Month: April 2018

CheckPoint to Amazon AWS VPN connection issue

When trying to create a VPN tunnel between a CheckPoint firewall and Amazon managed VPN service I happened upon a unpleasant surprise.

Namely when using stronger crypto methods than defined by default in the guides by CheckPoint or Amazon you will run in to an issue, that the CheckPoint device will start dropping traffic after Phase2 key exchanges for a ~5 minute time period. To be more exact the traffic from Amazon to the hosts/networks behind the CheckPoint GW will start failing and connections started from behind the CheckPoint device will continue working as before. Namely Amazon VPN service refreshes it’s keys 5 minutes before the lifetime set in the VPN properties and CheckPoint close to 30 seconds. It actually wouldn’t be a problem if Amazon would use the same parameters as were used to initially establish the tunnel, but it doesn’t. It will actually use DH group 2 to initiate key exchange after which the CheckPoint device will start dropping the traffic coming in from the Amazon service with the following error:

encryption failure: Packet was decrypted with methods which are different from the methods according to the security policy - Gateway and Peer use different DH groups

After talking to both CheckPoint and Amazon support, I can say that the only thing you can do to remedy this is actually setting the DH group to 2  for PFS.

Although Amazon in its documentation(here) states it supports a bunch of different DH groups, and yet it defaults to DH group 2 when initiating the connection it self. To be honest, to me it seems a bit strange that the AWS VPN actually mirrors the encryption/integrity settings of the previous negotiation, but doesn’t remember the PFS settings and defaults to DH group 2. When talking to support services the only thing that AWS support suggested was to force the CheckPoint device to exchange keys before the AWS service does. Unfortunately you cannot do that according to Check Point support services, as there is no such setting available and that timer is around 30s+- some random number of seconds prior to the end of the life time set in the VPN properties.

 

 

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Network security policy installation failure fix

Some times your network policy installations on Check Point devices might fail.  For me it happened after updating a gateway cluster to the “latest and greatest R77” version. I was unable to push the policy and I was getting the “/opt/CPSFWR77CMP-R77/conf/policy-name.pf”, line 912700: ERROR: target <fw-name> is prohibited” error message.

In order to see what is actually causing the error you will need to log in to the management server via SSH. Go in to “expert mode” and look at what is on the line that the error message is pointing at.

So basically, to fix the issue in my case/work around, I did the following:

  1. Logged in to the security management server in expert mode
  2. Opened up the policy file from the place it was complaining about with the less command. (Hints on how to go to a specific line can be found stackoverflow topic here)
  3. In my case on that specific line I saw a list of DPD(dead peer detection for IPSec VPN) peers which hinted that I should try and disable DPD
  4. Logged in to the management server using smart dashboard, removed permanent tunnel ticks on VPN’s relating to the GW cluster with the issue and tried installing the policy.
  5. Policy successfully installed..

After that I reported the bug to Check Point support and they confirmed the issue..

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