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Citrix ADC, Partition, Radius

This blog is from a lesson learned in the field. I have done a normal upgrade from 11.1 to 12.1 on a Citrix ADC HA pair. After the upgrade users complained that they get an error when logging in to some Web sites that where protected by a Security Server on the ADC.

We found that the sites where all located in a Partition on the ADC.

LDAP test run without any error.

Radius test give this error:

Ok, the problem where with the MFA Radius authentication.

To debug I run a nstrace from the partition:

  • switch partition radius_test
  • start nstrace -size 0 -filter CONNECTION.PORT.EQ(1812)
    • Did the Radius test and got the error again
  • stop nstrace

But there where no trace files in /var/partition/radius_test/nstrace. I did this again but still no trace files.

What was going on???????

After some more debugging I did a trace on Default partition, and now I got some data in my trace:

But the request was coming from the NSIP and not from the SNIP in the partition. Do to Firewall configuration the Radius server could not be accessed this way.

It turns out that the Radius test is done from the default partition. You can’t use the test with in at partition as the request is not send from the source address you think.

I later found this in ns.log:

The learned lesson is that if you use Partitions, you can not relay on the Radius test function, as this may not give you a correct response, do to the way traffic is going out of the ADC.

We found a bug in ADC 12.1 build 55.18. Challenge-Response Radius request from a Partition got stuck at the ADC, and the users never received their token, and where not prompted for it.

As the ADC 11.1 build 63.15 had the same bug from default partition, we ended up with a total rollback, and is now waiting for Citrix to fix this.

Citrix ADC, Secure LDAP, Updated

Microsoft has announced that from Marts 2020, only secure LDAP request are supported: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4520412/2020-ldap-channel-binding-and-ldap-signing-requirement-for-windows

From the article:

LDAP channel binding and LDAP signing provide ways to increase the security of network communications between an Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) or an Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services (AD LDS) and its clients. There is a vulerability in the default configuration for Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) channel binding and LDAP signing and may expose Active directory domain controllers to elevation of privilege vulnerabilities.  Microsoft Security Advisory ADV190023 address the issue by recommending the administrators enable LDAP channel binding and LDAP signing on Active Directory Domain Controllers. This hardening must be done manually until the release of the security update that will enable these settings by default. 

Microsoft intends to release a security update on Windows Update to enable LDAP channel binding and LDAP signing hardening changes and anticipate this update will be available in March 2020.

And why is this important for the Citrix ADC. Well that is because that we can use 3 mode of LDAP communications on the Citrix ADC:

  • PLAINTEXT:
  • TLS:
  • SSL:

If your configuration uses PLANTEXT, that it will stop working after marts, if you patch your Windows Domain Controllers, and who don’t do that.

Get out there and check your configuration and change it if you are using PLAINTEXT.

Citrix ADC, User Certificate Authentication

Once again, a was struggling to get User Certificate Authentication to work, until I suddenly remembered why:

You cannot put your Certification Authentication Virtual Server behind a Content Switching Virtual Server.

You can, but then you must enable Client Authentication on the Content Switching Virtual Server, and as this often have a lot of other web sites configured all of them will have Client Authentication enabled.

The reason for this is that when you use Content Switching Virtual Server the SSL session is established to this and the you need Client Authentication configured here.

So, if you have a special web site that you need to protect with Client Authentication you need a direct accessible Authentication Virtual Server.

Let me show the configuration I ended up with:

Create an Authentication Virtual Server:

Bind your public certificate and your root ca certificate:

For test a use a local user account, but this is normal an Active Directory account:

Then add the Certificate Authentication policy:

You will end up with 2 primary authentication policies:

Change the SSL Parameters so that Client Authentication is enabled:

Now create the Load Balancing Virtual Server and enable Authentication on this:

That is, it, and when we test, we will get this.

When testing with a user that have no certificate the site will close the connection:

And testing with a user that have a certificate the user is prompted for the certificate to use:

After selected the certificate, the user is redirected to the Authentication Virtual Server for logon:

Conclusion:

You can use User certificates when protecting web sites with authentication. Just remember that the authentication virtual server can often not be behind a content switching server as this will enable user certification on all web site configured on the content switching server.

Citrix ADC, Developer monitor

Again, by a customer I was asked to deliver a solution to there Citrix ADC. The customer has a web server farm which is controlled and maintained by their web developers. There needed their web developers to control witch servers where active in the farm and witch there where in maintains mode.

The easy way is to create a login for the web developers for the Citrix ADC, but there where other system load balanced through the Citrix ADC, and the web developers may not change the configuration for the other systems. We could have created a partition on the Citrix ADC, but I came up with a custom monitor solution. The web developers agreed to put a file on the web servers, and I created a monitor the checked for the content of that file.

GUI:

CLI:

add lb monitor lb_mon_www HTTP-ECV -send "GET https://www.domain.dk/nodestatus.txt" -recv online -LRTM DISABLED -secure YES

If the “nodstatus.txt” return online, the monitor detects the web server as “up” and the load balancing will send traffic to the web server. If anything, else than online is received the monitor will set the web server as “down” and no traffic will be sent to it.

The web developers control the content of the nodestatus.txt file, and in that way, they can control which web servers receive request and which is not, and the developers have no login/access to the Citrix ADC.

Citrix ADC 12.1 (NetScaler ADC), New licensing

Expiration:

 

With the new version 12.1 Build 48.13, Citrix added information about license expiration date. This is nice when running a Trial or Demo license:

With that they added another change, if care reading their documentation:

From https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/netscaler/12-1/licensing/netscaler-licensing-overview.html:

“Upon license expiration, the Citrix ADC appliance automatically restarts to revoke the license. If Citrix ADC appliance uses Citrix service provider (CSP) licenses, the appliance does not restart automatically to revoke the license. However, if the user restarts the appliance, it restarts as unlicensed.”

And trust me it will restart the NetScaler. As a consultant I offend use Trial versions for PoC. There where no problems in running beyond the expiration date if you did not restart the NetScaler. This is over now.

 

Express vs. Freemium:

 

Some time a go the Express version was replaced with the Freemium license. The Express license need to be updated every year because of the 1-year expiration. The Freemium have no expiration date, but it has not the Access Gateway feature.

This is a problem as the Express version was for very small customers with a replace for their old Citrix Secure Gateway (Yes, I am that old and have done a lot of installations of the Citrix Secure Gateway). So, what to customers running the Express version then do?

If we look at https://support.citrix.com/article/CTX121291 we find the answer:

Just update the NetScaler, and you will end up with an Express version with no expiration:

This must be done before the expiration of the old Express license, because if you restart the NetScaler with an expired license all features are disabled.

 

Conclusion:

 

Changes are made, so read the documentation. Get out there and upgrade the Express installations to version 12.1.

 

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