For some time there have been plenty of examples of backing up Palo Alto Firewalls with curl commands (extracting the files using the XML API) however that may not sit well with some Windows administrators who want to use PowerShell. As such I’ve put together the BackupPANNGFWConfig repo on GitHub which contains the scripts to get ahold of the API keys needed and then to perform the backups for a series of firewalls.

To get the scripts drop by the link below and for the configuration see the screenshot sequences in this post. You will need a basic understanding of Palo Alto Firewalls, PowerShell and Windows Server to work through these steps.

Super important note, this script is configured to use a TLS1.2 connection to the firewall as well as only allow connections to a firewall with a trusted security certificate – if you jump on the web management interface of the firewalls from the server that you are running the script from you should see the ‘secure’ padlock icon in the address bar.

https://github.com/jamesfed/BackupPANNGFWConfig

With the scripts all configured you will then want to configure a scheduled task on the server to take these backup files on a regular basis.

For this weeks ‘from around the web’ we are looking at some very cool screens that I’ve just started working with for an Arduino project, some advice from the National Cyber Security Centre and a brilliant set of resources to build a plan to secure an IT environment.

Nextion displays for Raspberry Pi/Arduino
For a little while now I’ve been working on various little Arduino based projects (of note soil and general environment sensors); in looking to branch out to some more areas I’ve decided to build a ‘sensor array’ for my car and naturally will need some way to display all the data being captured. For this I came across the Nextion displays which come in a variety of sizes, have an easy to use application to design how the screen looks/works and only needs power + serial connectivity to work.

Hopefully pretty soon I’ll get some more detailed examples of this ‘sensor array’ on here.

Three random words or #thinkrandom
For a basic but handy document about how cyber criminals breach passwords and for advice on how to make better passwords look no further than this link from the National Cyber Security Centre.

CIS Cyber Security Best Practices
Sometimes organisations are just bombarded with advice on ‘where to start’ with Cyber Security, some might say start with logging, others perhaps just having an inventory of what you have or maybe having the very best firewall you can afford (pro tip it’s the second one!). To get some real answers that are sized appropriately for any organisation the Centre for Internet Security is the place to start.

A late one for this release of ‘from around the web’ after being on holiday for the last week – as the case always seems to be I’ve come out of the sun quite red. This week we have another step in the right direction to getting rid of passwords, some helpful templates for building a first config for a Palo Alto Networks Next Generation Firewall and an interesting (short) review of the Hubitat home automation hub.

New Azure Active Directory capabilities help you eliminate passwords at work
It’s been promised by Microsoft (and some others) for quite some time and it looks like another leap in the right direction has been made. With FIDO2 and devices like the YubiKey password less login on Windows 10 Azure AD domain joined devices is happening. Be sure to watch the video at the bottom of the page!

iron-skillet
All the options within a PAN NGFW can seem quite daunting and while the out of the box settings for security policies will help they are far from best practice. That’s where the IronSkillet comes in handy to take some of that pain away and give you a serious starting point.

Smart Home Hub – Hubitat Review
For the people who don’t have the time (or know how) to invest in something like Home Assistant but aren’t up for relying on a connection to the ‘cloud’ for home automation then Hubitat may well be for you. I’ve been exploring home automation for quite some time (at the moment using LIFX and HomeSeer) and may well consider looking into Hubitat some more if/when I decide to expand on it.

In this new blog post series I’ll be looking at (normally a selection of 3) cool articles, news and other blog posts that I find interesting during the day. For this week we have PowerShell tricks, a detailed article on securing the Windows Firewall and an (old but very interesting) write up on the woes of network administrators when everything goes wrong.

PowerShell tricks: Splatting
New to me (always learning!) this trick allows you to populate the parameters for a PowerShell cmdlet in a table (makes for much neater formatting) to then pass into the cmdlet as a single object.

Endpoint Isolation with the Windows Firewall
The Windows Firewall may seem like a bit of a beast from time to time but this article makes some great points on how to build out a set of secure policies that can apply to pretty much any environment.

All systems down
A true disaster story – quite old (2003) but really worth a read to see what lessons you can take home.

Bit of a crazy issue when deploying a new Ruckus wireless network – in first suspecting an issue with the controller software or perhaps some kind of access control list blocking traffic it turns out that the default Windows Firewall rule for allowing NPS traffic is broken in some fashion.

Having tried this (and it working fine) on Windows Server 2012 R2/2016 it really does appear to be isolated to Server 2019.

Discovering this came about with a few traffic captures combined with the wonderful NTRadPing tool. The fix is to manually create the rule, see the screenshots below on how to do this.

The case

Picture 1 of 2

A bit of an odd post but given this bag is proving so very handy I thought it worth it!

Having started a new job at the beginning of the year it was evident that I would need to carry around a bit more kit with me than previously, with Christmas just around the corner it was the perfect time to do a little research into cable organiser bags. After a fair bit of time on Amazon I came around to the BUMB Cable Bag in the ‘small’ size –
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cable-Electronics-Accessories-Organizer-Handle/dp/B01FCZUWNM.

After 3 months of use this bag has really proven itself with a others in the office ending up buying one as well! In particular I’ve liked-

  • The durable material and zips, haven’t had a jam or any sign of damage in daily use
  • The bright colour trim around the edge of the bag – goes well with the yellow/gold interior of my laptop bag making it super easy to see at night
  • The big loop on the side making it easy to grab ahold of when jammed in amongst all the other kit in my laptop bag
  • All the interior pouches are big enough for the cables I have
Continue reading

When running CLI commands against an HPE Aruba (previously ProCurve) switch that have long outputs you have likely encountered the line below.

— MORE –, next page: Space, next line: Enter, quit: Control-C

Although handy – on occasion you might need to turn this off. To do so simply run the command (no need to be in config mode for this) below.

no page

Note that this will only turn off paging for the current session so if you log out or reboot the switch you’ll need to run the command again. Equally so to turn paging back on simply run the command below.

page

While iterating through an issue with our Ruckus SmartZone (with Ruckus R510 Access Points) controllers I was looking for a way to see when the Access Points had applied the new configuration; lone behold it’s quite easily done through both the CLI and the GUI.

Anyone who has used the new SmartZone controllers will know all too well that’s it’s not the fastest GUI to work with – thus if you have the option I’d suggest you go with the CLI method which is very responsive (and much more consistent!).

Via the CLI

Via the GUI

So over the last few hours I’ve been making some config changes to our Eaton UPS Network Management Cards that require the magical ‘Reset Communication’ button to be pushed in the web interface (one day I must get the management software!). To help speed up the process (or at least know when I should reload the page) I timed the process; so as more of a reference to myself than anything else the results are…

Web interface will respond and provide an authentication prompt: About 2 minutes 10 seconds after button push
Web interface will display all UPS data: About 2 minutes and 30 seconds after button push