Cisco ASA

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In computer networking, Cisco ASA 5500 Series Adaptive Security Appliances, or simply Cisco ASA, is Cisco's line of network security devices introduced in May 2005,[1] that succeeded three existing lines of popular Cisco products:

The ASA is a unified threat management device, combining several network security functions in one box.[3]

Reception and criticism[edit]

Cisco ASA has become one of the most widely used firewall/VPN solutions for small to medium businesses.[4] Early reviews indicated the Cisco GUI tools for managing the device were lacking, but that the device was otherwise impressive.[5]

A security flaw in Clientless Secure Sockets Layer Virtual Private Networking was rectified in 2015.[6] A security flaw in a WebVPN feature was fixed in 2018.[7]

In 2017 The Shadow Brokers revealed the existence of two privilege escalation exploits against the ASA called EPICBANANA and EXTRABACON, and a code insertion implant called BANANAGLEE, that is made persistent by JETPLOW.[8]

Features[edit]

The 5506W-X has a WiFi point included.

Architecture[edit]

The ASA software is based on Linux. It runs a single Executable and Linkable Format program called lina. This schedules processes internally rather than using the Linux facilities.[9] In the boot sequence a boot loader called ROMMON starts, loads a Linux kernel, which then loads the lina_monitor, which then loads lina. The ROMMON also has a command line that can be used to load or select other software images and configurations. The names of firmware files includes a version indicaotr, -smp means it is for a symmetrical multiprocessor (and 64 bit architecture), and different parts also indicate if 3DES or AES is supported or not.[9]

The ASA software has a similar interface to the Cisco IOS software on routers. There is a command line interface (CLI) that can be used to query operate or configure the device. In config mode the configuration statements are entered. The configuration is initially in memory as a running-config but would normally be saved to flash memory.[9]

software versions[9]
major release 7.0 7.1 7.2 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 8.7 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7 9.8 9.9
released[10] 31 May 2005 6 Feb 2006 31 May 2006 18 Jun 2007 1 Mar 2008 6 May 2009 8 Mar 2010 31 Jan 2011 8 Jul 2011 28 Feb 2012 16 Oct 2012 29 Oct 2012 3 Dec 2012 24 Apr 2014 24 Jul 2014 30 Mar 2015 12 Aug 2015 21 Mar 2016 4 Apr 2017 15 May 2017 4 Dec 2017
end of life × × × × × × × × × × × × × ×
for 5505-5550 Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
for 5512-5585-X Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y

Options[edit]

The 5512-X, 5515-X, 5525-X, 5545-X and 5555-X can have an extra interface card added.[11]

The 5585-X has options for SSP. SSP stands for security services processor.[12] These range in processing power by a factor of 10, from SSP-10 SSP-20, SSP-40 and SSP-60. The ASA 5585-X has a slot for an I/O module. This slot can be subdivided into two half width modules.[13]

On the low end models, some features are limited, and uncrippling happens with installation of a Security Plus License. This enables more VLANs, or VPN peers, and also high availability.[11] Cisco AnyConnect is an extra licensable feature which operates IPSec or SSL tunnels to clients on PCs, iPhones or iPads.[14]

Models[edit]

The 5505 introduced in 2010 was a desktop unit designed for small enterprises or branch offices. It included features to reduce the need for other equipment, such as an inbuilt switch, and power over Ethernet ports.[15] The 5585-X is a higher powered unit for datacenters introduced in 2010.[16] It runs in 32 bit mode on an Intel architecture Atom chip.[9]

Model 5505[17] 5510 5520[17] 5540[17] 5550[17] 5580-20[17] 5580-40[17] 5585-X SSP10[17] 5585-X SSP20[17] 5585-X SSP40[17] 5585-X SSP60[17]
Cleartext throughput, Mbit/s 150 300 450 650 1,200 5,000 10,000 3,000 7,000 12,000 20,000
AES/Triple DES throughput, Mbit/s 100 170 225 325 425 1,000 1,000 1,000 2,000 3,000 5,000
Max simultaneous connections 10,000 (25,000 with Sec Plus License) 50,000 (130,000 with Sec Plus License) 280,000 400,000 650,000 1,000,000 2,000,000 1,000,000 2,000,000 4,000,000 10,000,000
Max site-to-site and remote access VPN sessions 10 (25 with Sec Plus License) 250 750 5,000 5,000 10,000 10,000 5,000 10,000 10,000 10,000
Max number of SSL VPN user sessions 25 250 750 2,500 5,000 10,000 10,000 5,000 10,000 10,000 10,000
Model 5505 5510 5520 5540 5550 5580-20 5580-40 5585-X SSP10 5585-X SSP20 5585-X SSP40 5585-X SSP60

Cisco determined that most of the low end devices had too little capacity to include the features needed, such as anti-virus, or sandboxing, and so introduced a new line called next generation firewall. These run in 64 bit mode.[9]

Models as of 2018.[11]

Model 5506-X 5506W-X 5506H-X 5508 5512-X 5515-X 5516-X 5525-X 5545-X 5555-X 5585-X
Throughput 0.25 0.25 0.25 0.45 0.3 0.5 0.85 1.1 1.5 1.75 4-40
GB ports 8 8 4 8 6 6 8 8 8 8 6-8
Ten GB ports 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2-4
Form factor desktop desktop desktop desktop 1 RU 1 RU 1 RU 1RU 1RU 1RU 2RU

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cisco press release quote: "Las Vegas (Interop) May 3, 2005 – Cisco Systems, Inc., today announced the availability of the Cisco ASA 5500 Series Adaptive Security Appliance s"
  2. ^ Davis, David (19 February 2008). "Converting from old to new with the PIX to ASA Migration Tool". TechRepublic. 
  3. ^ Davis, David (30 June 2005). "Get to know Cisco's new security appliance: ASA 5500". TechRepublic. Retrieved 21 March 2018. 
  4. ^ "What is Cisco ASA? Cisco ASA Overview". Retrieved 28 December 2012. 
  5. ^ "Cisco hits on firewall/VPN, misses on ease of use". Retrieved 28 December 2012. 
  6. ^ Saarinen, Juha (February 20, 2015). "Unpatched Cisco ASA firewalls targeted by hackers". iTnews. Retrieved March 20, 2018. 
  7. ^ Saarinen, Juha (30 January 2018). "Cisco ASA VPN feature allows remote code execution". iTnews. 
  8. ^ "Equation Group Firewall Operations Catalogue". musalbas.com. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f "Intro to the Cisco ASA". www.nccgroup.trust. 
  10. ^ "Cisco ASA New Features by Release". Cisco. 
  11. ^ a b c "Cisco ASA with FirePOWER Services Data Sheet". Cisco. 9 February 2018. Retrieved 20 March 2018. 
  12. ^ Moraes, Alexandre M. S. P. (2011). Cisco Firewalls. Cisco Press. ISBN 9781587141119. 
  13. ^ "Cisco ASA 5585-X Stateful Firewall Data Sheet". Cisco. 7 June 2017. 
  14. ^ Carroll, Brandon (January 5, 2011). "Cisco AnyConnect vs. IPsec VPN: Licensing considerations". TechRepublic. 
  15. ^ "Cisco Expands Security". Network Computing. 9 July 2006. 
  16. ^ "Cisco's High-Performance ASA Appliance, New Version Of Anyconnect". Network Computing. 5 October 2010. 
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Cisco ASA Model Comparison page". Retrieved 2008-05-15. 

External links[edit]