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Where to start with Cisco & SourceFire

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Since Cisco announced EoX for both it’s traditional IPS and it’s CX-Modules it’s been time to start looking at the new SourceFire modules, however that can be quite an undertaking since SourceFire is a completely different beast from its predecessors. Which raises the question where do you start to begin getting familiar with this new system.

I’ve found a good place to start is with a Cisco Live Sessions BRKSEC-2018 (Link below), the reason I like this session is the fact it covers many of the initial questions for implementing or migrating to the new platforms:

  • How is the new platform managed & maintained. Being able to successfully manage a platform is one of the most important aspects of deploying a technology. After you verify that technology will meet your deployment requirements of course.
  • What is the best way to migrate from the traditional IPS or CX platforms. whether or not you using a software module in the 5500-X ASA Firewalls, hardware modules in the 5585-X platforms, or if you have been using dedicated IPS appliances.
  • The new licensing structure. Sometimes we get lost in the technical details, however the licensing details can take our deployment and stop it dead in its tracks.
  • How the new policies work. Next-Gen IPS is a much needed and drastic change from its predecessor, understanding the new capabilities and how to configure these features are detrimental to a successful and secure deployment.

Outside of the deployment considerations, this session skims the surface of a technical deep dive. However, There are a handful of other Cisco Live Sessions, (links are below) that go more in depth into other aspects of SourceFire and FireSight’s capabilities.

The next best stop is going to be reviewing the configuration guide for FireSIGHT, which is the management platform for the SourceFire platforms. Like many other configuration guides you are looking down a few hundred intimidating pages. So it might be best to start off with the topics you need and then expand.

There are also some great Configuration Examples out on that cover topics from the initial setup and install, URL Filtering, Active Directory Integration and required permissions, to some SNORT examples.

Small collection of SourceFire Links:

A few CiscoLive365 sessions:

Written by Stephen J. Occhiogrosso

July 27, 2015 at 9:00 AM

Packet Flow with FirePower.

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As I was going through some CiscoLive365 sessions (Remember CiscoLive365 is great!) just this last weekend I came across the slides for BRKSEC-2028 – Deploying Next Generation Firewall with ASA & Firepower services. Unfortunately there is no video for this session yet but the presentation slides are there and luckily the slides are detailed enough so you can easily follow along with the content. One the slides that stood out of to me was where the new FirePower modules (Hardware or Software) falls into the order of operations as traffic passes through the ASA. Screenshot below:

SourceFire Packet Flow

I think the big call-outs here are:

  1. The FirePower module will not actually drop the traffic itself, the traffic gets ‘marked’ if the traffic is to be dropped. All the traffic that passes to the FirePower module will indeed get passed right back to the ASA and it is the responsibility of the Cisco ASA to actually drop the traffic.
  2. Even existing connections still get inspected if the security policy demands.
  3. ACL’s and XLate entries will filter traffic before the traffic even makes it to the FirePower module.
  4. This is only slightly different from how the existing IPS Module inspects traffic from ASA. In regards to the flow path.

Definitely some good information to know when building out your new policies.

Written by Stephen J. Occhiogrosso

December 10, 2014 at 9:00 AM

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