is usually not reached.

In the iApp, there is also no entry for max. connections to see in your pictures.

I work a lot with F5 and I have not found a solution for this problem. No iRules or other solutions are possible.

I already had a ticket for this topic at F5 and Check Point open. But without success.

If you have a solution write it here please. I'd be very happy if there was a solution.

Otherwise I'd be careful!

With a Symantec (Bluecoat) SG, Fortigate, Squid or McAfee Web Gateway this works without problems.

Symantec (Bluecoat) SG ICAP and Sandblast (TEX) 

Fortigate Firewall ICAP and Sandblast (TEX) 

McAfee Web Gateway ICAP and Sandblast Appliance (TEX) 

Maybe Thomas Werner from Check Point has a solution or more informations.

Regards

Heiko

Re: F5 BIG-IP ICAP and SandBlast (TEX)

Hi Niels van Sluis,

I just looked at the iApp template.

In the iApps template I also didn't see anything about max ICAP connections!

I find the article great but please be careful without max. ICAP connection settings.

Regards

Heiko

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Re: F5 BIG-IP ICAP and SandBlast (TEX)

Hi Heiko,

Thanks for your feedback, I'll look in to this. I didn't know this to be an issue. 

Kind regards,

     --Niels

Re: F5 BIG-IP ICAP and SandBlast (TEX)

Hi Heiko,

So I assume setting the Connection Limit on the SandBlast_ICAP_Pool pool member didn't work? Do you have an easy way of reproducing this error? 

I've been testing, but all seems okay (although my firewall had a load of 64). See the below output. 

[nielsvs@localhost ~]$ ab -n 1000 -c 200 http://10.23.98.219/F5/upload/uploads/eicar_com.zip
This is ApacheBench, Version 2.3 <$Revision: 1706008 $>
Copyright 1996 Adam Twiss, Zeus Technology Ltd, http://www.zeustech.net/
Licensed to The Apache Software Foundation, http://www.apache.org/

Benchmarking 10.23.98.219 (be patient)
Completed 100 requests
Completed 200 requests
Completed 300 requests
Completed 400 requests
Completed 500 requests
Completed 600 requests
Completed 700 requests
Completed 800 requests
Completed 900 requests
Completed 1000 requests
Finished 1000 requests


Server Software: C-ICAP
Server Hostname: 10.23.98.219
Server Port: 80

Document Path: /F5/upload/uploads/eicar_com.zip
Document Length: 459 bytes

Concurrency Level: 200
Time taken for tests: 155.535 seconds
Complete requests: 1000
Failed requests: 0
Non-2xx responses: 1000
Total transferred: 625000 bytes
HTML transferred: 459000 bytes
Requests per second: 6.43 [#/sec] (mean)
Time per request: 31106.983 [ms] (mean)
Time per request: 155.535 [ms] (mean, across all concurrent requests)
Transfer rate: 3.92 [Kbytes/sec] received

Connection Times (ms)
min mean[+/-sd] median max
Connect: 0 2 2.6 1 10
Processing: 1219 29546 7854.4 29687 56783
Waiting: 1219 29545 7854.3 29687 56782
Total: 1229 29548 7853.1 29688 56787

Percentage of the requests served within a certain time (ms)
50% 29688
66% 32377
75% 34387
80% 35846
90% 38867
95% 41347
98% 43732
99% 45058
100% 56787 (longest request)
[nielsvs@localhost ~]$

Kind regards,

     --Niels

Re: F5 BIG-IP ICAP and SandBlast (TEX)

Hi Niels van Sluis,

This does not describe the maximum number of connections over the F5.

It is the maximum number of connections between ICAP Server and ICAP Client.

You can limit this on a Symantec (Bluecoat) SG as follows:

It doesn't work on F5.

For example, the TE Appliance provides 100 ICAP TCP sockets and the 101 connection between F5 and TEX Appliance is established, an ICAP error occurs.

Re: F5 BIG-IP ICAP and SandBlast (TEX)

Hi Heiko,

When setting the pool members (read: the pool member is the SandBlast ICAP server) connection limit to for example 50, it does limit the ICAP connections being sent to the SandBlast ICAP server. However, this seems to result in the virtual server that has the adapt profiles attached become unavailable (connections being rejected). What happens on the Bluecoat when the Maximum number of connections to the SandBlast ICAP server is being reached? Will it just serve the requests without content scanning (fail-open) or will it reject requests until resources become available again?

Kind regards,

     --Niels

Re: F5 BIG-IP ICAP and SandBlast (TEX)

The Bluecoat SG is running a queuing of objects until one of the ICAP TCP connections can process a request. This may make everything very slow. But there are no ICAP errors.

However, you can adjust the parameters on the TEX Appliance in the following file:

$FWDIR/c-icap/etc/c-icap.conf

I don't have a system to test right now. Please read the infos under the following link:

The c-icap project 

Regards

Heiko

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Re: F5 BIG-IP ICAP and SandBlast (TEX)

As I said, I do not think it is reasonable to limit it to the F5.

So I wouldn't use it in critical environments.

I'm a big fan of F5 and Check Point. But here I don't see any solution for the problem at the moment.

But maybe ask Thomas Werner from Check Point. He's very good at TEX and ICAP  themes.

Re: F5 BIG-IP ICAP and SandBlast (TEX)

Hi Heiko,

On the F5 BIG-IP it's also posible to queue the connections to the ICAP server when there is a connection limit set on the connections to the ICAP server. I've tested it, and it works. Here is how to do it:

  • Enable Request Queueing on the SandBlast_ICAP_Pool (see Advanced options).

Enable Request Queueing

  • Set connection limit to the SandBlast ICAP Pool member.

Connection Limit

As you can see, in this example the limit of connections towards the ICAP server is set to 5 and Request Queing is enabled. See below the benchmark test without these settings applied and another with the settings applied.

  • 10 requests with 10 requests concurrent and as expected 5 are failing, because the limit is set to 5 and there is no queueing.

example without connection queueing

  • 10 requests with 10 requests concurrent and as expected and no failing connections, because queueing is enabled.

example with connection queueing

I'll add this to the iApp template soon 🙂

The iApp template now sets the default connection limit of the SandBlast ICAP Server to 100 connections and also Requeust Queueing is enabled on the SandBlast ICAP Server pool.

Kind regards,

     --Niels

Re: F5 BIG-IP ICAP and SandBlast (TEX)

Very nice! I'll give you 100 pointsSmiley Happy.

One more small question. Which F5 version do you use 12 or 13?

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Re: F5 BIG-IP ICAP and SandBlast (TEX)

Hi Heiko,

Thanks for the point and feedback. In my lab I have version 14 running. But the functionality being used in the iApp template is also available in version 12 and 13. But I guess also in version 11.

Kind regards,

  --Niels

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Re: F5 BIG-IP ICAP and SandBlast (TEX)

Hi Heiko, Niels,

In Israel I talked with Heiko about the cons/pros of ICAP as mentioned here, and we talked about an idea to implement the ThreatPrevention API via an iRule. 

What do you guys think. Will it work ? 

Cheers

Martijn

Re: F5 BIG-IP ICAP and SandBlast (TEX)

Hi Martijn,

Hi Niels,

Yes, I had an interesting conversation with Martijn in Israel. Sometimes the world is small:-) I think it is possible to send the file via iRule directly to the Sandblast API via https. I'm gonna take a look at this in a quiet minute. It won't be easy, but it should work.

Regard

Heiko